Doing The Work

Our Special Projects Coordinator, Tori Lee, joined the Strategic Community Partners team in a short-term capacity last fall. We knew she’d be heading off to the Peace Corps this spring. We also knew she was a talented and passionate mission-driven leader--we had to have her on the team! We are so grateful for her contributions to our team over the past five months. 

Please join us in wishing her the best of luck and read her reflections on her experience at Strategic Community Partners.

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After graduating from college with a degree in International Relations, I assumed that I would be galavanting across the world, doing incredible and engaging work, just as I had done throughout my undergraduate career. I never quite expected to find myself working for a mission-driven organization based just a few hours north of my hometown. The truth is, though, that there is a lot to do here in our own backyard! While in school, my textbooks often showed faces of global poverty and social injustice in other countries while neglecting to highlight the fact that the United States is also experiencing those very same challenges.

It’s a hard truth to face, but a truth, nonetheless. Our students are not all experiencing equitable access to quality education, for example. While that can seem like an overwhelming, frustrating and even impossible challenge for one person to solve, the biggest lesson that I learned in my time here  is that you don’t have to go at it alone. Amazing and innovative organizations, like Strategic Community Partners, are in communities everyday working to uplift voices and catalyze change. Inch by inch, these leaders work to ensure that students are emotionally taken care of, parents are uplifted and empowered to support their children, and that teachers are invigorated and inspired in order to impact students. These leaders give their all every day and they gave me the belief that my voice can generate change.

Not long ago, I felt that I didn’t have enough relevant experience to really make a difference in my field. I’ve since realized, however, that showing up and simply doing the work will always be meaningful. I’ve learned to trust in my skills and abilities and to value what makes me unique in this work. For example, I’ve always been someone who’s enjoyed planning (literally anything-I love a good to-do list!). I’ve been able to utilize those skills to help support a career fair that impacted over 2,000 high school freshmen as well as lead a talent collective that supported city-wide education recommendations in Detroit. Doing the work means just that: getting it done.

Although I never expected to be here, I am incredibly grateful for all that I have had the opportunity to engage in and learn from while on the Strategic Community Partners team. No matter where I go in this world, I’ll never forget the lessons I’ve learned through some of the hardest-working individuals that I’ve met. As this amazing Black- and women-led organization continues to thrive, I am honored to say that I am committed to always doing the work alongside them.