My heart is fluttering from this experience! I am so blessed to be a part of LAS because they really do change lives, especially mine! This is why I live; this is my purpose!
Arriving to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, I had no prior knowledge of how the school performs day to day, their mission, what and how the kids get into the PILOT program. The students in the PILOT program are the top of their class students. They are required to wear uniforms and will get demerits if their belt or shoes are the wrong color. They will get demerits if they don’t do most of their homework or are tardy. After a certain amount of demerits they will get detention. So they completely changed the system to be strict which has changed everyones attitudes and grades positively. After speaking to the people who influenced and changed the school in a complete 180, they inspired us to go into a job that puts you to sleep at night but also gets you up and ready to go in the morning. Right above the door to enter the school, it read, “Enter a learner. Exit a leader.” This was a great preview of what the school is trying to influence on the kids. After playing the noodle game to learn each others names, we came up with our group name “Red Hot Chili Leaders”, the definition of leadership, and our goals. This is where the kids inspired me the most. For leadership, they wrote things like imperfection, determined, and US! After facilitating the gutter ball game, I was inspired again by the group members. One of the girls said “you need to be a follower just as much as a leader”. I believe in this so much and couldn’t agree more with the wisdom she possesses. In a group of leaders, you need to be able to know how to follow and know when to step up and lead.
The Detroit Institute of Arts followed eating Chicago style pizza and filling our stomachs with bakery desserts. I’ve never been to such a big art museum and to go with my LAS class was very exciting. There was very inspiring and beautiful pieces we not only looked at in awe, but recreated. Each culture inside of the museum was very diverse. There was people redrawing the paintings in their notebooks, there was videos of each culture inside of how they act, and there was a lot of statues!
After sleeping in what felt like the heart of Detroit, we woke up to begin our community service project. We demolished a house, carried bags of wood and plaster to the streets and the fire, and wore suits/masks to stay healthy!:) I started off inside the house where I scooped plaster, wood, and debris into trash bags. After a couple bags, I decided to switch it up and burn some wood in the fire. With a few firetrucks to stop such work (FIRE UP CHIPS), I helped move bags of wood and debris onto the streets to which would be picked up later in the week. I WAS A WILLOW (as Jesi Parker advised us to be this trip, to go with the flow of events)!
After eating lunch before leaving Detroit at Great Lakes Crossing Mall, I realized just how small town/country girl I am. I didn’t know what A&W was, haven’t been in a mall that big, and realized just how much I love the quiet streets in DeWitt. But on the way home, I reflected just how much this trip and LAS has changed me. With the people I have met, the events and volunteer opportunities I have experienced, and the classes of LAS support behind me; I am beyond privileged. I have so much love and people in my life to keep me going. I am lucky and inspired to be in LAS, CMU, and my future looking so bright! There will be tough times, there will be days where I want to quit, but I must keep pushing on.