This year, FATE Class of 2022 participated in their first internship experience with the Detroit Pistons! Looking back on the experience brings nothing but joy and...tears. I am so thankful that I was able to experience this opportunity with this group in particular and I feel so proud of all they accomplished.
For their internship project, The Detroit Pistons asked each team to come up with three ideas to make fan appreciation more impactful for ticket holders, fans, and the greater Detroit community and incorporate their “We Hustle Different” campaign. This campaign aims to showcase the authenticity, culture, and work ethic of the city of Detroit. While keeping the “We Hustle Different” brand and what they learned about the Pistons in mind, students were able to work together to meet the needs of the Pistons over the span of a 5 week internship. Most days, students were ready to work hard and get the ball rolling on their deliverables and other days FATE staff did a great job with pep talks and acknowledging their strengths.
We had three teams competing for the best ideas for fan appreciation - “313 Hustlers”, “Intern X”, and “Detroit Hustlers”. After brainstorming ideas, fleshing out the details, and selecting their top three ideas, each team was ready to develop a presentation that would be delivered in front of Detroit Pistons executives.
As presentation day arrived, I picked the students up from school and we headed to the Pistons facility. Although the seniors came from a long day at school, it was my goal to make sure that every student was excited, prepared, and felt confident in their ability to present their ideas. I had the opportunity to give a little pep talk to two students in particular - Shy’Niya & Sheree - who are natural born leaders and who I believe have the ability to motivate their team. I wanted to remind them that their teammates look up to them and are looking for reassurance that their ideas and presentation are going to be great! When they went back to their groups, they both showed up in a big way and ultimately helped lead their team to victory!
When the Pistons executives entered the room, I began to sweat a little because I just wanted everything to be perfect and guess what, IT WAS PERFECT! Each team presented with such confidence and poise. Every time a student spoke, I pictured them back in the 9th grade presenting their capstone projects at the Student Showcase. As 9th graders, some were terrified, nervous and experiencing a ball of emotions. Three years later, now 12th graders, it was apparent how much they’ve grown!
Everyone was so impressed with their creative ideas for fan appreciation!
- Team “313 Hustlers” pitched a fan discount day, a “Hustle for the Hype” competition between the lower and upper bowl, and a “game of hustle” in the community on the various Pistons basketball courts.
- Team “Intern X” pitched “We Hustle for the Community” which encourages attendance to games in the Detroit neighborhoods through QR codes, free covid tests, and meet and greets/pick-up games, a “Hustle Different” social media challenge, and honoring healthcare workers as “Heroic Healthcare Hustlers”.
- Team “Detroit Hustlers” pitched a park clean-up day, a $1 million dollar scholarship program, and ticket giveaway which included 4 court-side seats and 500 general tickets.
We weren't expecting to have a winning team chosen for the internship experience but the Pistons decided to choose a winner and it was “313 Hustlers” - Shy’Niya and Sheree’s team! Wow, Wow, Wow!!
I would like to thank the Detroit Pistons (and Give Merit Board Member - Tyrel Kirkmam & former Give Merit Board Member - Erika Swilley) for hosting and supporting us throughout the process, and allowing our students to tour the facility and learn what the Pistons do outside of basketball. I would most importantly like to thank my team Paige and Shammah for leading and filling in the gaps, along with the FATE team who stepped in and made sure the students were prepared and had everything they needed to succeed! This was the perfect experience to have their senior and final year of high school!
- Erica Bender, Program Coordinator (2022 & 2023)
Check out our recap video below!
Credit: Allison Farrand (Photography) & Aaron Goodman (Photography & Videography)