Today, we begun our day with a early morning service at Neighbors Bulding Brightmoor. Having been told that we would be working at a community garden, we expected to spend the day doing gardening. To our surprise, most of the day was actually spent cleaning remnants of a demolition project as the contractors worked on creating the new community building. Their mission is centered around providing services to single mother's in the nearby community. Specifically, the focus is educating mothers and children on preparing the produce grown from their own gardens. While we couldn't see these services being put into use, the passion of the founder/executive director of this project helped us envision what kind of impact the services of their center will provide to help revive their community.
Our second service was with Blight Busters, which is a veteran based service group based in Detroit. At first it was a little hard to know exactly what to expect. The office for Blight Busters was attached to a coffee/tea cafe, since no one was in their office we headed next door. I (David) was overwhelmed by the friendliness of our server and the atmosphere overall. It was amazing to see how this black owned business had become successful via memorabilia on the walls. After we had ordered our refreshments, we headed out to Blight Busters Community garden, where we quickly picked up some trash. Many of our group members mentioned that they felt rushed during this segment of the day. Nonetheless we finished the task at hand and continued to the next. Next we spent time helping sort through tool donations and organize their warehouse. Dom and Gordon our community partners gave us a background of their organization and what their aim is. They provide experiences in which veterans can make a positive change, while working through PTSD and other forms of stress potentially caused from service. They explained how much of an impact these opportunities have had on so many veterans. Dom and Gordon all explained their vision for their organization and how they plan to expand over the next decade. It was very inspiring to see how much they cared about veterans and their own community.
As an added bonus to our long exhausting day, we were privileged to attend a weekly discussion hosted by Detroit LGBT. This week they were focusing on Heroines in the Detroit Black Lesbian community. This was a learning experience for the whole group and we valued a natural community dialogue on the current dynamics surrounding the LGBT community. Our host were very welcoming to our presence and allowed us space to observe and participate. Overall this marked a good start to the week and has raised our expectations even higher for the rest of the trip.
-David P & Abby A