Hello again! I’m Maya, one of the two LEAGUE VISTA members hosted at Detroit Edison Public School Academy (DEPSA). In my last blog post, I was in the middle of my service and working on balancing Read n’ Give, a statewide book drive, with service-learning projects. Read n’ Give was time-consuming, but incredibly rewarding. Since then, things have been much less hectic, but just as gratifying.
Before the school year ended, I spent a lot of time helping teachers complete their last projects. One project of my favorite projects was with the DEPSA Junior Academy Leadership Team. At DEPSA, the Junior Academy (JA) houses grades 6-8. Leadership Team is composed of about 20 of the JA students, who strive to be leaders at DEPSA and in the larger community. In June, the Leadership Team shopped, cooked, and served a meal at a local church soup kitchen. With the challenges of a small kitchen and set budget, the students had to plan a thoughtful menu, utilize comparison shopping skills, and work together to make and serve their fo. The students did an amazing job! They took their work incredibly seriously and the community that they served appreciated their hard work. I feel very lucky to have played a small part in the project by helping to organize the logistics of the trip and serve as a mentor to the students on the trip itself.
Now that the summer is upon us, I have been steadily working on recruiting teachers for Fisher Training. Fisher Training is a three-day service-learning institute for local teachers. There are four different trainings throughout the state this summer. The metro Detroit training will be hosted at DEPSA in August. As part of Fisher Training, teachers receive grant money to implement service-learning projects in their classrooms during the school year. Many of the teachers that we work with during the year have completed Fisher Training. Recruitment is a special opportunity for us to spread our work to additional teachers in current schools and cultivate relationships with new teachers in new schools in metro Detroit. Although I won’t be working much with the teachers that I’m currently recruiting, it is important to me to pass along a great group of teachers to the next VISTAs!
I have also been working on creating a Little Free Library with Erik, my co-VISTA at DEPSA. During Read n’ Give, I connected with Rx for Reading and we donated approximately 1,700 books to the organization. Rx for Reading is an organization that collects books and distributes them throughout Detroit in clinics, Little Free Libraries, and Head Start classrooms. Mary-Catherine is the director of Rx for Reading and she has been an amazing partner! To help Rx for Reading and the greater community, Erik and I wanted to build a Little Free Library that will be a lasting contribution from the two of us.
With the little help that I can provide, Erik has built an incredible Little Free Library from the ground up. The library will be placed at a free clinic in Corktown. Someone has already agreed to serve as the steward for the library and will fill it up with books whenever needed. Building this library with Erik has been quite an experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself, Erik, and power tools. I wouldn’t have wanted to take this project on with anyone else!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!