Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gratefully Empowered and Hopeful

         It is extremely hard for me to communicate how much I have gained from the experience of serving the city of Detroit to those who have not witnessed first hand the hope it has. Through this entry, I hope I will be able to help give others a better understanding of all that I have obtained  as well as shedding the light on the improving city. My goal for this experience was to see, first hand, what the media disclaims to be true that Detroit is on the uphill march of improving itself. I definitely achieved it and cannot wait to express it with everyone!

"I didn't come to Detroit to witness the end of an era. I just wanted to find out if there was a future and what would it look like. My conclusion is that it's about people; it’s about empowered."

Corine Vermeulen


After a week of being strapped in an emotional rollercoaster, we spent our last day in Detroit exploring the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) before heading to the airport. It was in this museum I found the best way to express how and why I am empowered and positively changed by this experience. 

Photographer, Corine Vermeulen, captured in both words and pictures the changes in Detroit displayed in the Detroit Walk-in Portrait Studio of the DIA. The quote above was on the wall once you enter the doors and before you continue on to view the people of Detroit. I found this quote very impactful and meaningful to not only my journey, but I am sure my fellow ASBers. Trip leader, Amy Jones, mentioned earlier in the week Detroit is our neighbor and we are some of the many volunteers serving the community of our neighbors to improve itself. Before our trip, many people did not understand why we were going to Detroit claiming it is just falling apart and is unsafe. This trip is about service and while we were serving we witnessed the community bettering itself. The proof of the city preparing for its future began once we headed to our temporary home. As we were driving, we were rerouted, lines were merging due to construction, but as LaDonna pointed out we should not be upset by these measly orange construction cones because it is proof Detroit is making changes of improvement.

Our first full day in Detroit was our culture day. We began our day of exploration at the Henry Ford Museum where my impactful journey began. In the museum, was the actual Rosa Parks bus. Explaining this important piece of history was tour guide Ryan.  During this brief explanation of history, Ryan emphasized the importance of people in order to make a change in our world. According to him, which I agree with, if it were not for the average Joes of the world supporting and working with the famous people of movements, the iconic people would not be famous. I connected his thoughts back to our work in Detroit. We are the average Joes who are participating in the larger movement of improving Detroit, helping our neighbors.

Throughout the week, we met some very impactful people who made the experience of Detroit even more influential. These people who are full of gratitude, appreciation and ambition confirmed why we worked in Detroit, there is so much hope left in this city. Vermeulen summed up what I learned from all the experiences and the people I have encountered regarding the importance of people serving others for the betterment of the community in her quote about Detroit.  I am so happy, proud, and beyond GRATEFUL to say we, as a group, experienced this hope of the future the city is creating for itself!


Thank you Detroit for empowering me to challenge and further discover myself through service! You will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Victoria Gibbs
Class of 2018



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