I speak for many Detroit-area residents when I say it was a big loss when LaTrice Jordan, Matrix Human Services vice president of marketing and development, announced in August that she had resigned and moved to Illinois to accept a job from the International America Medical Mission. This new position will give LaTrice a larger platform to serve people, a childhood passion she says she acquired from her mother.
LaTrice has helped me immensely, as she has others. But before I get to that, a little bit more about her.
A Detroit native and product of Cooley High School, LaTrice served more than 25,000 Detroiter-area residents in her role at Matrix Human Services, a nonprofit organization that help residents obtain education, jobs, houses and more. Also during her tenure at Matrix, she initiated the Curtis and Dollie Childs Senior Adoption Program, in which members of the community adopt and spend time with senior citizens during the holidays.
LaTrice’s service to Detroit extends beyond her regular job responsibilities as her community work has awarded her many recognitions, including the 2015 Woman of Excellence Award from the Michigan Chronicle, the 2015 Spirit Award from the Detroit City Council, and a nomination for the NAACP Hometown Hero Award.
I personally benefited from LaTrice’s benevolent acts. I met her in January of 2014 when I began a six-month internship at Matrix as a part of a partnership between Matrix and Wayne County Community College’s federal work study program. And although I didn’t recognize it at the time, my young college student status presented LaTrice with yet another opportunity to help.
She found out I was an aspiring journalist and arranged for me to have lunch with Detroit Free Press reporters. She arranged for me to sit in on a production of WDIV-TV Local 4’s Live in the D, where I met the producer Randy Henry, investigative journalist Karen Drew, and many more Local 4’s news reporters and anchors. She connected me to more influential members of the Detroit community, including retired Deputy Mayor Isaiah “Ike” McKinnon.
But making connections for me simply wasn’t enough for LaTrice. That summer she paid for my final three classes at WCCCD, which allowed me to complete my associates degree just in time for me to transfer to Western Michigan University in the fall.
“One day I’m going to get a good job, and I’m going to pay you back,” I told her.
“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “Just promise that you will continue the cycle and help pave the way for others.”
Today, as I hold on to my bachelor’s degree and prepare to enter my second year of graduate studies at WMU, I must personally and publicly thank LaTrice for her unconditional commitment and service to Detroit.
Although LaTrice Jordan no longer lives in the city, I know Detroit will always be in her heart.