Through my Business Fraternity i had the opportunity to work with university professional on a whole different level. Myself and a co-chair worked tirelessly in partnership with the Central Michigan University Career Services office to bring roughly 140 business to our campus to recruit CMU students for internships and jobs across the country.
Career Services and Alpha Kappa Psi has a strong relationship as their role is to help student find jobs, and my fraternity’s goal is to uphold our 100% full time job placement after college. The relationship and the experience collaboration with Career Services,which is a group of 8 full time professional was like none else.
Career Services treated my co-chair and I as if we were one of the team. They expected my co-chair and I plan the agenda, set up times and full on run the bi weekly meetings. Those responsibility were not only extremely intimidating but such an amazing opportunity to put my business and leadership knowledge to the test.
I had to make big decisions and delegate responsibility while motivating everyone to a common goal. Their “real life” feedback on how I handled those responsibility helped me grow tremendously as a leader and business professional. The tedious planning and organization of the event takes months, but at the end it is truly something. This special relationship between Alpha Kappa Psi and Career services gets to both reach their goals and bring jobs and opportunities to our students.
LAS in the D is my favorite time of the year! It is when the Freshman Leader Advancement scholar get the opportunity to attend a service learning trip to Detroit and take part in volunteer work practicing servant leadership, and education/awareness regarding Detroit as growing and rebuilding city and where they see leadership . This trip is also special as it also serves as a bonding experience for the cohort and a place where many passions are ignited. I got the AMAZING opportunity to be apart of the LAS in the D lead team and lead my own group of student s through this impactfl weekend.
The first stop of the Journey was at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA) where we got to interact with Jalen Rose students and their lead team member facilitated leadership activities with the JRLA students. OUr ultimate goal this year was to help the JRLA students learn and develop their facilitation skills, as well as learn how to facilitate a debrief. After we visited JRLA we went to Quicken Loans where we got a tour of their facilities and listen to employees speak about the company and what they are doing for Detroit. We also encouraged the students to be aware and look for people who exhibited different leadership styles.
From there we went to the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA) where we allow the students to roam around the facility and take it all the amazing exhibits they have to offer. The night was wrapped up at the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) it’s located right on the river walk and about a mile from the Renaissance Center. Not only did we all get to explore, play all throughout the facility and was our location to stay for the whole night, but we got to hear from Mrs. Walter and got an indepth look on the beautiful history of the building. We got to hear about the dream behind this exhibit that was able to come into fruition, and the importance and impact it has had on the city.
My favorite part of the day was when we had the chance to have a Meaningful debrief with our group and listen to the impact this trip has made on the students and parts the inspired and motivated them to want to make a change. That was the largest highlight i had on the day.
Day two came quick and and was the day we set aside for direct service. The day was spent at Cass Community Social Services. Cass is a local nonprofit that provides many services to the community such as food, housing, and support. They also have other areas where Cass works to generate money and items to give back such as making mats out of recycled tires, shredding paper, cleaning and organizing closets of donations. The areas we all served were working in the kitchen, helping make mats, shredding paper, and organizing the closets.
The second day was very special, because I believe the students got a true taste of the impact and support the Detroit community still needs. They were encouraged to journal throughout the experience via self-guided questions to process what they have been experiencing and that process helped reach an amazing outcome of aware and excited students.
The trip as a whole could not have gone any smoother. I was surrounded by not only amazing students but amazing LEAD team leaders. The freshman LASers will never know what a large impact their perspectives and passion made on me that day. It was a refreshing re-energization that I need going into the last parts of the semester.
2016/2017 Started with force… especially in the world of CMU Cheer. As a program, we all had high aspirations to do big things for ourselves and our program. At the start, we weren’t quite sure how that was going to happen, but knew we wanted it. In CMU Cheer we aren’t given the title of “captain”, it isn’t voted on and labeled, but it is a responsibility that is put onto in a natural occurrence of overlapping poise, experience, drive and genuine care. You all-of-a sudden know that everyone is looking and coming to you and everyone falls in suit.
