Community · Leadership Development

LAS in the D Reflection

On February 10, 2017,  74 LI members and I took off towards the beautiful city of Detroit. Yes, this trip was a requirement for my scholarship, and yes it looks good on a resume, however, I know for a fact that 75 students WANTED to go on this trip, and that 75 students lives were changed.

For my Leadership Advancement Scholarship, we are required to participate in the LAS in the D service trip. Every year the freshman cohort travel to Detroit to participate in service projects, such as working with students from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and helping out CASS social services. This trip is planned by an entire LEAD team, put on by students. This trip was so amazing because of this special set of upper-classmen students and I cannot thank them enough for their hard work and dedication to this trip.

On Friday, February 10th at 10:30 the bus took off to Detroit. One of my favorite parts about service trips are the bus rides. Laughing and making memories with my cohort is a huge part of what this scholarship is about. When we arrived at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we were all feeling the same emotions: excited, however, nervous. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is a charter school aimed towards leadership. They use leadership in much of their studies and are also emersed in the culture of college. It is located on the Northwest side of Detroit and reaches 400 9th-12th grade students. Our job at this school was to get in groups with the students and participate in initiatives. Initiatives are small activities aimed at broadening your mind. They usually have a metaphor to relate alongside them. Their purpose is to teach a lesson in a fun way.

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Partaking in Initiatives alongside the Jalen Rose students was such an amazing experience. These kids know more about leadership than I do as a college freshmen. They have been immersed in so many leadership theories that I am just now being introduced to. They are some pretty incredible kids. Each and every one of them were excited to be there, and they had the desire to learn.

After working with the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy we drove towards downtown Detroit to have dinner at Quicken Loans. Driving downtown Detroit was absolutely mesmerizing. I had only traveled there as a kid, and I never really appreciated how beautiful this city actually was. When we arrived at Quicken Loans we were taken to a modern conference room where they served us Chicago Styled pizza and other goodies. We were lucky enough to have a CMU alumni, who was a recruiter at Quicken Loans, give us a presentation on the internships they offer there. Fortunately, the Vice President of Quicken was eating with us, and he took over the presentation. He demonstrated WHY he worked for Quicken, not what they do there. This was intriguing to most of us college students. He was so very passionate about what he and his company were doing for Detroit. They are not just a mortgage company, they are rebuilding Detroit. I thought that this stop on the trip was so amazing. The people that work for Quicken Loans have a reason for what they are doing, they come to work every day with a passion and drive to make a difference. The Vice President of Quicken Loans, John Fikany  actually left his job at Microsoft to work for Quicken Loans because he believed they had a better WHY for why they went to work every day, “Everything they (the Quicken Loans leadership team) stand for aligns very well with what I want to be a part of, how they take care of their people and the company culture over there, They have a sense of humility but also a confidence and grit that’s almost startup-like”- John Fikany.

After the amazing presentation put on by Quicken Loans, they took us on tours around their facilities. Their buildings and offices were above and beyond amazing. It looked like a play place for adults. Their culture at Quicken Loans is centered around family, fun and hard work. You can tell by just walking around their buildings that this company cares for its employees.

After our time at Quicken Loans, we traveled to the Detroit Institute of Arts to bond with our cohort and appreciate the art together. I bonded with everyone so much trying to figure out our way around the museum, and taking pictures with each other. It was such a great experience appreciating the art and recognizing how beautiful Detroit is.

After a long day of service and touring Detroit it was time to head to the Outdoor Adventure Center where we planned on sleeping. The Outdoor Adventure Center was created to provide the city of Detroit with the up north feel. It was created to open the minds of city folk to how amazing the outdoors actually are. Sleeping at the outdoor center was such an amazing experience. Not only did we get to tour the facility, and play on the structures we also got to listen to Linda Walter give an amazing speech about how the only way Detroit is going to keep improving is for people like us to have a dream and to bring businesses to the city.  It was very inspiring to witness her passion for what she does at the Adventure center. This trip was one to remember because I got to witness people in leadership explain their why statements. All of them had a dream or a reason WHY they were doing what they do. It only inspires me more to create and act on my WHY statement.img_2090

The next morning, as we all rolled out of bed, we all complained how tired we were. I complained, of course, however, after washing my face and putting my hair up I reflected back on WHY we were in Detroit. We were there to make a difference, my WHY for the weekend was to “be the change”. So I instantly decided to change my attitude and look forward to the busy day ahead of us.

On the last day, we were volunteering at CASS Social Services. They do a multitude of difference things to help the community. Saturday was the day I had my revelation of WHY we were there. As we drove to the other side of the city where things were not as nice as the GM building or Quicken Loans, I realized that I was making a difference. img_2043We drove through streets with buildings crumbling, trash all over and abandoned vehicles. It was an eye opener to see how differently people on this side of the city lived. It made me want to volunteer even more than ever before.

