Every year, the Leadership Institute takes the freshman cohort to Detroit on a service trip. We are learning about Servant Leadership in LDR 200, so this trip is an application of the responsibilities and characteristics of servant leaders. The trip included service projects at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy with their students, followed by Pizzapopalis, and the Detroit Institute of the Arts. The next day, we traveled to Cass Community Social Service for another day of volunteering.
For this reflection, I came up with a algorithm to explain my experience on LAS in the D. So, LAS in the D was 24 hours of M.A.D Service. M.A.D stands for Meaningful, Accepting, and Dedicated.
Meaningful: The whole purpose of the time we spent at Jalen Rose was to inspire the academy students to appreciate service and recognize all the opportunities they have to give service. While at the academy, we made cards for veterans, thanking them for their service, made cheer signs for Special Olympic athletes, as well as, learning about the OK2SAY program. All of these services, though they were small, have a big impact; this is what we were trying to teach Jalen Rose.
Accepting: Traveling to downtown Detroit was a new experience for a lot of people including myself. No one really knew what to expect and many people have stereotypes of Detroit, because of the economic downturn it has experienced as well as the racial segregation. I personally believe that we all grew to be more accepting because we were surprised by the people we met. I think we all assumed they would be very different from us and came to realize that we had a lot in common. We also had to be accepting of the population we served at Cass Community Social Services. The people that company serves are homeless, hungry, etc., feelings we don’t experience every day. My friends and myself had to be open-minded and understanding of their situation and put their immediate needs above our own egos.
Dedicated: I believe dedication is one of the most important attribute a leader can possess. LAS in the D was early mornings, late nights, and long work hours. We all had to be dedicated to the task of service for the trip to be a success. I believe that dedication is one thing that makes my cohort very special. Not only are very dedicated to leadership, we are also dedicated to CMU and most importantly each other. We were able to make a difference and serve a community that needed us because we worked together and enjoyed it along the way.