Quantcast

The John Lennon Education Tour Bus

Next Destination: Hough High School

Cornelius, NC

 

Blog

April 14, 2009

Rollins Reflection

Written by The Lennon Bus

 

Below is a reflection piece written by one of the students that attend the Alternative Spring Break in Detroit. I thought I’d share…


My Motor City Experience

by Ellease Bender

Spring Break 2009 proved to be a bit different for me this year. As part of Alternative Spring Break, eight students and I traveled to Detroit, Michigan as part of a service learning opportunity. Service learning involves not only engaging in a series of community service projects, but immersing ourselves in a situation to gain full understanding. We boarded three planes to the motor city not to “do community service”, but to return as messengers of the city’s plights and attempt to understand this portion of the country facing such an uncertain future. Partnering with various organizations throughout the week to understand the plights of Detroit residents, our days allowed us to aid the Eastern Michigan University Child Development Center, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Friends In Deed, and the Avalon Housing project – all organizations providing services (ranging from child care, housing, clothing and even furniture) to low-income residents in the Detroit area. We were also fortunate enough to partner with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus to create a documentary about our experiences in Detroit. While I expected to return to sunny Florida feeling renewed after engaging in a community in need, never could I imagine the effect of visiting this essential American city would have upon my paradigms for good.
My week in Detroit will be engrained in my memory for years to come. Not only did the stories of the citizens compel me, but our cultural experiences exposed me to some of the greatest parts of American culture. In six short days I visited three cities, tried Greek food for the first time in Greek Town, used a coat rack, witnessed Ford F150s in the making at the Ford Rouge Plant, met a former GM pilot, sat in the seat of Rosa Parks at the Henry Ford Museum, ate at Zingerman’s (the quirkiest deli in the United States in my opinion), visited the University of Michigan, learned about the Detroit from residents Marcus and Nu-Nu while eating lunch at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, attended a comedy show, cheered at a Piston’s game, and saw snow.  Most importantly, I gained a respect and passion for this city that will allow me to defend it for years to come.
My most distinct memory of the trip was my reaction while driving through Downtown Detroit. In the comfort of our SUVs, we gaped in shock at the blocks upon blocks of abandoned homes. Balconies hung by threads of wood as ceilings remained exposed and charred. Residents roamed the streets and sirens blared in the background as I snapped pictures with a feeling of numbness. It was difficult to grasp that this was not a third world country;  this is Detroit. The city of innovation where Henry Ford brought invention to life and a region housing some of the most advanced research laboratories in the United States had now begun to decay.  I could not believe this was my country; it simply was unacceptable.
My learning experience in Detroit provided a perspective unattainable through news reports and textbooks alone. I look forward to seeing where projects will take me in the future and which area Rollins will allow me to explore next spring break.

Next entry: Silly Sushi

Comments

Posted by Juli Ochoa  on  04/16  at  10:14 AM

I smiled when I read this reflection. I smiled because Ellease could not have worded our experience any better than she did. I feel lucky to have been one of those other eight students who made this trip, and I say lucky because I went from feeling helpless to realizing that that feeling is not going to change our world. The people of Detroit opened my eyes to a reality that I had only read and heard about, not witnessed, and that I will always remember. I thank them for that. I did some growing up that week, and I feel like a better person for it. But this is not about me - It is about others. At the end of the day, I just want to say, Let’s not be selfish, let’s be human.

Recent Posts

  • Featured Video - Come Together NYC Bed-In at City Hall March 25, 1969 - John and Yoko got into bed to talk about peace. September 13, 2018 - Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and Jeff Bridges get in bed to support the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and its mission to provide young people with opportunities to spread peace and promote …
  • New from Lennon Bus Europe! Students from all over Europe joined us on board Lennon Bus Europe to create original projects during our 2018 European Summer Tour. Check out this video from a group of students who spent 1 day in Schaan, Liechtenstein recording a hard-hitting original song and music video in the Bus at …
  • Featured Video - “The Odyssey” by Salem Advanced Learning Center Students from Nebo School District in Salem, UT spent one whole day onboard The Lennon Bus working together to write, record and produce an original song and music video. The result is…THE ODYSSEY! Special thanks to OWC (Other World Computing), Apple, Juniper Networks, Securematics, Ruckus Wireless, Nearpod, Yamaha, Audio-Technica, Genelec, …
  • Featured Video - “What They Said” by Berkner High School Students from Berkner High School in Richardson, TX spent one whole day on board The Lennon Bus working together to write, record and produce an original song and music video. read more
  • Andy Grammer - PERSPECTIVE - Presented by OWC Andy Grammer joined us at the 2018 NAMM Show to share his journey from a busker trying to find his voice to the hit-maker musical powerhouse he is today. Watch now to hear how Andy discovered you can’t be afraid to fail when chasing your dreams. read more …
  • Come Together Sacramento The Sacramento City Unified School District hosted The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by OWC for an epic week and a half of 21st century learning and skill building with students across the district working together to create original projects. These projects collectively yielded Come Together Sacramento. Special thanks …
  • Come Together NYC (2017) - “What does peace mean to you?” From our Lennon Bus family to yours, we wish you a Happy Xmas / Holidays and Happy New Year! On that note, we’re proud to bring you the short film Come Together NYC (2017) created by students from across the five boroughs with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus thanks …
  • “Come Together” by University of Miami Biscaydence Watch University of Miami BisCaydence students sing a live a cappella version of “Come Together” arranged by the incomparable Ben Bram with additional support from Alex Green on the Lennon Bus during The Betsy - South Beach A Cappella Festival. What an original and refreshing take on The Beatles’ classic! …
  • “Phenomenal” at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts Students from The Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem, NYC created an original song and music video in one single day on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon USA. Special thanks to NYC Council Member Mark Levine, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Mayor’s …
  • FEATURED VIDEO: “Better Than A Broken Heart” ft. Jeff Timmons Students from Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts came together to create an original song and music video on The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Canon U.S.A., Inc. during the Apple Ed Tech Teacher’s Conference in Las Vegas, NV with special guest mentor Jeff Timmons from 98 …