I was wrong.
Detroit is this living, breathing organism that completely shatters your way of seeing the world and redefines everything and everyone that becomes a part of it. You see people who came from the most unfortunate backgrounds who fought through anything to create companies not aimed at generating money, but rather helping the same communities they came from; artists who lack any sponsoring or formal training, but who dedicate their lives to making decorating the walls and streets of Detroit; homeless people who will do anything to make you smile through a hard day in the city. And, in the middle of one of the most genuine communities in the world, raw as it is, you can find this writer that speaks to you right now, someone who jumped into this living form thinking she could significantly change and improve anything in it.
Again, I was wrong.
To be honest, I still don't know the answer to that question. Even though I love my work at Build Institute, I found it hard, initially, to see its real impact, if any, in the broader Detroit reality. At every single moment of my day, including the weekends, I'm working on creating new courses for Build, investigating the realities of its students, attracting new entrepreneurs to become a part of the Institute through the events it promotes across Detroit, trying to somehow quantify and analyze the impact of this organization in the lives of so many Detroiters. I'm not directly changing the bigger picture, but rather building with care various tiny pieces that make some individual realities better. And these small changes, the way I see it, are what making the social entrepreneurship we do here so meaningful.
Differently than any other experience I had before, we are building a better future by embracing the reality as it is, from the inside, rather than coming up with some revolutionary solution to solve problems we have never really experienced. We are humbling ourselves through every step we take, challenging our vision of world on every time we go out in the streets and see firsthand the unbelievable innovation that dominates the lifestyle of this city, giving a voice to ordinary stories waiting to become extraordinary.
We thought we were changing the world by coming here. In reality, our world is changing because we are here.