“Being a Fellow opens opportunities in life that one can easily overlook. If you want to try out a new career path while networking with some of your soon-to-be closest friends, learning about the inspiring leaders that come from one of the greatest cities in Michigan, apply to be a Fellow. Your outlook on who your community is, where they come from, and the opportunities the world has will change for the better.” – Madeline Darbyshire

From tourist to listener

My favorite thing as a Detroit Challenge Fellow is receiving the opportunity to give my time to the people who build my Detroit community.

As a Fellow, I have been given the honor of traversing through Detroit, meeting unexpected allies, and talking to true locals, experiencing slowly what a day in the life is for each of the hundreds of neighborhoods in my city. As a Michigan local, I have been through each neighborhood, experiencing food and art on my own, at the tourist level. As a Fellow, I have been able to hear how Detroiters build each other up and understand the importance of the local shops, murals, parks, and community centers. These places are for locals to thrive, in a city that is often overlooked, where there are many gaps in resources and funding, creating a home for not just oneself, but for their neighbors to thrive in as well.

A leader is defined as someone with the ability to move people in a collective direction to execute a plan or goal. Through the stories I have partaken in, I have come to realize this definition of leadership lacks the first crucial step to becoming a leader: listening. A leader must listen to the people around them to understand what is needed in their community in order to uncover where problems/issues stem from and what solutions will actually grow the community with hopes to better the lives within it.

Giving my time to the leaders of Detroit has taught me the importance of listening and networking, and that a city cannot thrive if those that live in it cannot reach out to each other. Sharing a story can start a conversation, and once you’ve started talking, one can start doing, and it doesn’t have to take much time to lift someone up today.

In front of Michigan’s Eben Ice Caves.

ABOUT: My name is Madeline Darbyshire and my hometown is Pontiac, Michigan. I am a Creative Coordinator at my host company, WaitTime. I went to Wayne State University for a BS in Computer Science and a BA in Global Studies as I truly love coding just as much as I love talking. My favorite thing to do in my free time, though, is hiking throughout all the seasons in Michigan.