September 22, 2020
My name is Jackie Garrett, and I’ve been working as the College Access and Success Fellow for Detroit Drives Degrees (D3) since September 2019. I am thrilled to join 2020-2021 Challenge Detroit as a Community Leader Fellow through D3! At Detroit Drives Degrees, our work is centered around improving education outcomes in our region, with a special focus on those who need it most. When my supervisor came to me to suggest that I apply on the Community Leader Fellow track, I was eager for the opportunity to join some of Metro-Detroit’s best and brightest folks as we build community and work on a social impact challenge. Working in tandem with local non-profits to design and implement problem-solving strategies is exactly the kind of work that will strengthen my own program management skills and test our ability to innovate in this virtual setting. I know that the work we do as a group over the year will be meaningful and have a lasting effect in the city of Detroit.
We need people on board from all sectors to solve Detroit’s most pressing challenges, which is why Challenge Detroit’s mission connects with me personally and professionally. Detroit has always been and will always be my home. So many people and places here have poured into me over the years—pushing me to rise above my circumstances, while also reminding me to actively till the soil for those who come after me. I know that Detroit cannot afford to lose its best and brightest problem-solvers and change-makers when so much work needs to be done here. Detroit’s place in history is a marvel, and the amazing, diverse communities that make life here so vibrant are a gift of their own. As a lifelong resident of Southwest Detroit, I have connected with so many people here which has invested in the work of allyship and using my own advantages to cause more just equitable outcomes. I look forward to sharing my passion for the city and its people with my cohort and also meeting other young professionals who are connected to the city in varying capacities.
From Challenge Detroit I hope to receive an even more expanded view of the boots on the ground change-making work that is being championed here in my city, as well as connecting with others in my cohort. I know that alongside this cohort, I will expand my understanding of design-thinking and what commitment to equity looks like in action. I am most excited to contribute my time and care to the social impact project and also helping others dig firmer roots in the city by sharing all things community, art, culture. I accept the challenge!