At the end of the 2015/2016 season I was awarded female MVP of the program and was utterly surprised and didn’t believe I deserved it… I didn’t lead games as game captain, I didn’t go out of my way to be the one up front, I just came into practice being me working my butt off and following through with my responsibilities. After self-reflection, I realized that is what our program is about. Our title of “captain” or a valued teammate, leader whatever you call it is given to someone that is now know I need to be confident in, and that is myself. I came in ready to work not for me but for my team, I care about the well-being of my cheer family. That internal commitment was oozing out of me and with that I earned the respect to lead and inspire my teammates to do the same.
2016/2017 season came around with force, because I learned from my obliviousness/passive leadership. I reflected on the impact I could have when I put my love for the program, experience, drive, and natural leadership qualities into more active and aware leadership style. That impact was quickly grasped by the program/ rest of my teammates and came with a lot of recalculating. I had to recalculated as I was put on a different team, small coed team.
Small Co-ed is still in the CMU Cheer program just means the team is compiled of two all-girl groups (flyer, two bases, and a back-spot), and four co-ed couples (male base, female flyer). This small co-ed team was made up of individuals who have the most skills on the team, we each individually brought a lot to the table. Yet, the hardest thing we faced was being a team. I have been apart of many teams in my day all with different struggles, but this team was by far the most challenging. Challenging, to me doesn’t seem like the right word, because we were very good just lacked the energy when times get tough. That last bit of energy that is needed when you are pushing your body to its limits. That would separate us from being really good to being unbelievable! Also, the challenge in dealing with different mindsets… Majority of the male team members tended to gravitate and respond to harsher more pass or fail type of coaching/leadership. Where majority of the female team members (myself included) gravitated and responded more to discussion based coaching/leadership and positive reinforcement.
So, for myself as a leader on the team I had to deeply identify my audience, which I have never had to do before to that degree. I had to know how each person was motivated and be able to bounce back in forth helping, guiding and motivating my team members on 10-14 hours practice days. Once I understood my team members and was open about how I am best motivated, as well as how I’ve notice they were motivated it opened a channel of understanding throughout our whole team.
I was able to bring strong individuals together by looking deeper into their actions and tendencies and asking them how they prefer to be motivated. We went from being a good team to an amazing team taking 5th in the Nation, and making CMU history. We brought our individual strengths to the table and the cohesive energy needed to break into the top 10.
2016/2017 CMU Small Co-Ed season will be one I never will forget as it challenged me as a cheerleader and a leader.
On Wednesday we finally made it Venice. It’s a trip we’ve planned on our own. Our first trip without our class. We hoped on the train (a long train ride at that), burned skin from Via Reggio and all, we made it to Venice. The moment you walk out of the train station it was like you walked into a different world. It was beautiful! So many peopled warned us that it was going to smell and it wasn’t as cool as they thought it would be, the streets would be dirty. With that information we were kind of nervous! Yet, in the moment we walked out of the station we knew that all the things that were said were so so wrong. It was gorgeous!
We had a simple plan for the day: walk around and see as much as we can, eat seafood, take a gondola ride, and find out if the city is really sinking. And that is what we did! We walked around and saw some beautiful churches, many stores filled with Vancian glass (one of the products they are known for) I got myself a Vancian glass ring J. The other product that they are known for is there homemade masks that all of Italy uses for a holiday/festival similar to Halloween. After walking around for a very long time in the crazy heat we found a restaurant that had tables overlooking a canal. We had walked past it a couple times just from getting turned around and the plates coming out looked AWESOME. We were very very excited and didn’t hesitate to make this our “big” meal of the day. Olivia Jenna and I ordered the pasta with seafood. The menu didn’t elaborate much farther than it saying pasta with all kinds of seafood, which we assumed was whatever fresh they had in the kitchen and Angie ordered a salmon pasta. The food came out fast and the plates were beautiful! Not only did the sea food pasta have a big swirl of pasta decorated with tons of clams and mussels and a little octopus on top with shrimp and squid. It had a bright red already glazed (in something delicious not butter they don’t really do butter in Italy) sitting there for us to crack open.
