Urban Alliance Detroit Celebrates First Annual Public Speaking Challenge

DETROIT, MI – Urban Alliance Detroit closed out its inaugural year serving youth in the city with the first annual Public Speaking Challenge, where interns had the chance to not only hone their speaking skills and share all they’ve learned over the past year, but to celebrate their achievements with mentors and community supporters.

While the entire inaugural cohort of students showed up dressed for success and ready to share their progress with the community, two students who consistently went above and beyond throughout their internships were awarded special honors. Rock Connections intern Raven Barrett was awarded the 313 Scholarship for the passion, generosity, intelligence, and hard work she demonstrated throughout the year. Quicken Loans Government Relations intern Damia Lewis was named Urban Alliance Detroit’s first Intern of the Year for exemplifying what it means to be a great intern and a great Detroiter.

Damia had a chance to pay it forward when she then presented her mentor, Jason Headen of Quicken Loans, with the first Urban Alliance Detroit Mentor of the Year award.

“Jason led by example and always told me that in order to achieve greatness you have to believe the greatness in yourself,” said Damia. “I believe it now – and will carry that wherever I go. Jason has been there for me through it all this year and I know he will always be that someone I can count on. Whether Jason knows it or not, he has made this internship an experience I will never forget.”


It wasn’t just the interns who benefited from the opportunity to intern with organizations around the city including companies within the Quicken Loans family, Bank of America, JOURNi, the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, and more – job partners gained valuable employees and a fresh perspective on their work.

“It’s such a wonderful and great opportunity to have young people about you because the world is about evolution and change,” said Quicken Loans’ Jason Headen. “These kids have wonderful, amazing minds and ideas that they can bring to the table, things that you haven’t thought of.”

Coming off this first successful year in the city, keynote speaker Chanel Hampton, Founder and President of Strategic Community Partners, issued a call to action to the audience: “I want you to look at these young people. There’s a saying, ‘oh they’re the future.’ They’re here NOW and they are brilliant…I also want to make sure that you do your part to make sure that in five, ten, fifteen, twenty years, they are sitting in your chairs.”

Urban Alliance Detroit looks forward to a second year serving even more students in the city – but we can’t do it alone. If you or your company is interested in taking an intern, please reach out to Executive Director Sherri Davis Chisholm at schisholm@theurbanalliance.org.