Detroit does not seem like an urban area to me at all, and the city fosters a sense of community. While I interviewed Matthew Piper, who engages himself in building a community in midtown Detroit, he would encourage me to participate in the free yoga course offered at seasons market, and other events, such as the sprinkler party, that takes place near us. I am surprised by Detroiters’ level of community engagement. I lived in New York City for four months prior to DukeEngage, and there was no sense of community.
While I interviewed Juan Carlos, one of the program graduates of ProsperUs, he spoke about Detroiters moving to cities not too far away from Detroit, and how such a population could possibly be reintegrated as part of the city. I could see the infrastructure built in the city and how the city is nothing like what I read in the news. Along with our cohort, I have explored the vibrant food scenes in Detroit through our weekly dining experiences. I also really appreciate the enrichment activities to help me better grapple with the idea of entrepreneurship through the soup pitching event and Comerica Hatch Detroit dinner, racial equity through our visit to the underground railroad and Charles H. Wright Museum, arts through our Detroit Institute of Arts visit, etc.
In terms of work, I thought my internship was fulfilling. Everyone is friendly, and our manager, Joanna, was flexible with all of our requests. I was sick for a couple days and she had checked in on me and encouraged me to rest as much as I could before I return to work, which is not the case for most of the places that I worked at. The work culture is impeccable, everyone wants to be there: while everyone I talked to at PropserUs has worked a better paying career, they chose to be there. While conversing with some of PropserUs’ program graduates, I also realized the immense privilege that I have and the amount of obstacles that entrepreneurs need to overcome to establish their business in the city.
Overall, it has been a wonderful experience! I just want to quickly express my gratitude towards Joanna, Katherine, Madeline, and Matt for organizing this program and making it a memorable experience.