At CASS Social Services there were three groups, the paper shredders, the kitchen staff and the floor mat makers. I was lucky enough to be a part of the floor mat makers. It was really interesting to me because they used recycled tires that littered Detroit to create intricate mats of all different colors. They employed people with disabilities to allow a better future. I thought that was really inspiring because not only were they cleaning up img_2089Detroit from littered tires, they were also providing jobs for those who could not work a real one.

During my time making the mats I was able to talk with a man that worked there. It was really neat to hear his story. He told me his WHY was “to see kids like us working for common good”. I thought him expressing how thankful and inspired he was to see us volunteer was, even more, motivation for me. I want to inspire others to do good in the world. I want to “Inspire others to see themselves as the change in the world”.

Overall this trip was more than just a typical “service” trip. I learned more about myself, my why statement and Detroit than ever before. I have come to realize that you cannot change the world overnight, however, if people have a WHY statement or a DREAM things will be accomplished. I have 100% faith that Detroit will rise up again in my lifetime and I owe it all to the people who love Detroit as much as the people I met on this trip.

Now that I have been on this trip and I have been able to reflect more and more, I have decided that now I am going to be more aware of other people and the lives that they live. Going to Detroit opened my eyes. Everyone in the world does not live the life that I do every day. It is now more important to me to help other people, even if it is a small deed, everything counts. Life is too short to be selfish. Now I am more aware and I have a drive to help. I am going to bring up Detroit to my Rotaract club to see if there are any service projects we could do to help. I am hoping that we can do something with the money we have raised to help the city of Detroit. My goal is to raise awareness and allow people to see WHY people are so passionate about helping Detroit.

Leadership Development

Pre-Service Trip


Leadership Development

My Current Leadership Reflection

Over and over again it is said that everyone is a leader. Everyone has a leadership quality inside of them, it’s up to you to find out how to use your leadership qualities for the better.

If you would’ve asked me a year ago, “What is your leadership style” I would’ve looked at you like you were crazy. However, today I have a better grasp on who I am as a person and even better as a leader. A year ago today I was just a simple high school student in leadership positions such as the softball and volleyball captain, student council and class council president, vice president of National Honors Society and yearbook editor. Today, I am in much less, yet, I know how to lead people differently.

In February of 2016, I attended a woman in leadership conference where I took the quiz to see which leader I was. I was a direct leader, which means I like to be vocal and in charge of things. In the fall semester of my freshman year I attended Spark Leadership, a leadership seminar ran by the Leadership Institute, and I found out that I was a spiritual leader which meant I like to influence others by my energy and voice. I have changed so much in such a short amount of time. I grew into a different leader because I wanted to be different from the girl in high school. I didn’t want to be the person that oversees everything. I want to be the girl that is in charge of a couple of things, however, puts forth 100 percent effort in those few clubs or volunteer opportunities.

I do not want to say wasn’t passionate about what I did in high school, however, I just feel so much different when I am involved here at college in things that actually matter to me. Yes, I loved everything I did and high school and I appreciate everyone who got me to the place that I was, yet, I just get such a better feeling when leading the things, I do today.

This first semester at college as opened my eyes to so many things. I have become passionate about things I never would have imagined myself even thinking about. I want to be a voice for every person that has felt anxious or depressed, I want to help families overcome their problems with their children, spouses, and family, I want to raise money for polio and other diseases rotary have pushed to eliminate. I want to make a difference. I have realized that my voice matters. I matter and people around me matter. My leadership skills have formed from experience, failures, and successes. I cannot wait to see where my leadership abilities are in four years when I have much more experience, failures and of course success.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” Philippians 2:3

Leadership Education

Choosing Civility

For LDR 100L we had to read a leadership novel and create a twenty-minute presentation on our book. We were separated into groups of around eight. My no51-iw6b8s-l-_sy344_bo1204203200_vel was Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni. It was a novel that illustrated what it was like to be a civil person. There were 25 different topics and different ways of being civil.

