In our newest additions to our Membership Spotlight series, CEDAM will be featuring organizations across the state where our AmeriCorps VISTA members are serving communities.
The Lakeshore Resource Network
“The organization was designed by the community to help us all work together to better serve our local families in need.”
On the coast of Lake Michigan sits the city of Ludington. While a beautiful city, those in the area face a number of challenges, with poverty and the working poor being a huge concern. It is also a rural area, and challenges come along with this as well, including transportation and consistent work. In all these areas, this is where the Lakeshore Resource Network (LRN) comes in to help.
The LRN is not only important, but vital to community members. Board member Monica Schuyler says this is because “it is empowering the community. The organization was designed by the community to help us all work together to better serve our local families in need.” Within the network’s building, they house offices for the Lakeshore Food Club, Pennies from Heaven Foundation, the United Way of Mason County, MIWorks West Central, Staircase Youth Services, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and True North Community Services, along with work stations for a number of other organizations. It aims to be a one stop shop for any needs the community has. While this is certainly admirable, it is also a huge job. As Schuyler puts it, “No one person at our foundation or in the community could dedicate themselves full time to help develop and expand the LRN.”
AmeriCorps VISTA member Sarah McMahon Joins the Team
“[…] it takes a special person to leave a career working over 60 hours a week in order to serve their community, but Sarah McMahon did just that.”
That is, until they applied for an AmeriCorps VISTA member. As proposed by John F. Kennedy, VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) was founded in 1964 to combat poverty and has a strong commitment to capacity building for nonprofits. It sounds cliche, but AmeriCorps is a calling. There is a living stipend, but members are compensated with an educational award, practical experience and a nationwide support network. Regardless of the compensation, it takes a special person to leave a career working over 60 hours a week in order to serve their community, but Sarah McMahon did just that.
McMahon says “I joined AmeriCorps because I was looking for a career change. I wanted to be a change maker and I had an opportunity in my hometown to make a difference.” As an AmeriCorps VISTA member at LRN, McMahon has done various types of work, including “[putting] ideas into action, fine tuning policies and procedures and taking time to meet with [various community members].” McMahon is doing everything from picking out the refrigerators for the food pantry to writing grant applications for multimodal transportation in Ludington. Board member Schuyler continues by saying they are grateful to have her. “Sarah in particular came on board because she loved the idea of the LRN, and it is clear she is passionate about the work and wants to make a difference in the community.”
To hear more from McMahon about the Lakeshore Resource Network, click here. If you’re interested in learning more about AmeriCorps and the VISTA program, click here. We’d like to thank Monica Schuyler, Sarah McMahon and the Lakeshore Resource Network for their cooperation in writing this blog.
Membership Spotlight are blogs highlighting the great work that our member organizations do within their communities. If you are a CEDAM member and would like to be featured, please contact Lisa Assenmacher at firstname.lastname@example.org.