“We must become the change we want to see in the world.” This famous quote by Gandhi encourages action and dedication to make this world a better place. The National AmeriCorps program is a grass roots lead-by-example opportunity for people to roll up their sleeves to do work that strengthens and empowers communities. Programs throughout the country exist to address relevant local issues from creating after-school programs to providing services to state and national parks, and AmeriCorps members are getting things done.
The Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps (MFPC) is just one of 24 Michigan AmeriCorps programs and works to serve and protect homeowners from losing their home due to foreclosure, a huge crisis in Michigan. Founded in 2009, MFPC members are hosted at various CEDAM member organizations throughout Michigan and provide intake services to clients and prepare them to see a financial counselor. While they are not employees of the host organizations, they are instead national service members. They are given a marginal living stipend to help make ends meet and are granted the Eli Segal Education Award upon completion of service to help them further their education or pay back student loans.
While the foreclosure crisis in Michigan is recovering, there is still more work to be done. During the last program year, the 20 members provided these services to over 11,000 clients and are truly an invaluable resource to their organizations and the communites in which they serve. Recently the MFPC welcomed the 2012-2013 class of members who will actively keep the momentum going to provide homeowners with the initial assistance that they need and prevent foreclosure.
The new class of the MFPC recently attended orientation at the Miracle Camp and Retreat Center in Lawton, MI to build a foundation of training and resources to approach this year with success and new relationships. Team-building exercises focused around the history of AmeriCorps, foreclosure prevention education, civic education and MFPC-specific trainings. Professionals from CEDAM, MSU Extension in Van Buren and Branch Counties, Home Repair Services in Kalamazoo, Michigan Community Service Commission and the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force shared valuable insight and expertise with members.
Eager to get started, the new group has hit the ground running. Over the course of their service year, look forward to reading a little bit more about each member’s personal experiences and stories through our guest blog posts.