Given we found out that out of the three of us really didn’t know how to crack open a lobster, myself have only two experiences. 1) At my mom’s birthday when I was in like 5th grade we cooked lobster for her party and I cracked one lobster and felt so bad, because I picked him out only earlier that day. Then the second time my family and I were in Maine of vacation where I got to again, pick out the dang lobster, listen to it hiss in a pot and then had to crack it open and try to forget that I had chosen its doom. Ok, yes I may be being a little dramatic, but all my memories with lobster, yes, delicious the cracking part was my least favorite. Yet, today I had no other choice to ask my dad to crack it for me (sorry about the lobster rant). Getting over the full lobster, and getting over that we were going to have to use our hands to be able to get the dish “all cracked open” before the cows came home (utensils made it to hard haha we were kind of a mess). After the prep phase of our dish we dug in and it was the most amazing dish I had yet eaten in Italy.
After dinner we only had two more things to do on our list: gondola, and find out if the city was sinking. We figured that the gondola was next. Right by the restaurant was a dock for the gondolas later finding gout that each boat is essentially its own family tradition gondola boat driver’s boats have family tradition. It all happening very fast we were on the boat and on our way!! The gondola driver guy was very nice and spoke English, which was very nice, because he pretty much gave us a tour telling us about all the different building and which historically famous person lived there and the ages of all the bridges and even confirming to us that not only is the ocean rising but the islands are actually sinking. They are sinking because the islands are made out of sand and they are putting/building up so much it is compressing the sand rock which is causing the island to shrink and go under water! The gondola ride was amazing and felt like a dream!
Afterward we walked around the more touristy places and realized we were even more burned than we were when we got there and we decided it would be in our best interest to now head back to Florence.
The next day Thursday July 9th we went to class where we had lecture and were taken to a Sicilian bakery where we learned about arenchini, cannoli, and granita. Arenchini, which is a cone like shape made with rice and stuff with anything from rague sauce, eggplant and mozzarella, squid, or cheese. Cannoli, a fried pastry dough filled with a ricotta filling! Granita is pretty much a shaved icy with flavors in it like lemon, strawberry, watermelon, and coffee. I got lemon it was very very good.
After class we headed home to take a nap the heat and sun we had gotten the past couple of days was hitting us hard and we hadn’t been drinking enough water. For some reason when we got into the apartment o couldn’t sleep, so I cleaned up the apartment and came to find that my burnt chest had little blisters ALL OVER IT!!! As I cleaned and sweat (freaking hot and no AC) the blisters grew. Let’s just say I don’t like it and I had to call my mother to double check. She confirmed to me that I would be all good and needed to just leave them alone, which was really hard!
That evening we had reservations at Ganzo our schools all students lead restaurant, to partake in a themed dinner. Themed dinners are a 6 course meal under a certain theme, tonight was traditional Tuscan dishes. Long story short the dinner was awesome and here are pictures from each course… we were spoiled.
Friday July 8 was another chill day after dinner at ganzo we explored the town till late. We woke up and found an American Diner for breakfast! I got an omlette that was amazing and an actual cafe americano!!
After breakfast we came back with plans to get our papers squared away and travel plans together for Switzerland. Instead we came back to a whole different adventure when I decided to change the outlet I was using…. long story short no more electricity nor wifi and that led to multiple flights being climbed (we live 6 flights of stairs up and box is down stairs) it wasn’t fun…we finally called and had someone come help us because nothing we were doing was working. The gentleman comes in looks at the box on the first floor looks at this random box at the very very top left corner unlabeled and flips it and the electricity came on…. of course right. I was just happy the lights were on. Only for time to pass a little longer and i tried a different socket and POP!!! I blew it again… had to walk the stairs AGAIN and climb to try and reach to box flipped it climbed upstairs and they weren’t on… went down and flipped it AGAIN!!!! and thank the lord they turned on… I threw away my adapter here’s the culprit….
