UROP Fellowship: DCERP
Research Mentor(s): Mara Braciszewski, Community and Economic Development Director and Downtown District Authority Manager
Research Mentor Institution/Department: City of Hamtramck
Presentation Date: Thursday, July 29th
Session: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Breakout Room: DCERP Showcase
Hello, my name is Gabi Lilly (pronouns she/her) and I am a rising sophomore with a plan to major in Elementary Education
For DCERP, I was partnered with the City of Hamtramck as their Summer Youth Program coordinator. Hamtramck has a dense urban environment with the city being 2.1 square miles, and lacks adequate green space. With parks and public spaces being vital to the health and well-being of a community, the City’s Summer Youth Program aims to provide the youth in the area with the opportunity to be engaged in their community through cleaning and beautifying Hamtramck.
My role is to oversee and lead the youth throughout the duration of the summer program. The projects I selected for the program were based on the needs the community expressed in Hamtramck’s Master Plan, Economic Development Strategy, and Parks and Recreation Plan.
When I interviewed youth who applied for my program, one of them had an impactful answer to the question, “Why do you want to be a part of this program?” She began by expressing her love for her community, as she was born and raised in Hamtramck. However, she noted that the city was not the cleanest and explained you could see trash along the sidewalks if you were driving down the streets but as a resident, she knew the potential and beauty her city had. Her passion for being a part of the program stemmed from wanting to share the beauty and uniqueness of Hamtramck with others. After hearing her testament, it made me realize how valuable this program was for the youth and the community as a whole.
DCERP has provided me with This was an amazing opportunity to learn so many valuable lessons about running a program for a City, but more importantly it has given me the chance to work closely with an exceptional group who are passionate about leaving a positive impact on their community. With the last few weeks of the Summer Youth Program approaching, I am proud to say these interns have left a substantial mark on their City, and are making progress for more growth to happen in the years to follow. This experience will help me as I pursue my degree in education, by teaching me to understand how to build a relationship with the group I am working with, and how to find projects that are impactful, yet engaging for the youth. Thank you.