by Angie Pollema, Michigan AmeriCorps Foreclosure Prevention Corps AmeriCorps Member
AmeriCorps has a reputation and tradition that precedes itself and before I entered my term of service in October, I was not ignorant of that truth. Having helped others for more than a decade, I was eager to begin my term of service with AmeriCorps. I was excited to become a part of a tradition, a part of something larger than myself.
Learning the foreclosure process and the options that are now available to families across the state of Michigan has been an interesting ride. There are policies and procedures, red tape to maneuver through and desperate callers on the other end of the line. Despite all the work for the small living stipend, what matters most is the self-worth that being in AmeriCorps provides. The value that comes when I see the look of relief on someone’s face when they realize they can focus on their family, while their counselor fights on their behalf is what makes this experience worth it. I’m no longer leaving my job at the end of the day, bored from another day of mindless work; what I do matters. These experiences have grown to be clearer as the holiday season falls upon us. It’s a time to give thanks for the many blessings that we are given everyday.
One of those blessings is the ability to help keep families in their home. Among all the sales and shopping, what really matters most are what the Foreclosure Corps deals with everyday. Yesterday a woman told me through tear-stained eyes that thanks to us, her children would have a Christmas this year. She had been so worried that they would not have a safe, warm place to sleep. The holiday season was essentially absent in her mind, in the midst of all those concerns.
That was just one of the stories I have experienced in my short time serving for AmeriCorps and as the holiday season approaches, will encourage me and those around me, to count our blessings.
Angie Pollema is an AmeriCorps member at the Inner City Christian Federation in Grand Rapids
This post is part of a blog series highlighting the viewpoints of Michigan AmeriCorps Foreclosure Prevention Corps members serving at different foreclosure host sites around Michigan. View information about the program or see more stories in this series.