Through my college experience thus far I have had many volunteer opportunities. Just this year I have found my favorite volunteer opportunities to be that benefiting the younger generations. Some of my favorite are listed below:
Being a CMU Cheerleader we get multiple opportunities to volunteer our time to teach younger generations the skills and training methods to be a college cheerleader. We partner with Champion Force an organization with young girls and boys ages 8-18, from across the state that compete in all-star cheerleading. These teams come to us to enhance their skills. We get to work with these teams through five stations: tumbling, stunting, private coaching, baskets, conditioning. Working with these young girls I have had the opportunity to share my passion for cheerleading while teaching them the skills and
technique to be safe in this dangerous sport, as well as teach them exciting new skills.
This opportunity is hard work and you most definitely have to utilize patience, and strong clear communication. Yet, the reward is beyond what you could ever ask for. They end up looking up to you as a role model as they ask to get pictures with you after, come give you hugs, or even tell you verbally how much you helped them. To be able to share a skill you have and love, and coach them through it as well is extremely rewarding.
Joining Alpha Kappa Psi, I have had the opportunity to participate and help elevate their new philanthropy Stand Up For Kids a non-profit organization that works to end youth
homelessness. We also work with other organizations that stand for youth advocacy. My first event that I participated in was decorating lunch sacks with inspirational quotes or happy pictures. As I got more involved in the Fraternity we have also volunteered our time and made tie blankets through an organize where they take donated tie blankets to liven up children’s hospital beds before they arrive.
The beginning of my sophomore year was the beginning of a new chapter I had decided. I changed my major and enter in to the business school and was ready to get involved in an organization that would enhance my professionalism to be better prepared for the business world. Human resources being my chosen major I looked into SHRM the Human resources group on campus and every time I tried to make it to a meeting it would never work. The pieces weren’t falling in to place. Then one day as I walked through Grawn the Business College building there was a student booth setting up handing out lanyards, sunglasses, and handing out candy (honestly the original reason I stopped was for a jolly rancher). The poster board they were presenting said on the top in big bold letters ALPHA KAPPA PSI- Professional Business Fraternity – Next Generation of Principled Business Leaders. It really caught my eye, I wanted to be a part of the next generation of principled business leaders, and that started it all.
Next thing I knew I was in full swing of the AKP pledging process. Learning their traditions, resume critiques, presentation skills, interviewing skills ect. All preparing me to be more prepared for the business world. The process was long and a lot of work but right in front of my very own eyes I saw change in myself. I was learning more and figuring out more what I want to do for the rest of my life, my values, how the organizations alumni base and collection membership experiences will benefit me, and how I wanted to make a difference in the organization. Not even mentioning the friends I have met through this process and being able to have the best Big ever, I am never short of people to ask for help and advice.
This Spring being my first active semester as a member I was given one of the most important positions in the fraternity. I was corporate relations co-chair, I worked with my chair and CMU Career Services to put on the Alpha Kappa Psi Career Fair. Where this year we hosed 145 companies and over 1500 students. This opportunity to plan an event of such magnitude, and to work with employers was an experience of a life time. Now as I was a co-chair this coming Fall of 2016, it will be my turn to head up the event, which I am very excited about.
Another area within the fraternity that I am very excited to be heading is implementing actual leadership development practices into the fraternity. Leadership education is an area as a leader advancement scholar and in my everyday life that I am very passionate about. We, AKP say we develop principled business leaders, which we do with business etiquette and experience, but with no formal leadership training and education. As I make head way with this implementation and partnering with the Leadership Institute it has sparked my passion in Human Resources as I want to pursue employee training and development.
Alpha Kappa Psi is another very exciting family that I have joined and am very excited for the opportunities and doors that it will provide me in the years to come.
