A trip to the Brightmoor Makerspace. Photo by Rachel Pisano

Dear Brightmoor,

We haven’t met in person yet but my last challenge with Challenge Detroit ensured that I will never forget you. Despite our distance and the obstacles between us, my team had the pleasure of hearing from your residents, community members, and people making a difference. What I heard in those interviews inspired me to see the world differently, which is exactly what Bart Eddy challenges the students he works with to do.

Typical school programming might leave kids behind if they fall silent from the trauma they experience. It also might overlook kids without physical prowess when it comes to after-school activities. In the Brightmoor Makerspace those attributes don’t matter – anyone can participate and get the chance to commit to a craft. It is a space that has taught physical skills as well as leadership skills. Students have built furniture, made signs, cleaned up lots, painted murals, and become entrepreneurs. A lot of the students we heard from described these projects as transformative – both externally in the community and internally for themselves.

Brightmoor, there was once a time when I took a space like that for granted. I was in my empathy interviews for this project with Brightmoor Makers listening and remembering how I felt when I started to learn how to use power tools – especially when I started to get better at it. Remembering the realization that I can create with my hands. I was ashamed I ever forgot, but now I never will. Not only does everyone deserve the chance to make that realization, but the opportunity to see how they can change the world around them. At Brightmoor Makers, these opportunities are real and accessible – and Bart Eddy is truly doing transformative work. Our project inspired me and transformed the way I view the world.

All I can really say now is thank you.


Zane Birenbaum