Focus: HOPE was established 1968 post-Detroit Riots. It was founded by Father Cunningham and Eleanor who both had a vision for a more unified and equal Detroit. An organization created with a passion for civil and human rights by fighting racism, discrimination, and other inequalities that were and still are present. Although they have passed away, their legacy of service and compassion still lives on today. Focus: HOPE is celebrating their 50th anniversary within their several departments like the Center for Children, Community Development, Workforce Development, and other programs. While I am working in my placement as a storyteller of the HOPE Village Initiative and its community members under my supervisor Judith Williams, I hope to mirror the founders’ selflessness, humility, compassion, and wisdom.
In my placement, at first, the biggest challenge for me was the amount of freedom and independence given for this project. This was one of the biggest challenges because I am a dreamer and can sometimes become overwhelmed by the possibilities and ideas regarding HOPE Village. So, in order to calm this overwhelming feeling and frankly unrealistic dreams, Bash and I scheduled a meeting with our supervisor Judith, and she brought us back to reality real fast. After this meeting, I had a clearer and more realistic vision for the storytelling projects and how we will bring them to fruition. Now we have narrowed it down to two avenues of storytelling.
First, we are focusing on utilizing social media. Matter of fact I recently finished a presentation meant for the person over Communications for Focus: HOPE, and hopefully, no pun intended, she will at least consider the ideas that we present. In addition, we also brainstormed some hashtag movements that could happen either this summer or the next. Whenever it becomes active, as long as it does, I will be satisfied because it’s telling the story to Detroiters and others. Lastly, the most important one that we are working on, is the community storytelling. This avenue is concerned more with rebuilding the community and mostly listening to what has happened and what they wish to happen in the future. As of now, we are working on meeting with some of the more active members of the community to understand and create an image of ways to further engage others, and from this, we aim to build.