For the last year, Raquel Welch-Johnson has been the National Forum’s Americorps member working in the Brightmoor neighborhood of Detroit. Raquel has been working on numerous projects to build a college-going culture. As Raquel completes her Americorps service, she says that leaving is bitter-sweet. “It’s hard to believe that the year is already over.”
At Youthquake, a neighborhood block-party and her last event, Raquel could see the change that had occurred in just a short period of time. “I saw the students from Marygrove College I had trained and knew that they were going out and doing good. It made me proud.” She can now see the impact her work has had in the community. “This year has affirmed how important giving back to the community is,” Raquel says, and even though her year with the National Forum is over, she is still dedicated to helping youth. “I still connect and mentor the students. I can see the whole picture and how necessary that is.”
Even though most of her work was in Detroit, Raquel says that she still felt like the University of Michigan was her home. “The Forum team I was on made it easy for someone like me to be apart but still feel connected.” Anytime Raquel faced a problem or needed to brainstorm her National Forum team was always available. “There are great ideas coming out of the Forum, bringing any problem to the team always helped; nothing is insurmountable.”
Even though Raquel has wrapped up her year with Americorp and the National Forum, she will continue to work in the community. “My MMCCC position was life changing for me, so I would love to continue this work as a community activist.” Raquel has already started her new role as a Community Engagement Specialist at Marygrove College working on their BOLD (Building Our Leadership in Detroit) initiative. We wish her all the best!