So I'll probably be using words like "amazing", "awesome", "unbelievable" a lot over the next few months, especially these first few weeks.
Today was one of those days. Yet another day of complete reassurance that this is where I need to be and what I should be doing. We spent the day visiting each other's sites to learn a little bit more about what we will be doing and the role each organization plays in Detroit itself. After visiting each site, it was obvious that the staff at MVC worked very hard to place each of us at sites that would be perfect for our expectations and our skills.
The first stop on the site tour was Detroit Cristo Rey High School, where I will be working full time and Dave part time. We took a tour of the school and met the staff who were all awesome and very welcoming. I will be starting a peer mediation group, helping organize the student council, and working other smaller but important jobs like the morning and lunch programs. Dave is going to help start a school newspaper, perfect for him as he ran his own newspaper in PA for two years. We will both be helping kids start blogs and learning to use the Internet more effectively. I'm super excited to get started and meet all the students.
Second stop was St. Frances Cabrini Clinic, where Nate will be working. Absolutely a perfect match, Nate is considering going to med school once he finishes his year of service. He will be doing administrative type work, as well as shadowing doctors, and he will be playing a large role in advocacy and education. I'm really excited for him, Sr. Mary Ellen who is the executive director at the clinic is an incredible woman who has great ideas for him. In fact, she will be part of an online panel tomorrow night with President Obama on health care.
Sr. Mary Ellen took us to lunch at an amazing deli with massive, fancy sandwiches. It was delicious, but I don't think we'll be going there often with our stipend...unless we save up :-)
Next we visited Mercy Education Project, where Katie will be serving. She is going to be helping tutor girls from grades 1-8 and also helping with their program of classes for older women to get their GED's. Everyone there was very nice and offered help if we needed it, they told us where to get groceries which is something we're going to need to do soon.
Finally we went to the Matrix Theatre, where Dave will be working the other part time shifts. He's going to be helping with marketing and development as well as with the shows. Everyone there was very laid back and welcoming, I think Dave will love his time there.
I can't tell you how many times we heard "if you ever need anything, let us know" or "whenever you want to stop by and visit we'd love to have you" from various staff members at our sites. This experience is already giving me such a better appreciation and knowledge for the city of Detroit. Living in the 'burbs my whole life has sheltered me from what goes on, and many of the things I've heard or "known" were negative. In reality, this is a city of positive change. We have crazy horrible things going on with our politics but the number of people and organizations working to solve the problems we have is amazing to me. I think one of the coolest aspects to myself and Dave working at Cristo Rey is that it's only in it's second year, so we are going to be part of the major movement for the school. I'm so ready to dive in!