Hello everyone! It’s Kye blogging from Flint. Last time, I wrote about the Water Crisis. Although it’s a super messed up situation, things are starting to turn around. Citizens are starting to learn about capacity-building and how they can have an impact in their city. Also, there is an NCCC team stationed here that works with water distribution. #GetThingsDone
My mind is still pumped from our Russ Mawby project in Flint. I had nothing to do with the planning, but I am very satisfied with our project. Our SSP was hosted at Brownell-Holmes STEM Academies, which is where I spend half of my week. Our SSP was a Community Fun Day that had campus beautification occurring at the same time.
We were broken up into multiple teams. Direct service members handled activity stations with families and community members. We had a group who built benches that will be installed throughout campus. A group did work in our hoop house. There was a group that painted the bollards, and another group that did trash pick-up.
My team did trash pick-up. It was not too exciting. Trash is trash. We collected 40 bags of trash. We learned that the community has been using the school campus as a dumping ground. As we collected trash, we brainstormed ways that we can change the culture of how the neighborhood treats the school grounds. Although we didn’t get every piece of trash, the work that we did still made the campus look better than what it did.
As we were cleaning, families saw us. Many walked across the field just to ask us what we were doing. Many of them thanked us, although no one offered to help. For me, it was rewarding to be thanked. Seldom do I get thanked for my service. Many community members had no clue what AmeriCorps was, so their praise for my service became a platform to explain who we are.
My most memorable conversation was explaining to someone what ‘capacity-building’ means. Mrs. Edwards is a retired teacher from Brownell. She’s the president of the neighborhood block club. She’s pumped about Community Education and spreads our success throughout the neighborhood. She asked so many questions about AmeriCorps. She heard me say “capacity-building” about four times before she stopped me to tell her what I meant. As I began to explain it to her, she gasped and screamed, “So y’all aren’t gonna be here anymore?!?” I shook my head.
In that moment, she began to whine and complain about how nobody is going to do it if we don’t do it. She starting saying how we make the school a better place. I had to stop her. I had to remind her that she started the neighborhood block club last summer and how much impact she’s had since. I had to show her how she builds capacity for her own neighborhood. I had to tell her that it takes people like her to find people like me to make Flint a better place.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!