My name is Hakeem Weatherspoon and I am a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA member. I currently serve at Detroit Horse Power. It is not just all about horses and the youth. When I think about the work we do at Detroit Horse Power, it has multiple ways of planting development within the community. We cultivate for our future by expanding the youth through our social emotional learning programs. Our five character traits, perseverance, empathy, responsible risk-taking, confidence, and self-control, embodies and supports DHP's mission.
When I discuss the work DHP has done and what it plans to do for the city of Detroit, community residents and leaders get excited about what they hear. The funniest thing is when you talk about youth and horses to adults -- I find myself being asked, is there any opportunities for the parents to be in these programs? Unfortunately, I have to say no, but what gets me so ramped up is that the parents would still be willing to give their children opportunities they might not have had when they were younger. This is where the magic happens. At times, I reflect on my conversations when I've spoken to people who haven't seen a horse and wouldn't know the first thing about keeping one as a pet. If you ask me, going door to door throughout the neighborhood, finding those people, is another way I've been assisting Detroit Horse Power to fulfill their mission.
Throughout my service year thus far, I've learned that expanding opportunities and communities through the youth of Detroit has been a double edged experience. On one hand, the community benefits from having a partnership with an equestrian led program. On the other hand, the people who are putting on the boots to keep this organization running will always have their hands full with new experiences as we work to expand our programs and operations.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!