I had just graduated with my master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor when Challenge Detroit opened its arms to me. I was just a young man from California who was new to Michigan and the Midwest. I am extremely grateful to Challenge Detroit and the community I was able to build here, as it was a challenging but rewarding year. During the first quarter of the fellowship, I felt as if I did not have the skills nor cultural knowledge to be a part of this program. It took me some time to remove myself from my shell, once I did I was able to grow! I was able to put myself in uncomfortable situations like leading a team to push our project forward to doing tasks I had never done before. I was also able to make an impact through my host company Michigan Hispanic Collaborative, and help our nonprofits partners move their mission forward. Throughout the program, I was able to meet amazing community-driven fellows and stakeholders that assured me that my work and ideas mattered. I know life after Challenge Detroit will be exciting as I am ready to implement the skills that I learned as well as the design thinking process with my host company and my nonprofit. Ultimately, if you took the time to read this thank you and remember to be the change you want to see in this world!

Hasta luego,
Francisco “Panchito” Ramirez Rueda