The day I chose my mentee on mentor mentee selection day I had vowed to be the best mentor, role model, friend and support system I could be, whether she wanted me sometimes or all the time. Luckily she became, and is now one of my very good friends. Our relationship is a little different than others. We not only are bonded together through a family of Leader Advancement Scholars, but we are bonded together through another family, the CMU cheer team. So, I got a different opportunity to spend a large chunk of the summer getting to know Kelly (my mentee 🙂 ). As we worked tirelessly through two-a-days, running through the heat, stunting in the elements and laughing as we attempted to walk up the stairs and ended up crawling to bed at night. We bonded as friends and teammates first. I never tried to force my “wisdom” upon her, I continuously reminded her I am always here for you and if I don’t know the answer I will find it for you. This happened all before many of my fellow cohort even have met their mentees. When my cohort and all of our mentees got to spend that quality time getting to know each other Kelly and I had been solidifying our relationship as we went on a mentor/mentee bonding trip to eagle village. We got very lucky in the process in which we got to know each other.
To be a mentor can be hard though, it isn’t like a Greek Life Big, Little relationship. We are mentors, someone for them to come to for advice and to share their experience and knowledge of how to be a campus leader, even to learn to get through college. I could go on and on about Kelly and I’s relationship and on how I’ve been blessed with a great friend and team mate, how proud I am of her and how she has done in her school work, and pursued getting involved on campus, but that’s not the purpose of this blog.
As a mentor I really strived to make sure we first had mutual respect, we don’t have a large age gap and we are going through very similar things even though I’m a year older. By having mutual respect, we both are “allowed” to confide in each other. This is a two-way relationship in which my role is to help her get acclimated, understand the ways of the LI, the introductory way to get involved on campus. With mutual respect, I can look at her as a role model, as I hope she looks at me as a role model. We learn from each of our actions as leaders as we strive to figure out who we are as leaders. I am lucky enough that we can do this together and that in the quickly passing first year I have made a great friend that I know I’ll have for many year, but someone who I have taught to not be afraid to ask questions and find answers, to be confident in herself and her leadership learning process, and she has taught me that I am still in the learning process myself and that she has my back too. This is just the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship with a girl who I am blessed to have in my life that shares some of my passions, but is open to join me on our journey together to be the next generation of ethical leaders.
Com 461L has been a class that has been a very pleasant surprise. Before the class started a lot of us “cohort classmates” were dreading a course that would reiterate a lot of what we have already learned, or that it would be information that we wouldn’t really take with us after the class. We were very much wrong. This course has given us answers to problems we face every day as on campus leaders. Problems such as how to most effectively work in a group, how to be a follower, how best to work with electronic communication, as well as how to build credibility and so much more. Each topic we discuss what it is, how we use it now, best ways to use it and ways it could not work or be negative.
With the lecture of the ins and outs of each topic we solidify these concepts with a lot of open discussion and group activities. Group activities like this past week we are working on the topic of public leadership, and their communication techniques. We went over the, what it is, where we use it or see it in our lives, positives about it and if there are any negatives. We then broke the class into six groups and we simulated a recognition ceremony awarding someone the “Best COM 461L Student”. With that we had one “public leader” in each group and a script writer (public leaders always have help with their communication) and we each wrote and presented a different part of the ceremony. The introduction, giving of the award, acceptance of the award, building being named after participant, an inspirational piece, and closing words. We each got to utilize pieces of public leader’s communication techniques hands on learning a lot as well as having fun.
This group activity explains so much about the class and the professor, Professor Carlson. She knows how to get us to learn, and to explain these extremely useful subjects in a way that they will stay with us and we will feel comfortable implementing is our everyday leadership on and off campus. Not even going into the book she is maneuvering us through called the leadership moment, which tells stories of leaders in a part of their lives. Each story has a part of leadership that we are analyzing and we develop questions such as: “So and so in this moment wasn’t able to get through to his team. Why? What do you think he/she could have done to be more effective?” With these questions we, as a class have a fishbowl.