This novel was very interesting because a lot of the topics they were saying were “civil” were things that I would not think twice about doing. The 25 topics were:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Acknowledge Others
  3. Think the Best
  4. Listen
  5. Be Inclusive
  6. Speak Kindly
  7. Don’t Speak ill
  8. Accept and Give Praise
  9. Respect even a subtle “No”
  10. Respect others’ opinions
  11. Mind your Body
  12. Be Agreeable
  13. Keep it Down (and Rediscover Silence)
  14. Respect Other People’s Time
  15. Respect Other People’s Space
  16. Apologize Earnestly
  17. Assert Yourself
  18. Avoid Personal Questions
  19. Care for your Guests
  20. Be a considerate Guest
  21. Think Twice Before Asking for Favors
  22. Refrain from Idle Complaints
  23. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism
  24. Respect the Environment and Be Gentle to Animals
  25. Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame

Now that I have both read Choosing Civility and did a presentation on it, I have a better understanding of what characteristics a leader must possess in order to be a good citizen. I will take these 25 rules of civility and I will teach other people around me by my actions and words.

For our presentation we put together a slides show and made an “interesting” video to represent what it is like to be civil.

choosing-civility

Leadership Development

Leadership Advancement Scholarship

LAS has changed my life for the better. I still remember the phone call saying I received the scholarship like it was yesterday. The people and connections I have made through this scholarship in just 3 months has already affected my life in so many ways.

The Leadership Advancement Scholarship  is a scholarship offered through Central Michigan University. It is made up of 49 students that all live in the same residence hall and are awarded $2,000 annually. The money honestly has nothing to do with how amazing this program is. The staff at the LI have given me a shoulder to cry on, scheduling help and I even babysat on of their baby’s. It isn’t just a scholarship program, it is a family. cropped-cropped-img_0847.jpg

The protocol for LAS the first year is as follows:

  • We must receive 30+ hours of community service annually
  • Involvement in a registered student organization
  • We must be a part of a LAS LEAD team
  • Attendance at 3 leadership lectures each semester
  • One seminar or workshop pertaining to leadership

We also are required to take some classes with our cohort. Those include for the first year:

  • COM 267L – Intro to Debate
  • PSY 100L – Intro to Psychology
  • LDR 100 – Leadership Colloquium
  • HST 110L – The American Experience
  • LDR  101 – Leadership Colloquium

The people in LAS are beyond amazing. They have helped me so much adjust to the college life. I have already made so many life long friends in such a short amount of time. Receiving this scholarship has been the best thing to happen to me since getting into CMU. I cannot wait to see what my future has in store for me. FIRE UP CHIPS!!!

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“You are not the leaders of tomorrow, you are the leaders of today!”

-Dan Gaken

Leadership Training

Spark Leadership

I walimg_0412k into a big banquet hall. It’s full of chairs and tables and people. People are conversing, people in charge are directing and I stood there watching with a close eye, scanning the entire room, waiting to find my place. It may have seemed to me at that moment that it was just a room full of people. In some ordinary ballroom. Yet, this wasn’t some old ordinary ballroom. It was my home; it was my future.

We had been in the same ballroom for competition day. Competition day was the day I competed for the LAS scholarship. That is the day I got to prove that my leadership in high school actually meant something. The Leadership Advancement Scholarship is the reason I was currently in this ballroom again. One of the requirements was to attend a Women in Leadership Conference.

At the conference, we met new people, made connections and learned our leadership style. The funniest thing was my leadership style had changed in such a short amount of time. In February of 2016, I attended a Women in Leadership conference in Lansing. At that conference, I took the usual leadership test and received a lion. A lion was the dominant leader; it compared to the direct leadership type at spark leadership. The weird thing was during the Spark Leadership experience I was a spirited type. Pretty much the complete opposite of what I was in February. At the Women in Leadership conference, they told us to work on managing our leadership types and try and be more versatile. So it was very exciting to see that after taking the leadership quiz at Spark I had actually managed it moimg_0914re than I thought! I was now a spirited leader.

After eating lunch, we broke out into different groups where we performed different team bonding activities. One we had to direct our partner blindfolded through a “cave” and we couldn’t step on the mouse traps. Another activity we had to lead our partner blindfolded to pick up different objects around the room. We
learned teamwork and how to not get frustrated with one another.

At the end of the day, we reflected on what we learned. I enjoyed these sessions because the people who signed up actually wanted to be there. Everyone put forth a great effort and allowed me to learn so much!

Now that I have been able to experience Spark I am going to encourage others to attend. I learned so much about myself in such a short day. I learned that I have progressed as a leader in such a short amount of time, however, I also learned that I have room to grow. I am going to take the information I learned about myself and use it to become a better leader. Now I will be conscious of my decision making according to my type of leadership. Now I am going to use my leadership skills I learned during Spark to help others.

Leadership Development

Venturing Into the Jungle of CMU

Moving In, Day One…

As I pulled out of my childhood driveway, I wiped away the single tear rolling down my cheek. I was off to college. Man, it seems like just yesterday I was running around in my footie pajamas watching movies where kids went off to college and dreaming of the day when it would be my turn. I always pictured myself packing up my things and moving on to the next chapter of my life, however, when the day finally came it did not seem real. It couldn’t be real. I was about to move in with three complete strangers and start taking classes not even close to the high school level. This was it, I was growing up.

