LAS in the D was an interesting experience to say the least. Between the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, Cass Community Social Services, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and more there was never a dull moment. Each experience offered different learning opportunities, helped me grow as a person, and allowed me to bond with other members of the Leadership Institute.
To start the trip we went to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. Although I didn’t talk specifically about my expectations for Jalen Rose, my experience was extremely different than I expected. Despite my vague and skewed expectations it was a great experience. Being able to talk to the students of the JRLA and serve with them was a humbling experience. Throughout my time at Jalen Rose it seemed as though the students in our group were not having fun or enjoying themselves, however, during debrief they all said they had a great day. This was a significant moment for me because this helped me to realize that although you don’t always see you impact right away, that doesn’t mean you didn’t have an impact. Seeing the impact we had on the students and allowing them to serve while enjoying themselves was awesome.
Next, we had the privilege of going to the Detroit Institute of Art. Prior to this trip I had never been to the DIA or any major art galleries. I knew I was going to see some amazing
art but I never imagined the impact it would have on me. To start I enjoyed the art, however, I was so exhausted that I was ready to be done so I could rest. However, the more I observed the art and read about its meaning, the more I wanted to stay. By the time it was time to go, I had just realized that I had only explored a fraction of the second floor! My only complaint with the DIA is that I couldn’t stay longer but I decided that I’ll have to take a trip this summer to explore more.
To conclude our trip we volunteered with Cass Community Social Services. At Cass they split us into three groups. The different volunteering that the groups did included shredding paper, working at a soup kitchen, and making mats out of tires. My group spent our time at the soup kitchen. I had the opportunity my senior year of high school to spend 5 hours volunteering at a soup kitchen in Saginaw so this experience wasn’t extremely new, but rather more of a reminder. During the school year I often get in a pattern and don’t include volunteering in that pattern. Being able to volunteer at the soup kitchen served as a reminder of how satisfying volunteering can be and the impact I can have everyday. As I continue my career at Central this was a great reminder of the importance of including volunteering and service in my everyday life.
Overall, LAS in the D was a great experience. Having the opportunity to serve in multiple locations as well as enjoy the DIA made the trip a memorable and worthwhile one. This trip served as a great opportunity to bond with my cohort and make a difference as well. But most importantly, LAS in the D served as a learning experience. Throughout the short time I spent in Detroit I learned a crucial lesson: service isn’t about the experience that you get. It’s about the experiences you provide for others.