Blog - Rebuilding Together
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am committed to national service, so I was excited to learn about an opportunity to serve in Southeast Michigan with Rebuilding Together. I saw the position as a chance to get more involved in the community and make a positive impact near my hometown. As the client coordinator with Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan, I speak with prospective clients, process applications, and arrange home inspections.
I had never heard of AmeriCorps before happening upon the posting for Rebuilding Together Southeast Michigan. I was working at a mortgage company, a position I took out of college, and I knew that I needed to make a change. I was unhappy with the work that I was doing, it was monotonous, boring, unchallenging. I envisioned myself 5, 10 years down the line, completely unsatisfied with my professional life. When I saw the posting for Outreach Coordinator here at RTSEM, I thought that this was the perfect opportunity for me. A 10.5-month program, it would allow me to explore and industry while I still had the time and flexibility to take such a position.
Talk is one thing, actually doing it is a completely different animal. All year at the office we talk about National Rebuilding Day. Most of the work that we do on a day to day basis, vetting applications, inspecting homes for potential projects, even the social media posts we make, point towards Rebuilding Day. While it is not our singular goal, it is the most important event that we have in the year. I had never experienced a Rebuilding Day before this year, and to be able to witness it was something special that I will not soon forget.
For MLK Week, AmeriCorps members from Rebuilding Together affiliates from across the country gathered for a week of service in New Orleans. It was an opportunity for us to serve our neighbors across the country, reflect on the impact of Dr. King, and so much more. It was a wonderful week full of introspection and teamwork. We AmeriCorps members were reunited with each other, having all met in August 2018 for training in Washington, D.C. Seeing all of these familiar faces during this week strengthened the bond that we established during that week in Washington. For the week, the AmeriCorps members were divided into three groups to do home repairs for three different families, two houses that needed to be completely repainted, and one house where a wheelchair ramp was being built for a disabled veteran.