A fishbowl is a way of constructively facilitating discussion. We deal out cards and if you get a fish on your card you are the original group that starts the discussion with your questions, and if you get an empty fishbowl you with get to save your questions till the fish break out of their discussion and come to facilitate a group of fishbowl card people through the discussion of the story that day. We all dreaded the idea of the Fishbowls, but to be able to read and learn from someone else’s mistakes and achievements has stimulated a lot of great learning conversation with lead to growth as leaders.
With all set and done this class has been one of my favorite CMU course that I have taken so far. Not one class period have I left not thinking that I wouldn’t be able to use the subject we talked about today, and I believe that is special! Go COM 461L!
As a CMU Cheerleader it is a great privilege. It takes a lot of hard work dedication and the ability to push yourself to a level you thought you could never reach. I already tried to write this blog once before and it was LONG way too long. I talked about my whole entire journey from the start to finish. I talked about the highs and the lows and the in between. It turned out to be more of a vent journal entry and I didn’t believe it embodied all I wanted to say about my experience. So I decided to sit on it for a while and have some time to even wrap my head around what I actually did to myself with my team for the past year or so. This past weekend I sat through the most beautiful 5 hour banquet that embodied the exact experience I wanted to share to all of you. Our cheer banquet highlighted MVP’s, Rookies of the Year, Spirit Awards, seniors, and our journey through nationals. We reflected all together why we do this crazy sport and put of minds and bodies though this. It’s because we love challenge, we love cheering for a school that we love more than anything, we build trust with one another that is unbreakable and we work for a single moment of 3 minutes on the national’s mat that gives you the feeling if you bottled up could power a whole city for a week or more! We become a family that will stand by your side through anything and will always be there. This crazy sport of cheer teaches you self-worth, confidence, how usually the only person standing in your own way is yourself, to reach for the stars even if you land on the moon, set goals and run after them with all you have, find passion, determination, love. Embrace pain, frustrating, let down, anger, nerves, emotions. Take it alllllll in and use it not just in cheer but your everyday life. Cheer makes you strong physically and mentally but getting there is a journey that you have to trust.
Coming in as a rookies (first year cheering/freshman) I had no idea what to expect in a college cheer experience. High school cheer was all I knew, training to all be robots and we strived for perfection not necessarily to be the best individual we could be. To me that was fine I enjoyed the challenge that came from that, I personally found ways to push myself farther. High school cheer wasn’t for everyone. Three rounds of 1minute 30 second routines of robotic, yelling, movements. Round one motions and jumps, round 2 skills, round three tumbling and stunts (my favorite). High school cheer gave me a great foundation for college cheer. I knew body positions and where in myself to find mental toughness and determination. College cheer is a whole new story. We cheer for multiple sports teams but we also train for our national’s competition. We work months and months on a 3 minute routine. We stay at CMU over Christmas break training usually seeing our family only for a week. We do skills that look insane, we launch girls in the air, and tumble like crazy. At the end it’ll be the most amazing thing you’ll ever see but it isn’t always like that…
We start by seeing if we even make the nationals team. Myself I didn’t, I was an alternate so I would go to all the practices learn anything I could and get thrown in if anyone got hurt. It was stressful, there was no way to really prepare you for the text you get form coach saying today you’re going in. That first practice was a nightmare. I ran around the mat like a chicken with my head cut off. Trying to listen to directions of where I was supposed to go, I was excited but was terrified. Especially being thrown into a group with a vet 4th year (2 year cheering or more) flyer. With me coming in she had all rookies underneath her. She wasn’t happy and I was scared, intimidated and wanted to cry. Trying to find a group of 4 girls who mesh with each other to make a stunt group (a stressful period for any rookie) is a big process but being thrown into a group that doesn’t seem to want you, there is no words to describe. That is where my journey started officially.
