And so we end.

The end of my year with Challenge Detroit is punctuated by an Impact Project of passion. I felt really lucky for COTS Detroit and HAVEN to accept my desire to delve into the their everyday work with my six week project.

Subject? Domestic Violence.

Immediately I was overrun with an abundance of literary work, but was overwhelmed by my attempt to dig into the DV resources in Detroit. I found very early on that this network is difficult to tap into as a spectator. The underground accessibility for services operates in a way which offers more security to clients, but suppresses the possibility of the work becoming a citywide discussion which explains the threat and openly addresses ways out. By the end of my experience, I was both filled with empathy for the service providers, but also disappointed the city has been unable to take on this (and many other) social concerns.

By the end of it, I found myself living within my own domestic disturbance. With so much knowledge, but so much fear in what lies ahead, I felt stuck.

This is the true value in community organizations propping us up. The cultural competence and social knowhow transforms workers into beacons leading us into promise. There is so much we can do to strengthen them, but we lack much understanding for the day to day operations of these organizations and their employees and volunteers until we need them. Ultimately, my hope is that Detroit continues to forge its own path and becomes a city who props up its community driven organizations as the city’s champion. Obviously economy is important to the growth of the city, but organizations like COTS, The Ruth Ellis Center, Focus: Hope, and many others are the backbone to the people.

They provide when we cannot and there is no greater impact I would have wanted to better understand from my time in Challenge Detroit.