I am so excited because tomorrow at 8:30 am I will be boarding a bus with 48 other Leader Advancement Scholars to spend just over 24 hours giving back to the city of Detroit. Countless people have told me that the LAS in the D trip was one of their favorite memories of their freshman year and that the bonding and personal growth that happens on this trip is unlike any other LAS event.
I have been to Detroit numerous times and I’d like to think that I’m fairly aware of the social issues that surround the city such as poverty, crime, and homelessness. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer with my church in Detroit working at a soup kitchen and helping at a neighborhood garden. After that experience, I feel that seeing poverty with my own eyes made me realize how real these issues are and how they impact the people of Detroit every day. Also, at home my family watches the Detroit news so a lot of my knowledge about Detroit’s social issues comes from the news.
As we head to Detroit tomorrow, there are many ways that this service learning experience relates to the purpose and mission of the leadership institute. The purpose of the Leadership Institute is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society. I feel that the LAS in the D trip relates to the LI’s purpose because on this trip, we will become more aware of the complex issues that surround the city and how as leaders, we can adapt to lead in these circumstances. The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work. As we embark on this service trip, we truly are living out the vision of the LI; our service in Detroit will help to improve the quality of life to the students we work with and the community we will work with on Saturday morning.
I am so excited to see the personal growth I gain from going on this trip. I hope that being in the heart of Detroit will allow me to be exposed to more social issues that surround the city and seeing how I can make a difference against them. Additionally, I hope that I will even create closer bonds with people in my cohort and that we will come together as one big LAS family.