My group trained and trained and pushed through pain and struggle. Turning out to be one of the most elite and consistent groups on the team–front and center. I was pushed to levels I never thought could be at physically and mentally. I pushed through my flyer and back spot getting hurt 2 weeks before nationals. My base and I forming a bond that will never sever. Together physically and emotionally had to go through a week and a half I wish I could forget. To them coming back and putting on a show of a life time. Taking 5th in nation in semi’s to 9th in the nation over all out of 20+ teams. A place the CMU All Girl Cheer hasn’t been at in years. It made every hour in the gym worth it. Every hit to the face, bump, bruise, tear, frustration and feeling like it wasn’t possible worth it. We made CMU Cheer history by taking both and All-Girl team (Me) and a Large Coed team to nationals and both making it to finals. We are now one of the top 40 schools to cheer at in the nation. I am a part of the family that all together wants to make this program and themselves better. I get to be a part of the start of huge pivotal changes in this program and wouldn’t change it for the world. I am and always will be a better person from this experience and I thank my coaches and this team for that. I bleed maroon and gold, CMU Cheer and everything this program stands for. FIRE UP CHIPS!!!
I had the opportunity to go on a service learning trip with my Leader Advancement Scholarship cohort members, a trip we call LAS to the D 2015. The Leadership Institute (LI) supports all 40 some of us on a weekend that changes our life. We leave that Friday afternoon all packed up on the charter bus in our Khakis and colored t-shirts, excited and ready to rock and roll. Our first stop was to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.
A Charter school that is supported by our University Central Michigan University. We were going to them to meet with their freshman and sophomore advisories to lead them in leadership activities. Activities such as a game called gutter ball, which each students gets a wooded gutter, they only can hold it with their thumb and pinky. The goal is to work as a team and get a marble all the way across the room to the facilitator’s hands. With the hope that these students grasp some concepts of leadership, like: communication, teamwork, adaptation, open mindedness. Then later that afternoon we worked with two clubs/groups within the school PIOLT and BUTTA students, which were essentially mentors to younger students and trained to lead by example. We worked with them in hopes to train them to facilitate leadership activities as we did.
After Facilitating with Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we drove to Ford Field were connected was and advertising company called Lowe Campbell Ewald. They’re a Michigan based company that came back to Detroit after leaving to come and support the local economy. They only purchase Michigan products, and only hire Michigan employees as well. We went to Lowe Campbell Ewald to experience the other spectrum of Detroit (the higher end). It represented hope and a future for the Detroit economy. We then had the amazing opportunity to get a behind the scene tour of Ford Field. One of the large icons in Detroit. After the Ford Field tour and having dinner we went to The Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA). An opportunity for myself and my classmates to experience one of the best art museums in the country. Looking in all kinds of exhibits everything from Edgar Degas’s sketch exhibit to a photography exhibit of Detroit citizens and they’re stories. We then went in stayed on the center of downtown Detroit at the CMU Global Campus outreach center. Where all 40+ of us crawled into our sleeping bags on the floor getting ready for another big day. We woke up bright and early and got ready to volunteer with a Detroit founded non-profit organization called the Motor City Blight Busters. A non-profit organization that was started by a local man of the town who took charge. With some help of a few who saw the same goal and some passion. Together they made an organization that works for the betterment of the community. Whether it be tearing a house down, boarding a house up, planting flowers, starting gardens, helping local citizens reach their dreams, helping localkids either give back or have a place to go. Blight Busters are definitely not short of giving back. We went and worked with them on the next step of a big project. They tore down some drug houses and wanted to make a farm. We worked on the step of putting the mulch down. You have to do that before you can put the manure down then another layer of mulch and then one layer of manure then vwa-la a farm! Blight Busters promo video with LAS 2014. Here is also the University Communications Press Release of our trip LAS in the D 2015.
