Hannah Morris is a 2020-2021 Challenge Detroit Fellow. Hannah grew up in Southfield, Michigan and has a background in Socio-Cultural Narratives: Art, History and Education from New York University. She has a “passion for youth and arts-centered community development work and initiatives.”

Hannah & “D” Girl Mural by Sydney James

Tell us about the challenge project you’re currently working on; what are you learning from the experience?
We’ve just finished our third project which was with Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation. My team had the opportunity to focus on how GRDC could enhance their neighborhood identity surrounding the Grand River Commercial Corridor. From this project, I learned just how influential the seemingly lost tradition of knowing and connecting with your neighbors can be to cultivating a thriving community.

How do you hope to impact the community as a Fellow?
I hope to impact my community through arts and cultural programming that is centered in holistic wellness. I aim to empower youth and adults to continue to nurture their creative nudges, as I believe creativity directly reflects one’s ability to live and express themselves authentically.

Since becoming a Fellow, what is something new that you have learned?
I have learned how to incorporate the design thinking process in nearly everything I do. Even in a simplified format, the intentionality behind centering one’s work in something beyond one’s self ensures greater impact. I also have my peers to thank for this, as the relationships I’ve been able to develop early have played a tremendous role in keeping me open-minded and remembering how pivotal community is in the work that I aim to do. As the proverb goes, “If you want to go quick, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.”

How do you believe your fellowship will shape your career moving forward?
I believe the fellowship has helped me better navigate my career ambitions as an entrepreneur. Learning to become a stronger leader and working professional in this climate has only increased my desire to serve others with courage and compassion. Challenge Detroit has an excellent network that understands the organizational ethos and it is refreshing to be connecting with like-minded individuals.

If someone is reading this and considering applying to be a Fellow, why would you encourage them to apply?
If you’re someone who is passionate about helping others, but not sure how to find (or create) the lane that best fits you, join Challenge Detroit. Not only will this program expose you to so many wonderful things and people working hard to positively transform the city, but you will gain tremendous knowledge in how to develop your personal/professional mindset, skills, and objectives for any field you hope to enter.