Over the last four weeks, working at MoGo has been enlightening and I have become well versed with the ins and outs of this Detroit Bikeshare. As a result, often when I cross MoGo stations I pause to see if any users need any help or attempt to better understand any problems they may be facing at the particular station.
During one such interaction last week, I came across Sabina, a 21 year old student at Wayne State University, working with The Children’s Group over the summer. As I helped her unlock her bike with her premium MoGo privileges (ha ha), we exchanged introductions and she began to dive into her work with The Children’s Group. Enticed by the passion, conviction and potential of impact in her voice, I instantly decided to turn this accidental interaction into an interview for my next duke engage blog post and Sabina was more than happy to take part (Interning at MoGo, really does come with perks!).
The Children’s Center, is a local Detroit-grown Ngo for children who they believe are the future of this ever innovating city and is home to many specialized clinical services. When it comes to helping kids who suffer with behavioral, emotional, educational, intellectual, or developmental challenges—or who may have endured trauma–they do their best to help provide mental and physical care that can help these vulnerable children overcome barriers which could become hurdles in their bright future.
Sabina was particularly working with the The Young Adult Self-Sufficiency (YASS) initiative of The Children’s Group. YASS, as Sabina explained, provides the assistance young adults ages 16 to 21 need to succeed after leaving foster care. Over the last 2 months, Sabina has helped YASS curate an 18-week course on job applications, interviews, relationships, finances, safety, and community activism, a stable and uplifting support system, worked as a mentor who helped teenagers develop independent living skills, transportation to appointments (through MoGo’s Access Pass!), organizational and vocational skills as well as financial literacy when it comes to using the monthly stipend they receive effectively.
Now don’t be fooled, Sabina didn’t want to become the head of The Children’s Group or the President of YASS, her aspirations were to work in the public policy sector of the United States. But she wanted to “start at the grassroots level with children, physically work in an environment where I can see my actions making tangible impacts, and understand the wants and needs of the children before going into the pen and paper space of policy”. And that was my takeaway from my interview with Sabina: go out in the world, see and understand the impact you want to induce, live in the environment that you want to change, before entering the 40-story, skyscraper office in Manhattan that attempts to bring these ideas to fruition.