The most eye opening part of the trip for me was working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Students. I personally had no idea what to expect. Many thoughts were going through my mind. Once we got there the first thing I noticed were small flags on the walls with Ivy League schools names and crest on them. These flags lined the hallways. I was kind of taken back, not really sure why they would put such prestigious schools flags in their hallways. I was quick to find out that these students didn’t expect anything but their best in what they did. Students were actually attending these universities. We then got with our groups and headed to the advisory class we were assigned. The advisories were divided male and female and then by grade. Those advisory classes would be with the exact same people for the rest of their high school career. My group and I were assigned a freshman male advisory. I was sort of nervous not knowing what to expect walking into that classroom. We introduced ourselves and began with community standards. Essentially rules for our group today. I usually encourage students to think of things along the lines of “RESPECT” they want everyone to be respectful while we go through our activities. They caught on very quick and took it very seriously, which I wasn’t expecting. A lot of times you get group who want to say silly things. They were spitting out standards like open mindedness, challenge yourself, courage, teamwork and more. They taking in what us as facilitators had to say as well as their peers.
The first activity we did was, an ice breaker. We had a beach ball with questions on it everything from what is your leadership style, to Pepsi or Coke. This is when I started to become truly blown away. These students who seemed apprehensive at the start were choosing to open up to their peers and answer deeper questions. We weren’t expecting the students to know their leadership style. One saying “I don’t want to bet e leader in the front but I want to be standing next to everyone as a role model.” Even to the question to what is on your bucket list. One student didn’t understand what that was, once we explained he told us her wanted to see his dad before he graduates high school. Students wanting to be like their older sister, get good grades, graduate high school. Things they were truly sincere about. They worked HARD to be where they’re at and are ready to work hard for where they want to go. Breaking into two smaller groups we started the next activity of gutter ball. Giving them the rules and objective they got started. They were all in, talking together as I gave subtle suggestions which they would dissect and try to figure out how to implement. They were growing right in front of my eyes. But then to debrief and guide the conversation of “WHAT”, what just happened, “SO WHAT” so what about this activity was important to leadership growth, “NOW WHAT” how can you implement what this activity taught you to your everyday life. That stumped them and they talked about team work and communication, the in your face answers. The lights even going out in the middle of our debrief. They didn’t even hesitate “oh that happens once a week” they kept on with our debrief. But I got to ask them about how they had to be open minded and how when faced with a challenge you had to adapt. I have never been able to facilitate such a group where they were so intrigued and absorbing my every word. They changed and grew right in front of my eyes and if we could have had just a couple more hours it would have been amazing.
My whole LAS cohort and all involved with our LAS in the D Service learning trip displayed leadership throughout our service. Each and every one of us displayed servant leadership through our work with Jalen Rose and the Blight Busters. Focusing in specifically on one leader within our group our advisor Jesi Parker is a specific example of displaying leadership. She was guiding the rest of the group and being a role model for us to model our actions on. She is the ideal servant leader. She worked side by side with us when we were mulching for the Blight Busters leading by example and encouraging us to work hard.
My opinion about Detroit has completely changed. In all honesty Detroit made me nervous. All the hype about how I should be on guard, which you should be in any city. After going on this trip all the stereotypes and truths about Detroit were brought up and addressed. I was inspired to make a difference. Being there and being around meeting the students and seeing the art and the potential, you feel the love and the hope for not only a new beginning but a rebirth. They want to restore what Detroit once was and there are so many passionate people who and working to do so. Being there just ignited my passion for Detroit and all that it has to offer. I went from being apprehensive of Detroit, to wanting to embrace the beauty of all that it had to offer. I want to make positive change.
After this experience I feel passionate about making positive change. Being in Detroit inspires me to make positive change not just for Detroit, but also to make positive change for my own community. By volunteering for local organizations, schools, and making my home better place, by being a role model and servant leader. Blight Busters motto “think globally act locally” really hit home with me. Not only did the service trip give me an itch to volunteer and make a difference it revealed a passion of mine. After working with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy students I was reflecting to myself about how much that changed my life. How teaching/facilitating makes me so happy. I got to watch them learn about themselves as leaders through my guidance. Through just their facial expressions and body language I could see the change. Those activities and debriefing changed those students’ lives. I taught them how to bring out their inner leader, showed them confidence some didn’t know they had. I helped them grow and invaluable attribute that will only mean positive things for them. Coming to that realization I knew that I want to do this for forever!
"Inspire others to always keep looking forward with a SMILE"