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My Year with Challenge Detroit

A quick look at my year in the Challenge Detroit fellowship program.

Blog by Idrees Mutahr

Last September I started Challenge Detroit, a fellowship program where I met with a cohort of 30 fellows each Friday to participate in leadership development, cultural experiences, and collaborative work that supports non-profit organizations in the city. Over the last year, we’ve worked with organizations like the East Side Community Network, the Michigan Opera Theatre, Century Forward, and Mariners Inn on 6 week “Challenge Projects” that centered on the different needs of each organization. I also had the opportunity to work with a nonprofit of my choice for my end of year Impact Project, and I worked with Transportation Riders United to explore opportunities for corporate and institutional collaboration in transit advocacy. The fellowship feels like it went by really quickly, but in that year I learned so much more about Detroit, developed new professional relationships, and made a lot of really good friends. 

As this year’s cohort of fellows started at the beginning of September, it’s been fun watching them go through a lot of the same experiences through the Challenge Detroit instagram page. The orientation month was where we really got to know each other, spent time learning about the city together, and had our first experience with a challenge project to design an activity for Open Streets Detroit. I’ve met a handful of this year’s fellows, so I’m excited to hear updates on all the things they will be working on this year and getting to see some of their presentations at the end of each challenge. This week I’m going to be on a panel to share how fellows can make the most out of their year, and I really think its about meeting new people, committing yourself to serving and supporting the people of Detroit, and having fun along the way! 


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