Blog - Rebuilding Together

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Alexis’ AmeriCorps Experience

This service year has been a rollercoaster, full of highs and lows. With every new movement I felt a sense of growth and achievement. Throughout the year I have had the pleasure to travel to travel to; Tacoma Washington, St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana. I have interacted with 300 or more Homeowners from processing applications, meeting them in the office, assisting at outreach events and answering the phones. Working with homeowners has been beyond humbling and emotional. Some homeowners have brought me to tears with their words of advice, their stories and their commitment to community. Talking with volunteers has reminded me that no matter how successful I become I will always make time to give back. The beginning of my term went from spending each day around inspirational people, to working from home every day. In this pandemic I have come to see that Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan does very well with supporting its staff and making sure to never stop serving the community, even when the office is closed.

The staff at Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan has become an extended family who have helped me become a more professionally rounded person. Working under the leadership of Halie Black has been amazing and inspirational. Halie is innovative, knowledgeable and full of passion, she has inspired me to stay involved in the nonprofit sector and eventually begin my own in the far future. Working under the supervision of Chris Perkins has improved my research skills, broaden my resources in the city of Detroit and inspired me to be more knowledgeable. Chris has been the most knowledgeable, patient and trusting supervisor. His ability to assign new task to challenge and also improve our skills in the office was impeccable, especially in the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally working under Mike Hurst was exciting, I honestly felt like Mike kept everyone on their toes in the office. With his overall expertise, and patience to not just show the final product, but to teach how to do new task, has definitely made me feel as if I need to love whatever work that I do, so when I do that work it is always done well.

I think one of the most important parts to mention about my entire service year was working alongside Emma Steele. We both came into our service year fresh from college graduation and were in similar spaces in life. Emma was someone I could confide in, bounce ideas off of and just relate to in general. So, to everyone I had the pleasure to meet and learn from thank you for this experience.

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Emma’s AmeriCorps Experience

     Being the AmeriCorps Outreach Coordinator for Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan (RTSEM) was my first “grownup” job. I started the position right out of college and I had never worked full time or in an office environment before. Due to this being a relatively new experience for me, at the cusp of my term, I honestly didn’t have many expectations. All I had was the hope I’d get to do meaningful community service and become more involved in the community around me. Looking back at my experience, I would say that my expectations were met although not necessarily in the ways I thought they would be. Even though my term didn’t go entirely how I thought it would, I can certainly say that I got to be involved in meaningful community service.

     Out of everything I did in the past 10 and a half months, I take the most pride in my service project. I created and led cultural awareness training with our house captains. It’s something I feel will hopefully stay around at RTSEM after I’ve moved on and it makes me glad to know I may have left some impact behind. Aside from my own personal work, other amazing highlights of my term were working with and getting to know my co-workers, attending outreach events, meeting community members, and being able to travel to new places and meet fantastic and inspirational people. Some of my favorite memories in the past year of my life happened on Rebuilding Together sanctioned trips with my fellow CapacityCorps members. I feel so thankful to have met all of them and that I know I have a network within them moving forward.  

   Like most people, I didn’t expect a massive global pandemic. In terms of my job, that resulted in me serving from home for just under half of my term and that most of RTSEM’s build days were canceled. While I can’t lie and say that it wasn’t disappointing, these changes forced me to learn new things and focus on tasks that I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t working remotely. I was able to grow my knowledge and ability to manage our social media accounts, create outreach literature that can be used in the future, and research demographic and outreach data in our service area. 

    Overall, I am grateful for the experience I had, the skills I gained, and the people that I met along the way. I will be leaving AmeriCorps with a greater understanding of non-profit organizations, housing security, and a great network of people that I know I can reach out to. The lessons I learned throughout these past 10 and a half months will definitely stick with me for a long time.

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Rolling List of Community Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Although being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many of us uncertainty, what we know for sure is that hope is still alive and well within the communities of Southeast Michigan. Individuals, businesses, and organizations alike are working together to provide people with the resources they need during a difficult period in time. We are actively searching for these resources and will be compiling a list of them below as we find them. Please follow the links provided to find more detailed information on these programs. 

If you know of any resources that should be added to this list leave a comment or email them to outreachrtsem@gmail.com. Thank you!

Last Update: April 2, 2020 11:30am

Breakfast & lunch programs for all children 18 years and younger: 

Breakfast & lunch programs for children 18 years and younger or adults with disabilities who are under 26 years old: 

Breakfast & lunch programs for students of the district: 

Other Food Resources:

Resources for Non-Food Goods: 

  • Farmington Schools Giving Boxes (toiletries, hygiene items, etc):  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YY8Til4G9Tog6AvDN7gG3ScFZ8_2vKr5UNYUVCPVH10/edit
  • Detroit Water Restart – Restart running water at your home if it has been shut off due to non-payment. 
    • Call (313) 386 – 9727 to inquire.
    • The $25 restart fee will be waived & you won’t have to pay back payments until the pandemic is over. You only need to pay for the current months. 
  • Free Detroit Department of Transportation services (fees are waived) – Effective as of March 18, 2020
  • Oakland County Help Hotline: (248) 858-1000
    • Call for help with non-health related needs such as food or housing assistance. 
    • Hours: Everyday, 8am-8pm
  • United Way Hotline: 2-1-1
    • Call if you need help accessing essential resources during this time of crisis.
    • Hours: 24/7
  • COVID313: https://covid313.org/
    • Online guide for Detroit families in response to COVID-19. 

