When I walked into the interview for my AmeriCorps position, I knew absolutely nothing about foreclosure and, to be quite frank, I wasn’t too interested in it. Granted, I was thrilled for the opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps member and even more excited to help out, right here in my community, but as an International Relations graduate fresh out of college, dealing with foreclosure didn’t exactly top my list of interests.
The first couple months as an AmeriCorps member were confusing, to say the least. My head was spinning with thousands of acronyms, formulas, definitions, policies and procedures that I wasn’t even sure I could learn everything I needed to in my year of service, let alone make an impact in my community. However, after I was tossed into the mix and starting dealing with clients, I surprised myself at the information that was coming out of my mouth. I was able to explain the foreclosure process in Michigan, discuss the Step Forward Program, and query about a client’s 30-day letter, all of which I knew nothing about a few months prior.
As I became accustomed to the flow of things and began getting to know my clients and co-workers (and what my position actually was), I slowly began to see the difference I was making. The actions were often subtle, from sending a fax for a counselor or following up with an existing client, but the outcomes translated into far bigger things, such as getting a client approved for a modification, or giving a counselor time to eat lunch and take a breath. I realized that just because I wasn’t moving mountains every day didn’t mean I wasn’t making a difference because I most definitely was.
I became involved with AmeriCorps because I wanted to help people and I wanted to do something that would make a difference and I feel great knowing that AmeriCorps members are doing that every single day, all across the country. It is true that wherever there is a need, there is almost always an AmeriCorps member nearby to help solve it. Serving with the Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps, seeing the relief in the clients you are impacting, and being part of something bigger has made being an AmeriCorps member one of the best experiences of my life.
Amanda Crissinger is an AmeriCorps member at Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency in Traverse City.
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.