Voices of AmeriCorps – Sarah Barnes “Serving the Community”

[This post is part of a blog series highlighting the viewpoints of AmeriCorps Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps members serving at different foreclosure host sites around Michigan. Click here for information about the program.]

Serving the Community in One of the Hardest Hit States

Certainly, it is easy to get caught up in the negative climate created by the current state of Michigan’s economy. When reporting on Michigan’s high rate of unemployment and home foreclosures, the media focus is all too often directed at the devastating impact of this reality. What many don’t know, however, is that there are several individuals and organizations actively working to help Michigan and its citizens survive and rebound from these hard economic times.

I am proud to be part of the effort, serving as the AmeriCorps member for the Center for Financial Health (CFH) in Lansing. CFH is one of the many non-profit agencies in Michigan devoted to combating the foreclosure crisis and educating residents about homeownership and financial fitness. As this agency’s AmeriCorps member, my primary role is to handle new client intake and provide community outreach resources. Though my participation in AmeriCorps, I have had the opportunity to meet several activists, volunteers, and fellow members that share in my commitment to support, educate and assist the community where I serve. AmeriCorps has opened the door to many opportunities as well. I recently attended the CEDAM sponsored Vibrant Neighborhoods training where a variety of speakers stimulated discussion about the revitalizing of neighborhoods and talent in Michigan. It is amazing to learn about all the agencies that are out there that continue to make Michigan a great place to live, work and serve.

As I continue my service year, I hope to help CFH grow, reaching more households and providing support for those homeowners already using our services. As CFH transitions into a new office space in the upcoming months, my goal is to recruit and engage volunteers, furthering our commitment to community service and support. I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great team, both with AmeriCorps and the Center for Financial Health.