On Monday, Jan. 19, employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joined forces with City Year Detroit to celebrate the National Day of Service honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The 14th annual event was hosted at Blue Cross' Bricktown Service Center in Detroit, and featured a keynote speech by Dr. Glenda Price, president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. Following the keynote speaker and rally, guests headed into the community to participate in service projects across metro Detroit. Adrianne Bryant, a team lead and Blue Cross employee of 18 years, participated in the event and shares her takeaways with MI Blues Perspectives below:
MIBP: Why did you choose to participate in the event?
AB: I am very appreciative to work for a company that allows me to do something I enjoy, which is to be of service. I make it a point to participate in as many community service opportunities as I can.
MIBP: Have you participated in the past?
AB: I have taken part in the CYD – MLK Day of Service for several years. When my daughter was younger, I would bring her and a friend with me to expose them to the true meaning of MLK Day (a day on— not a day off). As a result of that exposure, my daughter’s commitment to community service blossomed. So much so, that when she graduates from Yale this spring she will be joining City Year Detroit.
MIBP: What were your biggest takeaways from the event?
AB: I had mixed emotions. Although we have made some strides in relation to Dr. King’s dreams/visions we still have a long way to go. It also made me think, what more can I do? On the other hand, it’s so refreshing to see so many young people dedicated to enriching the lives of others. Now that my daughter is joining CYD, I have grown a greater appreciation for this organization and the impact it has on our youth and the communities in which they serve. Listening to the outgoing director of CYD tell a story of how she grew up in the segregated south and how it wasn’t until she moved to D.C. and was in the midst of the march on Capitol Hill that she was truly awakened. From that point on she made the decision to dedicate her life to the betterment of mankind. Dr. Price’s commitment to service also stood out to me. Even though she is “retired,” her list of board seats and various community organizations that she is involved in is more than most people half her age. Just listening to them is proof there is much to be done, and no excuse for not being an active participant in making it happen.
MIBP: What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
AB: Since I was a little girl I wanted to be of service to others. I remember helping the elderly with their bags, holding the door open for everybody behind me, helping kids in my neighborhood with reading and math, and going to the VA hospital to visit my uncle but stopping into other rooms to visit other patients, too. Being of service makes me feel like I have a sense of purpose.