LIVONIA, MICH. – In a heartwarming celebration of community service, Saif Alsenad, a proud 2015 criminal justice alumnus, was recently awarded the Trailblazer Award by the NAACP Western Wayne County chapter. This recognition highlights Alsenad's contributions to the community and his commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.
"I was full of joy and mixed emotions," Alsenad said of the award. "because the path to success is never easy. You encounter challenges and setbacks, and it can be an emotional journey. It took a few seconds to understand the significance of the award, and I was extremely humbled to be chosen as a trailblazer."
Alsenad's journey to becoming a trailblazer has been marked with challenges, setbacks, determination, and strength. He started at Henry Ford College and later enrolled in Madonna University's criminal justice program. One of the toughest challenges for Alsenad was his father being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and his subsequent passing. Balancing personal responsibilities with academics wasn’t easy, but Alsenad was determined to achieve his goals and honor his father's memory.
Reflecting on how his work aligns with the mission of the Trailblazer Award, Alsenad emphasized the award is all about the people. “When you are born with the idea of helping people, it comes naturally,” he said. “Madonna gives the foundation, but it's up to you to build. Giving back to the community that raised me is a major driving force for me."
In his current role as the Wayne County Community Relations Ombudsman for the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART, Alsenad connects people to work, educational institutions, employers, and public transportation – ensuring that people have access to reliable transportation, and improving transit education.
Alsenad's academic journey was significantly shaped by one of his favorite professors, Tara Kane, dean of the School of Business and program director of the Masters in Criminal Justice and Leadership Intelligence. He praised her for her relatable teaching style and for providing a strong foundation for his education. "Her knowledge and wisdom were so real that we would listen to her stories and be amazed at the experiences she shared. She was someone you could talk to, and her dynamic approach was not just about the textbook, but also about real-life experiences."
He encouraged students to savor the journey, enjoy the experiences, and embrace the entire educational process. He stressed the importance of patience and the value of the college experience, reminding students that it's an irreplaceable time in their lives.
Saif Alsenad's path from Madonna to the Trailblazer Award serves as an inspiration and a reminder that everyone can change lives when committed to the betterment of the community.