There were many things I enjoyed about our first challenge over the last 5 weeks. It was great meeting business owners all over the city, great doing work inside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, and great finally getting to work together in groups of fellows and get to know each other even more. But I appreciated nothing more about the project than the context it gave to what we’re doing in the city and why.

Context is important. Context can make or break the success of an action. It is important to immerse yourself into a context before making a decision, proposing an idea, or trying to make an impact. It was important for us as a fellowship to receive context at the beginning of our year together. I believe that that will be able to make a stronger impact because of that because we now better understand the city as a whole.

It would have been one thing to jump into a challenge in one area of the city and help whichever community partner we would be working with but it was a whole other thing to do our first challenge where we worked all over the city. Each one of our groups covered one district but I feel like I know the city so much more than I did before this challenge. The greatest thing about this is that I’m from the Detroit area originally and I gleaned many things from this experience. Ephraim, who was in my District 4 group grew up in the city, in the very district that we were researching, and he even said many times how much more context he got from this project. If this project did that for him, then I can’t even imagine what it did for those of us who are from out of state.

As a result, I think we all now have a stronger sense of what is available to us in the city and how we can use that throughout this year to make a lasting impact, play, give, lead, and have fun.