One thing did ease my mind though as I drove down the single highway to get to my dream school… Leadership Safari.

Walking into my now home I felt one thing, love. My roommates accepted me with loving arms and I knew we were going to have a great year. My roomies have been my backbone the last couple of weeks as I have settled in. They have made the beginning of my freshman year on I will never forget.
img_0209The first night of safari we  attended a resident hall “welcome” party where we were introduced to our Resident Assistants and our Resident Director. Next, we attended an imaginist which is . Leadership Safari is an amazing opportunity because without it I would have never seen the speakers, comedians and all around talented people that performed for us! After the imagist, we were assigned our groups. I was, of course, team frog! We met at ten o’clock at night, I was exhausted and ready for bed yet, I was so excited for the next few days ahead of me.

Day 2…

This day was probably my favorite day of Leadership Safari because I got to learn campus and meet so many people! First, we started the day off with our “excursions”. I chose to do the Ultimate Campus Challenge, which was pretty much just an easy version of a scavenger hunt. Our guide read us clues and the took us to the different buildings all over campus. It honestly really helped me get accustomed to where things were, it really did help me not feel stressed about finding my classes. Later in the day a speaker named David Coleman  gathered all 2,000 of us into Finch and did various activities with us. I learned so much in such a short time of him speaking!

img_0213Day 3…

This day was a very interesting day. Team frog ventured into the Student Activities Center to participate in numerous team bonding activities. There were mimg_0215any obstacles that we as a team had to work through. I learned how to be a leader and how not to give up. My group didn’t always work the best together, however, we learned how to overcome our differences and work together in the end.

After a long day of competing and bonding, we met back at the Large Sports Forum at the SAC to watch a poetry slam. This wasn’t just any old, boring poetry slam. This was an amazing opportunity to watch two crazy talented professionals perform their poems. The Asia Project and Ebony both put on an outstanding performance, there were laughs and tears but most importantly there were goose bumps. Everyone in the crowd could feel the emotion in the room, it was very humbling.

Day Four…

Day four was a very interesting day. After watching another speaker after breakfast it was time for lunch. This lunch was different, though, this lunch will be one I will always remember. Getting in line for lunch I noticed a trend, everyone was grabbing the lunch bag that corresponded with the color on our name tag. I had a pink name tag so naturally, I grabbed the pink lunch bag and went to sit down. As I walked back to the group I noticed how light y lunch bag actually was. When I looked inside all that was in it was a package of cheese crackers, BLAH I HATED cheese crackers. I assumed it was a mistake, however, I compared my lunch with a girl in my group that had the same color and all she had was cheese crackers too. Once my group and I got back together we all realized that our portion size was very different. Some people had enough food to feed three people some had a normal size lunch and then the ones like me only had crackers. The point of this project was to raise awareness that kids, even in the Mount Pleasant area, were going to bed every night having only eaten a light dinner or nothing at all. Some kids in my group spread their wealth, while others kept it to themselves. This activity really made me realize how selfish people really can be and I inspired me to want to get involved with this issue.

After the lunchimg_0211 experience, my group and I went and made snack bags for kids in Mount Pleasant that needed food. It really was an amazing and inspiring experience. Once done with that activity my group and I met back up to have “dinner with a professor”. This was
an opportunity for us students to meet and talk with a professor. Doctor Lucas was our professor. She was so sweet and so kind it made me even more excited for classes to start!

Final Day…

The thing that stuck out to me the most on this day was the final dinner they served us. It must have taken so much effort and time to set up the amazing, fancy dinner they provided us that night! There were white table clothes and the food was served family style. It was the perfect way to end the week with my group! After the dinner, we had another speaker and then we met up one more time to reflect on our week. I was so blessed to have had such an amazing Safari Guide! She had so mimg_0217uch to offer me and I will always consider her a mentor in my life. After the last group reflection, we went to a celebration party, there was a DJ, inflatable activities, henna tattoos, rock-wall climbing, lazer tag and a bunch of other things to do. It was so cool!

Leadership Safari is something I will always remember. Central Michigan University cares so much about their students. This orientation program taught me so many things. I learned campus, I met new people and I made connections I will have forever!

NOW I am going to give back to campus like they gave to me during my time at Safari. I am going to take the experiences I encountered into my daily life here at Central. I am going to be involved, I am going to make connections and I am going to LEARN. Leadership Safari gave me an outline of how college is supposed to be, now it is my time to take it and run with it.

FIRE UP CHIPS!

2016 Leadership Safari Video