A little over a year ago, I hit the “submit” button on my  Challenge Detroit application from my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. I had never been to Detroit.

I didn’t tell many people that I had applied. After all, it was just Phase 1: a pitch and resume. And a few weeks later, when I made it to Phase 2, it was an essay and a video. Following that, I campaigned for the Community Vote. And suddenly I was flying out to a city I had only dreamed about moving to for the interview round.

Throughout the process, people wondered why I wanted to move to Detroit. Here are a few of my reasons, which might resonate with you as a reason to apply:

  • You believe the story of Detroit is more than its headlines
    • Even to this day, Detroit sees a lot of negative press. Beneath the headlines are people and real experiences. Get to know these, and draw your own conclusions.
  • You want to be a part of something larger than yourself
    • Through the Challenge Detroit pillars of Give / Work /  Live / Play / Lead, fellows practice a balanced lifestyle which healthy to establish early in our professional lifestyle. The program is centered around providing support to our communities, which helps me maintain perspective.
  • You want to feel connected
    • I spent my first year out of college back in my hometown where I felt removed from personal and professional networks. As a fellow, you have 30 others experiencing similar challenges and successes, an engaged alumni network, and access to influencers in the Detroit area. Feeling supported by a community, especially in a new city, is a huge part of why I feel successful here.
  • You are open to transformational experiences
    • Everyone has the potential to be a socially-conscious leader, but it takes a conducive learning environment and personal introspection to make it a reality. Challenge Detroit gives you the tools to make it.
  • You have a sense of adventure
    • Detroit can be gritty, strange, and surprising, but to truly know it, you have to be willing to take a deep dive, which requires an adventurous spirit. Commit to the experience.

The Challenge Detroit fellowship has transformed my life. I’ve found that good things are happening by smart, compassionate, and committed individuals in Detroit. Come join the party.

(If you are reading this before March 6th, 2016, you can apply to be a year five fellow here.)