By: Meagen Mazur
CW50 Intern

If you were given one year to live, work, and give back to Detroit, what would you do to make a difference in the city?

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That was the question proposed to the 2013-2014 Challenge Detroit fellowship applicants. This exciting and innovative program selects 30 young professionals from across the country to do just that for one year.

Fellows are given housing stipends to live in the city and are provided job placements in relevant career fields through participating host companies. They also experience the many cultural and social events taking place in the city and participate in monthly team challenges focused on making positive impacts on the community.

The goal of the program is to attract and maintain young talent in Detroit to create a successful and thriving city again. This is why I have applied to become a member of Challenge Detroit.

The application process for the second year began in early February and required applicants to send in our resumes and a 500-character statement of what motivated us to apply.

Describing why I wanted to join this program in roughly five short sentences was no easy task. I ultimately focused on my top reason, which was the spirit of the people of Detroit and their unwavering motivation to help their city. I want to become a part of this movement and also capture the stories of individuals to encourage more positive attention and involvement.

The second round of the application process involved responding to three open-ended questions with the option of producing a video. The questions asked about our leadership experiences and our ideas on how we would make a difference in the city.

For the video, I spent over a week writing and rewriting my script to make sure I could say everything I wanted in one minute. I also wanted to grab the viewer’s attention immediately so I decided to showcase my creative side. I began my video singing the opening of Martha and the Vandellas’ classic Motown song “Dancing in the Streets.”

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I then teamed up with my good friend and visionary for Video Vision 360, Ryan Doyle, to create the video. He has been actively involved in efforts to help rebuild Detroit for years, and I knew he was just the creative mind I needed to collaborate with. We spent a little over an hour capturing different images for the video and recording my voice.

I felt the video was a great way to show a different side of myself, and it allowed me to convey my personal story on why I am so passionate about staying in the city. The finished product perfectly mixes the beauty of Detroit with my excitement of the revitalization efforts I have been exposed to and my desire to become a part of them. Click here to see my video!

Originally, 700 people from across the country applied to become a member of Challenge Detroit. That number has now been narrowed down to 150 applicants for the third round.

This round involves a ‘community vote,’ in which Facebook users are encouraged to view the applicants’ 500-character pitch and video and cast their votes for who they wish to see move on to the final round.

This means I need your votes to help me become one of the sixty applicants that will be selected to move on to the final round and interview with the thirty host companies.

Detroit is far from being defeated, which is obvious looking through the stories and videos of the talented and creative applicants passionate about making a difference in the city. Show your support for this effort to rejuvenate Detroit by casting your vote by April 7th.

Click the image below to view and vote for my video! And be sure to also visit Challenge Detroit’s Facebook page to learn more about the program and the rest of the applicants.

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Click here for more information on Challenge Detroit!