Challenge Detroit Program: A Conversation With Fellow Ben Hershey

DETROIT (WWJ) – After nearly six months into the Challenge Detroit initiative, what are participants saying about their efforts to revitalize the city? And what’s it been like so far?

Those are just a couple of the questions posed to Challenge Detroit Fellow Ben Hershey, a native of Columbus, Ohio, by WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas.

What’s it been like so far?

“It’s been really great so far,” Hershey said. “We’ve gotten to meet a whole bunch of people in the city. Gotten to do a lot of different team challenges and really get involved in Detroit.”

What do you like about it and what don’t you like?

“I really like just being in a new city and really just getting to know all these new people. What I don’t like, I mean, there’s really not that much. I don’t know, maybe the traffic,” Hershey said laughing.

What about some of the leaders you’ve met? Did you have a chance to talk to the mayor at all?

“We’ve actually met with the mayor a couple of times. Our general orientation, we got to interact with him personally, as well as the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we met a lot of leaders there and our first team challenge at Matrix Human Services, we got to meet a bunch of leaders there, as well.”

What was the first team challenge?

“The first challenge was at Matrix Human Services Center in the Osborn neighborhood, and it was trying to make a community impact study to determine what the effects of the center were on the area.”

Hershey says they’ve also visited the DIA, and what he describes as “gems” all over the metro Detroit area.

Tell people what the aim of this whole program is.

“The aim of Challenge Detroit is to bring in either people who have lived in the city, or are from outside the city and just get everyone involved. A lot of young, fresh ideas into the city and kind of approach revitalization in a different way.”

Once his year is up, will he stay in Detroit?

“I will probably stay in Detroit, yes. What I’ll be doing though, I have no idea.”

Click here to listen to Vickie Thomas’ complete conversation with Ben Hershey.

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