Hello! My name is Danielle Duffie, and I'm a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA Member. I am serving the University of Michigan – Flint, at the Center for Educator Preparation. My role includes engaging in academic, enrollment, and retention support for K-12 students. In addition, I am responsible for creating a college-going culture and promoting college success for first generation college students. During the first couple months of my service, I was very nervous and frustrated. I was transitioning from the health field from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to an AmeriCorps VISTA Member in education. I had to switch gears. I had to realize I was still fulfilling my passion in helping people, but just switching to a different population.
The UM-Flint Center For Educator Preparation's (CEP) mission is to support the educational and field experiences of our educator preparation candidates, foster community partnerships, enhance continuous improvement efforts of all education programs, and celebrate the profession of education through a framework of equity, inclusion, and social justice. The CEP is the ground foundation of the UM-Flint Neff Center. The Neff Center is located in Beecher High School. Its purpose is to engage with the students and community.
In the few months I have been serving at the Neff Center I have attended many events and trainings which have helped me become more knowledgeable about college access. So far I have attended a Beecher basketball game with a table set-up, including different informational flyers advertising different scholarship, jobs, and future events. I also provide promotional materials explaining how to take advantage of the Neff Center's resources.
In the upcoming months, I will be hosting a pop-up FASFA session to help parents and students complete the FASFA application. I will be co-leading the SAT boot camp with the Future Leaders In Teaching (FLINT Project). This project helps engage and support the students and prepare them for the SAT test they will take in April 2019. I will be hosting a College, Career, and Skilled Trade Fair, which will be held in May 2019. This event will target 7th-11th grade students. My philosophy is that it’s never too early to prepare students for the future. I believe this opportunity will give our younger population of students great knowledge and insight about their future.
My goal as a Beecher alumna and an AmeriCorps VISTA is to bring more resources and opportunities to the Beecher community. I want to be the impact that shows the community they are not alone and there is help out there. When they have no one else, the Neff Center is a great resource. I can’t wait to see what the future of the program will bring.