Good afternoon readers!
It is my last few days here in Lansing working on the Michigan Rural Network, as my AmeriCorps term of service is coming to an end. Looking back, I have been very happy to have this opportunity to get to know so many great organizations and the people who compose them.
I think we were able to do some great things this year that will help the MRN be an effective resource for rural community development in the future. Through fully integrating with CEDAM’s activities and programs and finding new ways to partner with the Rural Partners of Michigan, we have been able to create strong partnerships that will help expand our reach and resources further than it ever could by ourselves. We were able to pass an official Strategic Plan that lays out a 5 year plan for further development and accountability within the Network. I have been able to convene working groups that have brought in new members and interest into the Network and will be able to complete projects in the future.
I have read a lot about how small towns and rural areas are facing an uphill battle. Costs for providing community development services are increasing and budgets are shrinking. On the upside, I have met so many individuals that are hard to bet against this year. To make it rural community development, you have to be creative, sharp and passionate. Our Network is full of such people. It will be an uphill battle, but I think rural Michigan has the right people to come out on top.
Again, thank you for your help, patience and support this year as I tried to help grow the Michigan Rural Network. I am moving on to another AmeriCorps position at the Center for Community Progress in Flint, where I will help provide technical assistance and capacity building to land banks across the state.
Thanks and take care,