Challenge Detroit: A Community-Wide Revitalization Effort

Sep 5, 2012

Challenge Detroit
Photo via Challenge Detroit Facebook Page

As we move into the Detroit community, we have recently learned that we are not alone! There are 30 individuals that have also joined the Detroit community, through the Challenge Detroit project.  These 30 participants were carefully selected out of over 900 applications to move to Detroit for one  year. The participants are part of a community-wide revitalization effort  that will live, work, play and give in the great city of Detroit.  The participants, completed their week-long orientation last week. In order to live in their new city, each participant is given a $500 a month housing stipend, and furnished housing in a lively area of Detroit where they will be able to interact with each other and the surrounding community. For work, each participant is placed with a host company, where they will work for one year for 32 hours per week. They also give back to the community through monthly team challenges designed to positively impact the community of Detroit.

Mayor Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing welcomes our inaugural class! Photo Via Challenge Detroit

The U-Haul team was so excited about the Challenge Detroit project, that we reached out via social media to see how we could get involved.  We were immediately responded to by Executive Director, Deirdre Greene Groves.  Deirdre connected us with two participants that were eager to partner with U-Haul as community bloggers.  You will hear more from the bloggers, Asia and Brittany,  in upcoming weeks. When we asked Deirdre why she chose to get involved with Challenge Detroit, she responded,

” I have always wanted to be a part of the good things happening in Detroit.  I grew up in a rural community outside of the city and fell for Detroit at an early age.  When I was working for a construction firm building lofts in the city and the founder shared his idea for what would eventually become Challenge Detroit, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.  Challenge Detroit is one of those good things happening in Detroit. “

Deirdre is right! Challenge Detroit is definitely a great thing happening in Detroit. A fundamental component of revitalization efforts is getting people to move back into the city. We want to help Challenge Detroit share this message, so this project can create exposure of the lively city of Detroit, and encourage more individuals to move back.  Even though this year’s project has just kicked off, Deirdre is already looking to get ramped up for next year’s project.  If you are as excited about Challenge Detroit as we are, then here are some ways you can get involved next year as either an individual, or a business:

1) Companies interested in hosting a participant as an employee for a year

2) Nonprofits that would like to participate in the monthly team challenges, and

3) Supporters for their overall programming.

Challenge Detroit Participants
Challenge Detroit Participants Photo via Pgamper

Since Challenge Detroit is a non-profit program, we asked Deirdre what kind of support and/or resources, they still need help with.  She responded,

” While programming is underway for our second year, we still need help garnering funds to bring the program to life again.  Support, whether financial or in-kind, is incredibly important to continuing Challenge Detroit and our efforts to attract and retain talent to Detroit. “

If you would like to learn more about Challenge Detroit, visit their website. You can also follow the project on their Facebook page or on twitter @ChallengeDet. Do you think the  Challenge Detroit participants can make a difference? What do you think of the Challenge Detroit project? Tell us!

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