‘True Life’ Check-In: Angela, Alyssia And Jae’Lyne Update Us On Detroit’s Progress

This weekend’s “True Life” explored the stories of three young women who made it their mission to save their home, Detroit. We had an opportunity to check in with them to find out how their lives have changed since filming wrapped — take a look at the follow-up Q&As below.

SavingDetroitAngelaAngela

What was it like sharing your story with us?
Sharing my story with you all has definitely been interesting. I’m a really private person so that part was scary, but sometimes that can be a good thing.

How’s your neighborhood doing? Is it still tire-free, or have people dumped more tires and messed it up again? 
There haven’t been any more tires, thankfully, but since the clean up I’ve found so many other things to focus on in the neighborhood, so I’ve spent a lot of time with that.

What was the biggest thing you learned from your cleanup project?  
The biggest thing I’ve learned from my cleanup is that anyone can become a leader, and that I am a leader.

Have you been involved in any community service projects since filming ended? If so, what have you been up to? 
I’ve been involved in other things, like the Detroit mayoral election. Recently I put on a youth-led community forum by getting a lot of the mayoral candidates together to discuss issues with Detroit’s young people. It had a excellent turnout.

What’s next for you?
In the fall I’ll be starting out at Michigan State studying pre-law, where I will continue my journey to become mayor of the city of Detroit. It’s still my dream to be mayor, and I am well on my way to completing it. I have a internship this fall in the state’s capital working with legislation.

DetroitAlyssiaAlyssia

What was it like sharing your story with us?
Sharing my story was amazing! I feel as though a lot of people can hear my story now.

How are you feeling these days when you’re walking past abandoned buildings? 
Walking past an abandoned building nowadays is still frightening, yet there’s a little relief knowing something can be done, like boarding it up.

Do you feel like boarding up the buildings had an impact on the community?  If so, what was the impact?
Yes! I feel as though there was a huge impact made. A lot of kids around the school can feel safer and the boarded-up buildings look like they’re a part of the community.

What would you say is the biggest thing you learned from your abandoned buildings project?
The biggest thing I learned came from all the “what ifs.” I now look at an abandoned building and think, “What if someone has been hurt in there before?” “What if drugs are being sold out of there?” Automatically when I think about that I get upset and feel as though something has to be done. Not only is this affecting me, but it’s affecting others as well.

Have you been involved in any community service projects since filming stopped? If so, what have you been up to? 
I haven’t been as involved in Youth Voice, my youth group, because I’ve been working a lot trying to save money.

What’s next for you? Any challenges you’re facing?
Next for me is college. I want to further my education so I can do bigger and better things. I’ve been accepted at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The only challenge is being able to afford college. I live with a single parent (my dad) and he’s unemployed and his credit is not good. I’m trying to get as much financial aid as I can from scholarships and loans, but I’m still a few thousand dollars short of my first semester’s tuition. So I started a page for people who like what I’m doing and want to give to help me go to college.

DetroitJaeLyneJae’Lyne

What was it like sharing your story with us?
Sharing my story was something that was generally difficult. It was something that was hard to think about and face, but talking about it was also very hard.

What’s you’re current living situation?  Have you and your family been able to find a stable place to live?
We recently moved off our old street and moved not too far from it. We now live in a two-family flat. I actually like this house more than the other house. The other house was like a mood kill. It had a bad atmosphere and bad memories. I feel like in this house, I have a new start. Yes, it’s a stable place, I guess.

How’s your mom doing? Has she been able to go back to work or get assistance for her injuries?   
My mom is doing OK. She still hurts a lot and takes her meds, but that doesn’t always help. She still attends physical therapy. She’s also still waiting to be seen by a judge, and is in too much pain to work.

What was the biggest thing you learned from your board-up project?  
The biggest thing I learned from the board-up was that people really do care about their community. Not just adults, but people my age, and even younger than me.

Have you been involved in any community service projects since filming stopped? If so, what have you been up to? 
I’ve been involved in fence painting and have continued with the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance youth council.

What’s next for you? Any challenges you’re facing?
Basically what’s next for me is a new start. I have the ACT coming up, which is really important to me. I’ll be running for secretary of the youth council and I’m working, too.

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