July 9, 2012


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What I love most about my self-created job with The People of Detroit, is I get to introduce the rest of the world to Detroiters who are like me... but better.  Jack VanDyke is a bicyclist. That's the "like me." Jack VanDyke also donates a significant amount of time and resources to nurturing the development of children to which he is genetically unrelated. That's the "but better."

Jack is a member of The Hub of Detroit, a bike shop and cycling outreach collective dedicated to  increasing community access to bicycling, promoting bicycle-related sustainability practices, and youth development programs. Their Mechanics in Training program is a paid internship program that gives 14- to 18-year-olds the opportunity to learn about bike repair and then gain real-world job experience in the Hub's retail shop.


In a city where public transportation is less than comprehensive and in a world where petroleum is fated to become exponentially more scarce and less affordable, it is utterly necessary to show young people that bicycles are a sustainable, cost-effective, healthy, and – most importantly – fun way to get around.

I am so impressed by The Hub's vision, that it inspires me to imagine my own future. I imagine a future self that is infinitely more patient with children. Despite there being absolutely no evolutionary advantage to doing so, Future Noah volunteers significant time mentoring hundreds of children that he did not father.

With his betterment complete, Future Noah may even take a picture of himself and tell you all about it.

Noah -

Noah Stephens  founded The People of Detroit Photodocumentary in April 2010 as a counterpoint to media fixated on despair and disrepair in the storied birthplace of American auto manufacturing. Since, TPOD has received national and international attention. Portraits from the project have appeared in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other national publications. 

In early 2011, a creative director saw the project online and hired Noah to shoot an ad campaign for McDonald's Corporation in Shanghai, China. 

The People of Detroit Photodocumentary is funded in part by a grant from CEOS for Cities and the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation.

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