This year, I was apart of the LAS in the D LEAD Team. This was my second time going on this service trip. The first time, I was a participant, and this time I was going as a facilitator. There were about 12 or so of us on the LEAD team. We departed early on a Saturday to Detroit. Our first stop was to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. There, my fellow facilitators and I led small groups with CMU and JRLA students with different ice breaker and team building exercises. It was cool to experience this as a facilitator this time, instead of a participant. I don’t get to lead those types of activities very often to small groups, so this was a fun and challenging experience for me. It was awesome to see how our CMU freshman interacted with the JRLA high school students.
Another “highlight” of our trip was our tour of Quicken Loans. This was an interesting portion of our trip for me. The Quicken Loans facilities were incredible spaces and it seemed as if there were a lot of opportunities there. They bragged about their awesome internship programs over our dinner of local catered Detroit pizza. They also bragged a lot about their roll in “turning Detroit around” and how a majority of the buildings in downtown Detroit now being to Quicken Loans. Their employees were friendly but all seemed to have weird, made up positions. I’m still not clear on what most of them did during their work day. It was interesting because while they were bragging about their facilities and seemingly made up posititons, I was curious what good they were actually doing in Downtown Detroit. What were they doing to help the homeless? What kind of loans were they giving to people? It seemed a little fishy. I was not entirely pleased with this part of the trip, especially if there was unethical leadership behind it all. And since the only reason we visited Quicken in the first place was because CMU wants more money from them was slightly irking.
Anyway, on a more uplifting note, on our second and final day of service, we volunteered with CASS Community Social Services. There, some groups sorted donated clothes, some made food in their kitchen, and others sorted recycling in their unique recycling facility. This experience was my favorite part of the entire trip. I cleaned toilets for most of the day, but it was so rewarding. CASS has this large recycling facility down the street form their main building. There, papers get shredded and formed into hay bail-type things to be sent to be made into new paper. This was something I had never seen done before. Recycling your paper is one thing, but to see what happens to your recycled documents was something entirely more awesome. We sorted though all sorts of cardboard and shredded many papers and really reduced the amount of recycling they had in their facility since we had so many volunteers helping. Visiting CASS was particulate awesome because you could tell that the people working there were all very authentic people working with a very ethically and morally good non-profit.
Like I said two years ago when I went on this trip the first time, I was quite surprised with the different atmospheres we visited during our time in Detroit. We visited JRLA, a school that was not overflowing with money or resources, then we visited Quicken Loans, a business with facilities that had money seeping out of every square inch of it, then CASS Community Social Services, a huge non-profit, doing they best work they had with the resources they had, just to make sure that people homeless individuals had food and shelter. It was another eye-opening experience for sure.