Growing up, education was always something that was emphasized in our household. My mother was a teacher and when she came home every night, me and my siblings could tell just how much my mom cared for her students. Education is vital to our everyday lives; without it, the opportunities available to us are greatly diminished. For the students living in the city of Detroit, their educational resources have not been the best in recent years. Sufficient funds have not been available, and corruption in the government has send vital money elsewhere. Additionally, even if this money is not sent to education, it is unclear where this money is going. There was a great stretch of time where masses of people were leaving the city, and hundreds of business and homes sit vacant.
Tomorrow, I will get the opportunity to see this all for myself. Myself and roughly 50 others from Central Michigan University’s LDR200L class will travel down to the city to volunteer with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and explore all that Detroit has to offer (the rest of the class will have the opportunity to volunteer in the community on Saturday, but I have to return early to Central for a conference). Our class has spent the last couple of weeks learning a little bit more about Detroit’s different social issues, and we all have a decent knowledge of the issues that plague the city. We watch the news, read the newspapers. Some of us have even seen or experience these issues first hand. While many of us know about the social issues of the city of Detroit, a lot of our knowledge is simply superficial. We know a little bit about what is going on, yet to REALLY know what citizens are going through, we have to see the deep causes for ourselves. Through this service trip, I will have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the city and the people of Detroit. I hear all the time about the problems of the city, yet none of these words mean much until I see the city for myself.
This trip would no be possible without the Leadership Institute of Central Michigan University. The LI teaches its students that we are not the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today. This service trip allows us to go out into the community and make it difference; to begin to see things on the grander scale. We may only be spending two days there, but we are able to see so much in a short period of time. Students are going to be moved by the sights we see and the things we do; they will see all that is going on and be motivated to want to make a different. There are no small acts, because every little thing helps. Our small acts of service will make a difference to someone and keep the door open for more service in the not-so-distant future.
One of the experiences I am most excited for on this trip is our visit to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. As I stated in the beginning, education has always been really important to me, so getting the chance to volunteer in a school that is trying to inspire its students
to become leaders is AWESOME. We get to work directly with the students and do various activities with them. I have no idea what to expect. These students have come from vastly different backgrounds than myself and I am excited to get to know them.
The city of Detroit is only a little over an hour away from my home, yet I know I live a vastly different life than those who live there. By going down to the city for this service trip, there is a lot that I can gain personally. I hope to further my passion to help others, to possibly make an impact in someone else’s life, and, more importantly, get to know the needs of those around me better.