StoryCorps Detroit: “Much better than everything people said you were”

Jennifer Smith is the founder of Closing the Gap, a nonprofit that uses personalized mentorship to help Detroit students enter and make their way through college. At a college fair, high school senior Ruletta Street caught her eye.


Ruletta Street and her mentor Jennifer Smith.

Street entered into foster care as a teenager, was transferred from school to school, and didn’t have the best grades. The day she met Jennifer Smith, Street told her she wanted to graduate and go to college.

Smith took Street under her wing and became her mentor. Now Street is a senior at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

In this excerpt of her interview with her mentor, Ruletta Street realizes how far she’s come.

Click on the player at the top of this page to hear the interview. You can hear a longer version by downloading the first episode of the StoryCorps Detroit podcast here or wherever you listen. You can also explore more StoryCorps Detroit stories online here.


Ruletta Street holds the photo that her mentor showed her during their interview.

The StoryCorps Detroit music is by Sam Beaubien.

Image credit: StoryCorps

This post is a part of StoryCorps Detroit.

Giving people of all backgrounds the opportunity to record meaningful conversations, StoryCorps seeks to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.​ StoryCorps Detroit showcases interviews that were recorded when the MobileBooth stopped in at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the summer of 2017. Those conversations are podcast here.



About the Author

Laura Herberg

Community Reporter

Through sound-rich storytelling, Herberg covers stories about the people inhabiting the metro Detroit region and the issues that affect them. Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter 2018 and 2017.

Follow @HerbergRadio

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