As a proud alumna of the Detroit Public Schools and graduate of Renaissance High School, I spend my career helping to rebuild the City of Detroit as Executive Director of  Community Development Advocates, supporting our member organizations in neighborhood stabilization and redevelopment efforts.

One of my core values is that it’s important to give back in general and to support the community that supported you. Right now, we’re in a crisis situation with some aspects of DPS. Together, we need to talk about the future of education in this city for our children. If you feel like you received some benefit or achieved some level of success, then you should give back, in some way, to DPS.

The schools are so important to redevelopment of Detroit’s neighborhoods. Schools used to serve as anchors in the community. As we stabilize and rebuild, schools must be a big part of attracting residents to a neighborhood. Schools and local community development organizations should have relationships and work together to improve quality of life and allow residents to meet the schools’ needs. For example, the school in my neighborhood connected to our neighborhood association. We helped them by working together to meet items on a checklist of small needs that the school provided for us.

The challenge can be that a lot of people don’t get involved in helping schools because they think it’s going to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Instead, it’s important to find out what’s really needed. It may just take one act or one day to be able to get involved. It certainly doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

I respect the focus areas of the DPS Foundation. I’ve always had a passion for the arts. I think the arts really broaden your academic learning in ways that we tend to overlook. Also, my undergraduate degree is in engineering so I like seeing more girls exposed to science and math.  STEM programs are really important as an opportunity to get all students excited about math and science.

Also, as one of the principals in Good People popcorn, a Detroit-based small business, I believe alumni who own businesses can support students by talking to them about business or even employing them to provide work experience.

Personally, I am working to become more involved. I had a very good DPS experience, so I support trying to make the experience great for current and future students.