July 16 to July 23, 2017
The booming auto industry led Detroit to become the fourth largest city in the U.S. However, in recent decades, changes in the global economy have led to the closure of many large factories. As a result, unemployment has risen dramatically, and 60% of residents have left the city. Currently, one in three households lives in poverty. In the midst of these difficult conditions, several local non-profits are working to revitalize the city’s most effected neighborhoods. The SStS group will partner with three of these grassroots organizations: Neighborhood Service Organization (NSO), Focus: HOPE, and Forgotten Harvest. NSO has multiple programs targeting chronic homelessness. Focus: HOPE is an organization dedicated to intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, and inadequate education. Finally, Forgotten Harvest grows and distributes nutritious food to those in need.
While in Detroit, the SStS group will begin by working with NSO. A morning will be spent visiting a crisis support facility for the homeless. The afternoon will be dedicated to interacting with the residents of the Bell Building, Detroit’s largest apartment complex for formerly homeless individuals. Then, SStS students will work for two days with Focus: HOPE on their food program that serves over 38,000 senior citizens, as well as on one of various urban revitalization projects in the heart of the city. Finally, two days will be spent supporting Forgotten Harvest’s urban farm where nutritious food is grown for distribution through mobile food banks. This course in global citizenship includes an exploration of cultural sites and restored neighborhoods that allow students to appreciate the rich history of the city and its significant potential for future revival.
The group will volunteer with three different non-profit organizations, Focus: HOPE’s, the Neighborhood Service Organization, and Forgotten Harvest, to learn about how each is addressing food insecurity.
Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.
While in Detroit, the group will spent time exploring various cultural sites on foot. However, these activities only require short walks.
The group stays at Hostel Detroit, a unique local business with shared kitchens and living space as well as bunkrooms for students.
Throughout their time in Detroit, the group will explore various neighborhoods in the city. The project work and various cultural experiences only require short drives.
Although the group will stay in the heart of the city, they do not stay in the homes of individual families.
The group will spend their entire time exploring different neighborhoods in the Detroit metropolitan area.
During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Detroit program from the important viewpoint of our students.