Health Resources: 

  • Beaumont COVID-19 Health Hotline: (248) 551-7000
    • Call if you are experiencing symptoms before seeking in-person help. 
    • Hours: M – F 7am-7pm, Sat/Sun 10am-6pm
  • DMC Afterhours Hotline: 1 (888) DMC-3370
    • Call with any questions you have about the virus. 
    • Hours: Everyday, 5pm-8am
  • Wayne County Information Hotline: (734) 287-7870
    • Call for information about COVID-19 
    • Hours: M-F 8am-5pm
  • Mental Health tips during the COVID-19 Outbreak by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/

 

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MLK Jr. Week of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The legacy left behind by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a legacy of selflessness and impact. AmeriCorps MLK Week of Service embodied the legacy through providing us the opportunity to work on homeowner’s projects, introducing us to local politicians, allowing fellowship, sharing the history of New Orleans and making us feel a part of the community that we were serving. To experience culture, community, and connection at The MLK Week of Service with my AmeriCorps family was an eye-opening experience that expanded my horizon.

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An AmeriCorps Week of Service in New Orleans

   

       Last week, all of the Rebuilding Together AmeriCorps members had the unique opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana and complete a week of service in honor of MLK jr. Day of Service and Solidarity. All of the AmeriCorps members that began their terms in August were reunited in a new city after not seeing each other since orientation. It was a week of food, friendship, new sites, and of course, service.

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Announcement: Expansion into Detroit’s 4th District

In 2018, Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan was evolved from Rebuilding Together Oakland County as part of a multi-year strategic plan to include Wayne and Macomb Counties to our service area. Starting small, we were welcomed into the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood where we completed our first Detroit projects. Today, we are incredibly excited to announce that we will now be accepting applications from all of City Council District 4 in Detroit. Our vision of service area expansion is growing and we couldn’t be happier.

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The 2019 Rebuilding Together Training Institute

       On the weekend of November 14th, the entire Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan (RTSEM) staff had the privilege of attending the 2019 Rebuilding Together Training Institute (RTTI)  in St. Louis, Missouri. RTTI is a national progressive training where all of the Rebuilding Together affiliates throughout the nation get the opportunity to learn, network, and grow together through special workshops and programs chosen by the Rebuilding Together national office.

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A Busy Day of [Re]Building

          October 19th, 2019 was a very busy day for Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan and Christ Church Grosse Pointe. Simultaneously, volunteers from both organizations worked together to rebuild not one, not two, but three homes in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood of Detroit. 

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A Day of Neighborhood Beautification

          Neighborhood organizations unified on Saturday, September 21st when Jefferson East, Inc and Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan teamed up to work in Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. The purpose of this workday was to work on the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) Neighborhood Enhancement Program by doing projects that help beautify the neighborhood. 

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The Rebuilding Together Volunteer Experience: Giving a Hand Up

           On Wednesday, September 11th, Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan partnered with Wells Fargo to do home repairs on homeowner Darlene’s home in Madison Heights. With a team 15 volunteers strong, we had a productive and fun day working together on the cherished home. Overall, we successfully landscaped the front and back yards, cleaned the walls and ceiling in the kitchen, replaced the bathroom floor, vanity, and mirror, repaired the shed, replaced the kitchen fan and light, and added an address plaque. For house captain of the project, Joann, this is her fourth year of volunteering with Rebuilding Together. As house captain, she held various responsibilities in making the volunteer day happen and run smoothly.

Welcome, Emma!

A Word From Emma

         Hello to the Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan community! My name is Emma and I’ll be serving with Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan for the next ten and a half months as an AmeriCorp Outreach Coordinator. Many people wonder why I would want to do an AmeriCorp service year. To answer that, during university, I really found my home through service organizations. Within those organizations, I became dedicated and passionate about doing meaningful strong direct service, being involved in my community, and working towards being an active citizen. So following my graduation, AmeriCorps seemed like it might just be the perfect fit for me. I joined hoping that it would give me a genuine opportunity to bring those values with me into the “real world”. Although I’ve only just completed my national Rebuilding Together orientation, I feel confident that this position will allow me to do that.  

Welcome Alexis!

A Word From Alexis

         I am Alexis Bruce a recent college graduate from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Urban and Regional Studies. Growing up near Detroit’s Historic Boston-Edison District where there was an extreme diversity in housing and housing issues, I have always been intrigued by housing in Detroit. Throughout my college career, I have worked with organizations such as Detroit Eviction Defense and Habitat for Humanity, where I was exposed to some of the hardship that homeowner’s faced which furthered my interest in housing. With observation, experience, and research I began looking for an organization that I could join to help relieve some of the housing issues in my community. This brought me to AmeriCorps Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan. 

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Address

27840 Independence Street

Building 2

Farmington Hills

MI 48336

Phone

Oakland County : 248-482-8061

Wayne County :  313-766-4010

rtsemoffice@gmail.com 

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Copyright 2020 Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan. All rights reserved.