Asiyah Williamson, a 2020-2021 Fellow, is a native Detroiter. She is currently rehabbing her second home in Detroit—each home she renovates she chooses to rent to a low-income family in need.

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

Asiyah is the Apprentice to the CEO of the Downtown Boxing Gym

I work at the Downtown Boxing Gym on Detroit’s east side. The Downtown Boxing Gym is a youth program which offers academic, athletic and socio-emotional enrichment programming at no cost to our families. Our motto is “we train kids for life,” and I can tell you firsthand that this program facilitates tremendous interpersonal growth. I attended the program myself in my youth and have been given the opportunity to apprentice under our Founder and CEO, Khali Sweeney. It is truly an honor to be able to serve our youth alongside my childhood hero.

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on; what are you learning from the experience?

We are currently teaming up with a nonprofit organization called Npower. This has been especially gratifying for me, as this nonprofit is working to lower the digital divide in underserved communities. During this pandemic, the digital divide has been especially highlighted and it is very important that our community stands together to evoke change. I’m grateful to play a part in the important work that they are doing. 

How do you hope to impact the community as a Fellow?

Asiyah pictured running through boxing drills with Coach Khali at a summer event.

I hope to impact the community during my fellowship by displaying authentic empathy. I want to deeply assess any task assigned and fully devote myself to finding a solution. I hope to take the knowledge learned during my fellowship to all of my future community endeavors. 

Since becoming a Fellow, what is something new that you have learned?

Since becoming a fellow, I have learned a new perspective in thought with the design thinking process. This solution based methodology has been of great use within the fellowship program as well as at my host company for truly exploring all of my options when faced with adversity. 

What are you most looking forward to as a Fellow this year?

This year I am most looking forward to continuing to develop relationships with the people making a difference in our community.

If someone is reading this and considering applying to be a Fellow, why would you encourage them to apply?

If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn, connect and help members of your community, then I highly recommend applying to be a fellow. In the short time I’ve been in this fellowship I have developed completely new perspectives on my city and the ways we can help it flourish.