Moving Back to Detroit: Challenge Detroit Participant Brittany Sanders

Sep 15, 2012

My friends and I often joke that our lives growing up in Detroit would have been perfect material for a reality show. Not a reality show depicting blight and violence – words that some people automatically associate with Detroit – but a show filled with normal teenage madness: school, relationships, driver’s training, hanging out and extreme fun!

Challenge Detroit

My childhood in Detroit was nothing short of amazing. I grew up in a middleclass neighborhood, attended some of the city’s most reputable schools, had an active social life and was involved in many extracurricular activities. Although I loved Detroit, I wanted to leave Michigan for college. I really wanted to move to Atlanta to attend Spelman College. So, after graduation, I did just that. Fast forward 10 years and I have lived in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, and I spent this past summer in DC. Challenge Detroit is what brought me back home.

One day while living in Tennessee, I was perusing Facebook and saw a post from a high school friend about a program that she wrote, “[sounded] like a great opportunity.” In her post, the word “Detroit” grabbed my attention and I had to know more about this opportunity. After reading as much as I could about Challenge Detroit, I knew I needed to apply. I submitted my application a few days later; the rest is history.

I feel extremely thankful to have been selected for this program. I received a lot of strange looks when I told people I was moving back home. However, once I told them why, the looks changed from incredulity to approval. The general consensus was, “That’s exactly what the city needs.” I couldn’t agree more. I remember back to a time a couple of years ago when I was talking to my mom and I randomly said, “If someone ever put together a program where you could come to Detroit and help rebuild the city, I would do it.”

Challenge Detroit Tour

Two years later and here I am! Orientation kicked off with a keynote speech from Mayor Dave Bing. The week also included talks from other heavy hitters in the area, professional development sessions, a ride on the People Mover (which I haven’t done in at LEAST 15 years!) and clean-up on the Detroit Riverfront. I also visited my host company, Focus: HOPE, where my manager set up meetings for me with the CEO (who will be my mentor!), COO and two Directors.

Focus: HOPE is a non-profit civil and human rights organization here in the city working to overcome racism, poverty and injustice. At Focus: HOPE, I am a part of the Community Development team, where I am currently working on recruiting for an entrepreneurship training program for entrepreneurs in Focus: HOPE’s target area. The work that Focus: HOPE has been doing for the past 44 years is meaningful, tangible and impactful. With Challenge Detroit, U-Haul and Focus: HOPE, I am so excited to be a part of this great work to move the city forward.

~ Brittany

More articles like this one…

What’s New

U-Haul Serves Up Smiles and Meals at André House

U-Haul Serves Up Smiles and Meals at André House

A group of U-Haul volunteers gathered after work on June 6 to serve 410 meals to those in need at André House in Phoenix. U-Haul, headquartered in Phoenix since 1967, has volunteered at André House for several years thanks to the generosity of Team Members who visit...

U-Haul Offers Help to Tenants of Charlottetown Apartment Fire

U-Haul Offers Help to Tenants of Charlottetown Apartment Fire

U-Haul® is offering 30 days of free self-storage to tenants who were forced to evacuate their Charlottetown apartments due to a devastating fire. A 20-unit apartment building at 6 Elena Court was engulfed in flames on Monday night, triggering fire alarms and forcing...

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes at the 2024 Memorial Day Parade

Remembering Our Fallen Heroes at the 2024 Memorial Day Parade

U-Haul, founded by a WWII Navy veteran and his wife, has participated in the national Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., for the last 15-plus years. Representatives from U-Haul joined the American Veterans Center on May 27 to once again honor the lives of fallen...

Honoring Veterans: U-Haul Sponsors Memorial Day Tribute Journey

Honoring Veterans: U-Haul Sponsors Memorial Day Tribute Journey

U-Haul joined Gold Star Mother and founder Kathryn Cross on a journey to print, pack and distribute greeting cards to celebrate veterans, with stops in Connecticut and New York to meet our nation’s heroes in the week leading up to Memorial Day. The Tribute Journey,...

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Tornado Victims: Free Storage Offer in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

U-Haul is making 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box container usage available to victims of the powerful tornadoes that left a path of destruction Saturday in Rogers and Bentonville, Ark., Claremore and Pryor, Okla., Valley View, Texas, and surrounding areas....

Temple Tornado: U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage in Texas

Temple Tornado: U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage in Texas

U-Haul Co. of North Austin is making 13 facilities available to provide 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to families impacted by Wednesday night’s powerful tornado that struck Temple and wreaked havoc along Interstate 35. Many homes in and...

Tornado Recovery: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage in Iowa

Tornado Recovery: U-Haul Offering 30 Days Free Storage in Iowa

U-Haul® is offering recovery assistance to victims in Greenfield, Red Oak and other areas impacted by the devastating tornadoes that tore through central Iowa on Tuesday. Countless homes in these communities were damaged or destroyed, and a number of lives were...

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage following Houston Storms

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Self-Storage following Houston Storms

Thirty-three U-Haul stores across Greater Houston are extending 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box portable storage container usage to residents impacted by last week’s devastating storms. Powerful winds and rains caused mass damage to homes and businesses,...