Community Leadership Fellows Year in Review

multiple community partner logos

Fighting Mental Health Stigma, Expanding Driver’s License Access for Immigrants, and More

Each year, the Ginsberg Center’s Community Leadership Fellows (CLF) Program guides UM juniors and seniors in applying their existing leadership skills, community engagement experience, and classroom learning to a community-based project. Fellows selected for this opportunity work closely with their community partners for a full academic year, learning about both the challenges facing local communities and the incredible assets they possess in their resilient, creative, and generous constituents. Fellows also participate in ongoing leadership development training and mentorship, connect as a cohort, and engage in critical reflection throughout the program.

Ginsberg staff had the privilege of facilitating six vibrant partnerships during the 2023-24 academic year, working with passionate students and community leaders to address issues ranging from literacy to sustainable farming to health equity. Read on to learn more about these collaborations!

826 Michigan

826 Michigan coordinates a team of volunteers to tutor school-aged children in becoming confident and creative writers. Community Leadership Fellow Nifemi Awosika worked with 826 to support the execution of a successful winter communications plan, helping instrumentally with flyer design and outreach to local schools and organizations. Nifemi also worked directly with students and families to support two of 826’s flagship programs: creative writing “field trips,” and the “Wee-bots” program for 826’s youngest writers.

We the People Michigan

We the People Michigan builds deep organizing infrastructure around local and regional issues that impact Michigan residents. They aim to foster stable, long-lasting alliances rooted in economic and racial justice across diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities. Community Leadership Fellow Alexandra Castro supported We the People’s campaign to restore and expand driver’s license access to immigrant Michiganders, helping to organize town halls and foster local leadership development.

Willow Run Acres

Community Leadership Fellow Lydia Miller supported day-to-day operations and programming at

Willow Run Acres. This local farm offers gardening education for people at all skill levels, with a special emphasis on children, families, seniors, people living with disabilities, and Black people–their unique “Underground Railroad Garden” frames Black history and culture through the lens of food and farming. Willow Run Acres also aims to fight food insecurity by providing garden plots where community members can grow their own fresh produce.

Hope Clinic

Hope Clinic is an interdenominational Christian nonprofit that offers medical care, dental care, food, and a variety of social services to uninsured community members. Community Leadership Fellow Kayla Rothstein supported Hope Clinic in updating their DEI strategy by researching best practices and producing a report with recommendations. Kayla also used her business background to help Hope Clinic develop sustainable client engagement policies, understand and plan for the ways in which economic trends could affect the clinic’s future projects, and identify approaches to improving clinic staff’s well-being and job satisfaction.

Washtenaw County Health Department

The Washtenaw County Health Department provides public health education and services for local residents, ranging from vaccinations to summer mosquito safety. Community Leadership Fellow Easheta Shah supported WCHD’s “Wish You Knew” project, a multimedia messaging campaign designed to address community concerns around youth mental health and associated stigma. Easheta helped coordinate community listening sessions to gather feedback on the campaign, and incorporated suggestions into a revised and revamped approach to mental health support.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Huron Valley works to expand affordable homeownership for low-income families in Washtenaw County. Community Leadership Fellow Anya Singh supported the Habitat team in creating a streamlined process for both staff and new homeowners to access key documents, increasing organizational capacity to assist clients consistently and promptly.