Community Development Practitioner Spotlight! See the career and education trajectory of Kayana Sessoms, Program Director at Osborn Neighborhood Alliance

I’m an 80’s baby who was born in Detroit and grew up in a non-traditional household with my grandmother and mother. They were my first role models and super heroes. At a young age, my mom recognized that I was very outspoken. This outspokenness carried over into my elementary/middle/ high school and college years. I remember being 5 years old standing up in public spaces sharing out the universal message of love. I recall one time I was dressed in my Sunday dress after church and pointing to people in a restaurant saying “God loves you and you and I love you.. We need to help each other…. and love one another” in my high pitched voice. Little did I know this was just the beginning of me developing my voice and passion for helping people in communities at home and around the world. After receiving my B.A. in Sociology from Oakland University, I decided to travel parts of the world but and found myself in Africa. I desired to gain a better understanding of the disparities in developing countries and the similarities they have to vulnerable cities in the US. Upon returning to the states I found myself running a service learning program at Osborn High School teaching the same message I was sharing as a young child. I fell deeply in love with the youth and residents in the Osborn Community and wanted to advocate on a higher level than what I was able to do within the school walls. That is how I found myself, in 2012, serving on the board for ONA for 4 years and then transitioning to working full time here as the Program Director in 2016.