In early July, the Windrose Project launched it’s 5th chapter to date, thanks to a passionate group of young Americans in the Detroit metro area! More than 85 students and parents joined us for a very successful first event on July 7th, 2018.
Why start a chapter in Detroit you may ask?
The first reason is simple: Detroit students are impressive and driven! Last fall, we met a bus load of well-dressed young adults who had driven 6 HOURS one way to attend a Windrose Chicago seminar in honor of Constitution Day. That was September 24, 2017. These dedicated (and perhaps a little crazy) teenagers and their parents would return to several other Windrose Chicago events in the following months. In November of 2017, the Windrose Directors traveled to Detroit to meet with parents and students to lay the groundwork for a future chapter in their own hometown. Six courageous young men and women stepped up to lead the way forward. After six months of training, team building and promotion, they now serve as the Detroit Windrose Chapter officers:
- President: Yihweth Ponce de Leon
- Vice President: Tzadkiel Ponce de Leon
- Secretary: Zvy Ponce de Leon
- Philanthropy Chair: Diana Alonso-Martinez
- Historian: Melanie Calvillo
- Chaplain: Xiczel Ponce de Leon
Secondly, Detroit parents are persistent! None of this would have been possible without Javier and Susana Alvarez. Throughout 2016, Susana Gonzalez regularly called, emailed and texted the Windrose Directors and the Chicago chapter leaders. The couple was committed to bringing Windrose to Detroit after witnessing the impact of Windrose on an associate, Oscar Jaimez in South Carolina. With a background in emergency medicine, these hardworking business owners are passionate about developing young leaders, and they believe the power of a healthy community to teach initiative, service and civic responsibility to the next generation. Today, Javier and Susana serve on the board of advisors for the Detroit chapter. We are so thankful for their investment.
The third reason for starting a chapter in Detroit goes much deeper. It began before any of the Windrose Detroit officers were even born.
We are committed to being a force for reconciliation in the city of Detroit. If you have never visited, Detroit is clearly a broken place in desperate need of rebuilding. If you are unfamiliar with its history, the city showcases what happens when big government squashes freedom. The story goes back more than 50 years, In the 1960’s, President LBJ launched his Great Society program in order to eliminate poverty and promote prosperity nationwide. In 1966, LBJ zeroed in on the booming city of Detroit as the poster child for his aggressive Model City Program. The government aide was designed to reduce violence and poverty, but the policies brought unintended consequences. Local taxes continued to rise, and violence became an increasing problem. As a result, the upper and middle class, especially business owners, began to flee the city. One report states that the Model City area lost 63% of its population and 45% of its housing units between 1960 and 1990.
Although Detroit started down a path towards urban renewal, the centralized city planning program ended in utter failure just 8 years later, leaving Detroit fundamentally damaged. Today, when you drive in Detroit, you notice a largely empty city, not to mention many burned out houses and buildings. The city was crushed and then abandoned by a government with big ideas, and little concern for follow-through or freedom, let alone the unintended consequences of their actions.
In order to rebuild this once great city, Detroit needs active and informed members of the community who will roll up their sleeves and make a difference. We believe that smart, passionate, servant-hearted young people will be just the right engine of positive change. To make a long story short, Detroit needs Windrose, and we are here to stay. We have faith in the people of Detroit and in the principles of freedom. We believe in the power of individual and economic freedom to transform even the most broken place.
We are so thankful for all of the student leaders, parents and sponsors who helped make the launch event and the new chapter possible! Be sure to check our events page for monthly seminars and service projects.