An important component of the Blueprints Leadership Program is the vision project. Each student, based on their own interests, passions and talents, will design a project in which they create social change on an issue they care about. Students start by learning about their area of interest (for example, hunger, homelessness, animal cruelty, etc.) and understanding how they can be positive social change agents. Throughout the year, students continually design and modify a project in which they apply what they learn from the book, speakers, discussions and the experiences we have throughout the program.
Examples of past Blueprints vision projects:
Sherra Bennett, Blueprints 2012-2013
Sherra always knew she wanted to make a difference for youth in Detroit. She just wasn't sure how. Once she joined Blueprints, she was able to turn her dream into a reality, founding the STARR movement. Built on the idea that she can help young people build confidence in their ability to change world through community organizing, social change projects and leadership. Sherra had to work fast to build her vision and mission as she elected to present in a competition to earn a grant for her project. And she's never looked back. One year later, the STARR Proejct, under Sherra's leadership has blossomed and earned her over $16,000 in funds, and nearly $150,000 in in-kind donations to support her work. Her project has her many awards as well, including being named one of Ashoka's "Changemakers of the Week", earning her a DifferenceMaker from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and being named a finalist in the OptiMize competition at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.
Adam Harris, Blueprints 2007-2008
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Detroit
Since the day he arrived on campus, Adam was always involved in service projects at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In the Spring of 2007, Adam had the opportunity to travel with other UM-Dearborn students to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina to continue the clean-up effort. After returning to Detroit, Adam was committed to taking this experience to the next level. Through Blueprints, Adam had the idea to bring ASB to Detroit, hosted by UM-Dearborn. Adam shared his vision idea with campus administrators and the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, who all immediately signed on to help make it happen. From there, history was made, and Detroit was named a host city for Alternative Spring Break 2008. Over 50 students from across the country traveled to Detroit and volunteered at five different non-profit agencies for their Spring Break, thanks to Adam's idea and hard work. It was such a success, the program was repeated in 2009!
Gieric Laput, Blueprints 2009-2010
Using art to address children's issues in El Salvador
Gieric has always been drawn to two things: medicine and art. As a part of Blueprints, Gieric was committed to blending those interests. He knew his vision would incorporate both. After doing research, Gieric recognized that in many places, art and creative outlets were being used as a complimentary health initiative in resource poor settings. Gieric began to work with FIMRC (The Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children) and traveled to El Salvador in the summer of 2010 for six weeks. In that time, he led an art program aimed at encouraging children to express emotion, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior and increase self-esteem.
Ivory Hodges, Blueprints 2009-2010
Financial Empowerment consulting firm
Ivory has always loved money. Earning it, saving it, and informally helping others spend it wisely. Ivory believes that anyone can be debt free, and believes in the power of saving money. In 2009, after being accepted for the leadership program, however, Ivory took his passion to the next level. Ivory started to formulate his vision of helping people achieve financial freedom. Quickly, word spread throughout Ivory's friends, family and neighborhood that Ivory was consulting. Before he knew it, he had a thriving business, which he subsequently named Financial Empowerment. Within the first year, Ivory reported nearly 100 clients.
Sarah Jaward, Blueprints 2007-2008
Invisible Children awareness
In high school, Sarah was exposed to the Invisible Children’s movement which deals with Uganda’s longest running war, where children have become weapons through abduction and forced to serve as “child soldiers” within the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). A documentary film was made, exposing this sad reality. Although always a supporter of the film and its purpose of exposing the issue, Blueprints gave Sarah the opportunity to construct a vision that would help put some action behind that support. After getting in contact with the Invisible Children’s movement, Sarah was able to hold a screening of the film on campus in order to raise awareness of this issue. With the success of the event, Sarah took it one step further by organizing a team of UM-Dearborn students to take part in Invisible Children’s Displace Me event, where more than 68,000 individuals gathered in 15 cities across the United States to experience what it was like to be displaced. Volunteers left the comfort of their homes and displaced themselves for one night in order to not only raise further awareness but to truly empathize with the displaced children in northern Uganda.
You, Blueprints 2014-2015
Your amazing vision
This could be you! But you have to apply before July 19, 2015!