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Learning and giving back in Detroit

Service learning trip enables Leader Advancement Scholars to grow and bond

​​​Each year, the Leader Advancement Scholar freshman cohort participates in an annual tradition: a service learning trip in Detroit. Alongside students from previous cohorts who help plan and facilitate the trip, the 63 Central Michigan University students left their mark in the community last weekend.

"The service learning trip to Detroit is not only an opportunity for students to serve and grow as a leader, but to bond and grow with their cohort and reflect on how much they have already gained together from the Leader Advancement Scholar experience," Brighton junior Jordyn Salerno said.

The Leader Advancement Scholarship is awarded each year to 40 outstanding high school seniors who have distinguished themselves through a record of leadership and service. CMU offers more scholarships for leadership than any college or university in the Midwest.

"Service learning is a powerful educational experience for developing leaders because students are provided the opportunity to work alongside community members and increase social responsibility," said Jesi Ekonen, assistant director of CMU's Leadership Institute.

On Friday, CMU students facilitated a service day for the high school students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy — including projects for Special Olympics, the Children's Hospital of Michigan and Arts & Scraps. On Saturday, they participated in three service projects at Cass Community Social Services and learned how the organization has evolved to meet the needs of the Detroit community.

"All of the weekend's activities were planned around what would be most impactful for the students and how we could best serve the community of Detroit in 24 hours," Salerno said.

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