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Andrea's Anecdotes A column by Andrea Beaudoin


Experiences in the D



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January 29, 2014 - Before joining The Clarkston News, I had a job in which I had to work in the city of Detroit. I worked in many neighborhoods near Six Mile and the Southfield Freeway. To be honest, I was terrified.

The job was checking for gas leaks for DTE/Michcon which entailed parking on the end of a street, walking up to every house and asking people if I could go into their basements.

Most everyone let me in, and I went in a few thousand houses. I never had a bad experience in the city. I even went into neighborhoods full of abandoned houses—still I had no problems.

I canvassed many neighborhoods, went inside houses and spoke with many residents. I stopped at many gas stations, stores and restaurants.

I did have people tell me I was brave, or look at me like I must be out of my mind, but over all my experience was good and led me to think Detroit is not as bad as it seems. To be sure the city is full of eyesores, blight and a depressing sort of vibe. Your environment is an important aspect to well-being.

While I was there, being the curious person I am I always asked questions and I came to discover there are way more good folks than bad. Way more. My experience is full of many great conversations, and interactions with great people.

It may be true that many residents are dependent on government assistance, but it seems that lifestyle is hard to overcome if you are constantly just trying to survive. When parents cannot even provide for daily needs of their children attention goes elsewhere and children go astray.

When you can't get ahead you fall behind. With no job prospects, crime goes up. Without adequate education you can't prosper. When no one believes in you—you give up.

Detroit has a lot of resources.

Create sponsored neighborhoods via support from individuals, businesses or perhaps an affluent county. With these sponsorships provide jobs, help people create a better environment, plant more gardens to feed the hungry. Breed hope in the hopeless.

Some of the greatest stories and lessons come from periods of despair. Some of the most beautiful things are born after rebuilding from destruction.

I am rooting for Detroit. With a little help I believe Detroit will rise from the ashes with a beautiful story to tell.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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