Holiday Greetings to All! I’m Mary C. Bryson, a seasoned volunteer for AmeriCorps and VISTA, now serving at Metro Detroit Partnership along with 5 other VISTAs at the same site in Detroit. I’m a long time resident of the area and have experienced the best and the worst of times of the city. Presently, the downtown area is undergoing a major transformation with new and old construction, a totally new rail system that will link the northern suburbs directly to downtown, major new businesses moving in and a much needed younger population. I’m actually witnessing a ‘phoenix rising from the ashes’. Everyone has an open invitation to visit and stay as long as you like. It has been beautiful to see and be able to play a vital role in this through our efforts with workforce development.
The Campus Martius Ice Skating Rink in the heart of downtown Detroit, rivals Rockefeller Center’s Ice Rink in New York and it is bigger!
Our office is within walking distance to this beautiful site. During the spring, summer and fall, the activities there entails free concerts of every genre.
The Director of the Metro Detroit Partnership, Mike Rafferty, had a vision after seeing so many homeless and deprived people, that everyone could be gainfully employed with the proper skills through workforce development. He put his dream into action and allowed all six VISTAs under his guidance to research, create and implement the workforce development program. His tutelage method has given each of us a strong sense of leadership, gainful insight into ourselves as well as the project and attain the skills needed to carry out our tasks.
The first 3 VISTAs have served since February 2014 and set this program in motion, I along with 2 other VISTAs came in at the setup stage of this process. Now we are near the point of implementation, we will perform the work needed at different partner agencies to help the aforementioned underserved population become gainfully employed. The impact this will have on the person’s self-esteem, families and neighborhood stabilization is exciting to even think about, but we actually get to do it!
Currently, my year initiative is tackling the illiteracy rate in Detroit. In my ongoing research thus far, this herculean task has presented some enlightening evidence pointing towards the inaccuracies in former statistics. This energizes me to continue so that I can present some accurate information to the proper parties and address the problem.
Throughout my service years, I’ve met people from all walks of life, from the President of the United States to a homeless vagrant. They’ve left me with an even greater need to serve my community. As long as there is a disparity between the haves and have-nots, then our work is not done. So I’ll continue to volunteer, to serve and I hope all of you do too!
The best of the Holiday Season to All!
If you have everything to gain if successful and nothing to lose of you fail, then by all means do It!!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!