Amanda L Trzaska
UROP Fellowship: DCERP
Research Mentor(s): LaNeice Jones, CEO
Research Mentor Institution/Department: Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision
Presentation Date: Thursday, July 29th
Session: 5:30 – 7:00pm
Breakout Room: DCERP Showcase
Hello! My name is Amanda Trzaska, my pronouns are she/her, and I am a rising junior studying political science. This summer I partnered with Southwest Detroit Community Justice Center. They serve a mainly Latino, Spanish speaking population, and work to increase public trust in the justice system while reducing crime and providing individuals an alternative to jail by offering community service. Jail alternatives are important to the community because it allows individuals to remain employed, hold a stable income, and have the ability to stay housed.
My project this summer was a culmination of research regarding community court, jail diversion, and also helping design a new program called Family Matters, which supports jail diversion in order to keep parents in the home. All of my research was put together to apply for different funding grants, which allows this organization to continue helping the community.
From this project, I learned that there is no easy way to describe non-profit work. Each day presents new challenges, and you can’t always be prepared for them, but through collaboration you can navigate them. While the work can be rewarding, it can also be difficult knowing that sometimes you can’t help someone, no matter how hard and willing you are to try.
This opportunity has opened my eyes to a different side of justice than most people think about. I plan to go to law school and hope to work in civil rights law, and this experience has taught me alternatives to traditional justice, which focuses on punishment, and how to focus instead on the underlying needs in a community.