For my Impact Project I partnered with Rocket Fiber and the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym to pilot a class for boxing gym students centered around internet technology fundamentals.  The mission of the class was a simple question: “How do we ignite a passion for technology amongst Detroit’s youth?”

In April, we brought on a fellow Fellow, Peter, to co-teach the class with me and over the course of 6 weeks in May and June, we worked with 10 students to demystify the inner workings of the internet and to empower them to feel comfortable working with different elements of internet technology.  At the conclusion of the class the students presented their learnings and ideas in a graduation ceremony in front of their parents, guardians, peers, and Rocket Fiber staff.

It was an absolute blast working with the kids at the boxing gym.  Downtown Youth Boxing Gym was a Challenge Partner earlier in the year and it was the partner whose work resonated with me the most.  After our challenge ended I reached out to see if I could volunteer teaching weightlifting to the kids there and did that most Thursday nights for about 4 months.  About a month in, Peter joined me and the two of us taught weightlifting fundamentals such as Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans, Overhead Presses, etc. to supplement the students’ boxing training. During those months, we built the connections with kids and staff that would eventually open up the conversation about Rocket Fiber piloting an education program there.

Challenge Detroit provided the initial sparks (through the challenge and my placement at Rock Ventures) that grew into a wonderful partnership.  It was especially fitting that the Impact Project presentations were held at the Downtown Boxing Gym and members of the public were able to see the actual space where the students learned and experimented.  Challenge Detroit can be a difficult, jam-packed year that makes you question why you elected to do all this work and extra activities for relatively little pay, but I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity that the program provided.

So as the year draws to an end, I’m not packing up and looking for other opportunities as has been the case after college, AmeriCorps, and grad school.  Instead, the work continues.