Tell us about one of your favorite neighborhoods in Detroit and what makes it unique?

My favorite neighborhood in Detroit is Brush Park. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to own one of the old historic homes in Brush Park. Unfortunately, the developments and gentrification taking place in the neighborhood has sent home values well beyond my price range. However, I still love showing it off to visitors – maybe one day I’ll make enough to live there!

Tell us about the challenge project you’re working on now and what you’re learning from the experience.

We just wrapped up our project with Detroit Homecoming. I was the team lead on the Community Engagement Team, which was responsible for delivering a marketing strategy, community leader contact list, event follow-up, and a general community engagement plan for a new,half-day portion of Detroit Homecoming aimed at engaging Detroit residents, businesses, and community organizations with Detroit expat resources. I’m a huge advocate of inclusive community and resident engagement in what’s happening around town, so it was particularly rewarding to be able to work with Detroit Homecoming to become more inclusive. Our Detroit Homecoming Liaison, Keenan, was particularly devoted and passionate of these same ideals, which made the experience great.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

I work for Detroit Parent Network, which is a small parent advocacy nonprofit located in New Center Detroit. We are a network of parents working to build and engage parents and others to ensure every child has a champion. At Detroit Parent Network, I am the Manager of Community Relations and Communications, which means I am responsible for the day-to-day communications (social media, email, physical mail), organizational image (branding, where we are at in the community), and membership. Despite not being a parent myself, I have a huge interest in advocacy for parents, children, and families, especially in terms of public policy and program management. I started working for Detroit Parent Network a few months before Challenge Detroit began, which allowed me to familiarize myself with the organization and the work before starting Challenge Fridays.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

At Detroit Parent Network, we aim to support parents to become champions for their children. It’s a huge responsibility, and has a huge generational impact—if just one parent reads to their children, their children are more likely to read to their own children, and so on. In addition, it empowers parents with the tools they need to be a great parent. We deliver trainings, host workshops, and have amazing parent groups for parents with similar experiences. To find out more, visit!

You are halfway through your Fellowship year, what experience has been most rewarding and what experience has been most challenging.

The most rewarding experience has been getting exposure to so many great people and organizations. Building relationships through Challenge Detroit has led me to cool experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise had. One of the most challenging experiences has been learning how to balance a full-time job, Challenge Detroit, and my Master of Community Development classes at the University of Detroit Mercy. I’m learning a lot about prioritizing, balancing responsibilities, and organization.

How do you believe your fellowship will shape your career moving forward?

Shortly after the fellowship ends, I will graduate with my Master’s in Community
Development. The two experiences together will hopefully propel me into a career in physical and economic development centered around community engagement, equity, and social justice in Detroit.

To learn a bit more about Eric’s experience as a Challenge Detroit Fellow check out his spotlight video!