Changing of the AmeriCorps Guard
2012-2013 members at the end of year training.

Believe it or not, Halloween is the final day of the 2012-2013 Michigan Foreclosure Prevention Corps program year! Most members finished their terms on October 2, but a few who started their terms a bit later finish today. During my first year as program director it has been a true honor to watch the members grow as non-profit professionals during the year. MFPC members have hosted community events, created financial literacy trainings, built strong partnership and helped thousands of at-risk homeowners understand the resources available to them during a very difficult time. In addition, members have tackled tasks that weren’t original parts of the position description. I was very impressed with how members handled the rush of Step Forward applications in early 2013 and hosting Money Smart Week events throughout the state. Many of the members also attended the MSHDA housing counselor certification training and most passed with flying colors. I couldn’t be more proud of what the group accomplished this year.

By the numbers, MFPC members…

  •  Served 6,343 new clients;
  •  Assisted with completing 1,727 applications for Step Forward Michigan;
  • Provided financial literacy classes to 1,104 clients, 86% of whom reported an increase in financial knowledge;
  • Recruited 83 volunteers who served 1,128 hours; and
  • Attended 207 community events and hosted 59 events of their own.
2013-2014 MFPC Members at orientation

While I’m sad to see the former members end their terms, it has been a pleasure to get to know the new members. The year kicked off with orientation on October 23-25 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, MI. The Kettunen Center is a small conference center set on a lake in beautiful northern Michigan. MFPC members enjoyed the natural setting even though it snowed every day during the orientation!

The three-day training included presentations from Jeanine Yard, the MFPC program officer from the Michigan Community Service Commission. Jeanine presented on AmeriCorps 101 and Managing Stress as an AmeriCorps member. In addition, Tracie Coffman, Michigan Foreclosure Task Force Coordinator provided a comprehensive look at the role of MFPC members vs. foreclosure counselors, foreclosure law in Michigan and provided advice on to handle common situations on day two.  On day three, trainers Jane Hart and Shannon Lindquist from Michigan State University Extension presented on professionalism and boundaries. In addition, Tami Farnum from Community Action Agency in Jackson made the trek north to speak on budgeting and understanding your credit score. Finally CEDAM’s own Lisa Benck topped off the training by providing information on how to get started with marketing and outreach.

Relaxing after a long day of orientation

However, the training wasn’t all work and no play. MFPC members attended an excellent team building session on Wednesday night that was facilitated by Kettunen Center staff. The session had everyone laughing and getting to know each other! The original plan for Thursday evening was to have a bonfire. Due to snowy conditions, we opted for a game night inside the lodge complete with toasting s’mores over the fireplace inside. Concluding the training was an ice cream social donated by the Kettunen Center. Members left the training full of sugar and ready for the long drive home!