This afternoon, Sarah and I sat down to chat with each student individually to debrief and close out their experience in Detroit. We wanted to share some of the lessons that they will be taking with them in hopes that this enthusiasm for service, compassion and empathy will continue long into their futures. Tomorrow they return home to you and we hope that they arrive inspired, eager and satisfied with the work they did and the relationships that they made. Their reflections speak for themselves. Here are some snippets from each of our Detroit Dream Team members!
Alli – This trip opened my eyes to volunteering and I feel like I did authentic service here. I don’t want to go home. This sounds cliche but follow your dreams because a lot of people in Detroit do that and it’s changing the city for the better.
Royce – More than anything, when I talk to people about this trip, I want them to know that Detroit is on the rise and in the future will definitely be an amazing place. The week went by fast and I would like to explore Detroit more. I learned that you always have to see something and interact with something before you can have an opinion.
Claire – What I learned is that it takes one person and a vision and just to be motivated by something in order to get it done. If everyone just did what they believed in, we could accomplish anything.
Peter – I liked how your mission or expectation for doing NGO projects is that you aren’t going to start or finish anything but move it along. It’s definitely a great mentality to have while doing NGO work!
Riley – I’m going to put a thing about NSO and Focus: HOPE on my website and try to do more community service work with people in Dallas. I want to connect with people more. One quote and I can’t think of who said it reminded me of our trip: “Look up in the sky, do you see the sun? That’s what the Earth revolves around, not you…go out and help!”
Emma – I definitely want to continue doing work with these organizations, Maybe working with NSO cooking at the Bell Tower because I love to cook and I live in Detroit. I hope to find ways to stay connected because I can. I was wishing that I could do more in Detroit and just be in Detroit more. Having gone to these places I look forward to bringing my family. I think that going on this trip was a good experience for me because it pushed me out of my comfort zone because I haven’t been away from home. Just being able to say I did this is really cool and reiterated to me that you get what you give. What you put in, you get back!
Beth – I want more people from my school to do the Detroit trip. A lot of kids are sheltered and kids are afraid of Detroit so I want to get rid of the preconception. The most important lesson I learned was how much people take for granted. Also, that we, as people pass judgements. There are times when I would see someone and might be afraid but then I just had to talk to them and when I did, I realized that they were good people. Also, don’t be afraid of big problems.
Sarah- When I tell people I went to Detroit, I want them to understand that it’s a good place and up and coming. I feel bittersweet about going home because I don’t want to leave these people. On this trip, I learned to ask questions. The more you asked, the more you learned about what people have gone through.
Maggie – I just like to let people know that Detroit isn’t what people think. The perceptions are actually perpetuating the stereotypes and it’s not funny when you have been here and seen how hard people are working. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you work hard, it might not be great when you’re doing it but it’s the feeling afterwards that matters.
Isabella – When I get home, I’m going to start community service and maybe get my mom involved. I’m sad to go home. I don’t want to leave but I miss my parents. Getting down and dirty was the most important lesson that I learned. I would have never done this before. I liked it because afterwards it looked so clean and I couldn’t believe I had gotten dirty and done that!
Kim & Sarah – We were hugely impacted by the sense of community in Detroit and even more impacted witnessing this group form such a tight bond and gain so much compassion for the city over the course of this week. While the above comments focused more on what students have gotten out of the experience, when interviewed for this post, every one of them agreed that we had a very special group connection both on the job and off the job…an instructors dream. We couldn’t have asked for a better week, a better group or a better time in Detroit than what we had. Thank you for trusting us and letting us be a part of your child’s journey. Goodnight from Detroit!!