Earlier this month, students in the Youth Leadership Program (YLP) took a four-day Service and Social Justice Trip to Flint and Detroit Michigan to discover the historical, racial, and economic barriers residents face as a result of the downfall of General Motors factories in Michigan.
The students participated in two service-learning opportunities with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity in Flint, Michigan, and Arts and Scraps in Detroit, Michigan. At Habitat for Humanity, YLPers assisted in park repair in an almost deserted part of Flint, which included picking up debris and foliage. At Arts and Scraps students designed and repurposed used recycled materials that would later be used for low-income school districts and communities. Additionally, as part of the service curriculum for YLP, the youth created a service-learning project. The YLPers collected over 50 cases of water and donated it to Hydrate Detroit, a nonprofit that provides immediate emergency water deliveries and water restoration to families in the City of Detroit experiencing water shutoffs.
For the social justice and exploration part of the trip, the youth visited the Henry Ford Museum which focuses on Henry Ford and his impact on America, culture, inventions, and people. At the museum the students were able to experience sitting on the actual bus Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in 1955. The students also visited the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History where students learned about the rich cultural legacy of African Americans and their contributions. This museum was well-liked among the students with realistic exhibits and simulations.
This is the first service trip since 2018 when students went to Houston to help build houses after Hurricane Harvey. The goal of the trip is to expose youth to other places outside of Illinois and provide our leadership and volunteer skills to those in need outside of their community.