Hello everyone. My name is Naomi Coleman, a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA as an Outreach Coordinator with Atlantic Impact. My service assignments include providing outreach for program recruitment, volunteer recruitment, host events for student educational enrichment such as mock interviews, skilled trades introductions, assisting in creating a plan for the 2021-2022 school year among other things.
The mission of Atlantic Impact is to provide Detroit high school students future academic and economic opportunities through college prep programs, future employment preparedness sessions, and cultural enrichment through international travel. Through these methods, the organization hopes to use education and cultural enrichment to promote economic growth in the city. Through the term, I hope to gain more experience and knowledge in regard to outreach as well as general professional development.
During my first few weeks at my host site, I was introduced to the beginnings of what I will be doing during this term. I also started learning about different applications for office use and how outreach is done at the host site. Due to the different ways, they do outreach compared to the ways I’ve done it before, it took me a while to get into the groove of things. Some of those things are the language used for emails to represent Atlantic Impact and finding the balance between being formal and informal when emailing those outside the organization. So, my main concern is getting over the hump ‘and going above and beyond with my VAD duties.
What I’m excited about the most for my term is learning more about setting up trips, or at least learning how to coordinate them during the quarantine. Hopefully, we’ll be able to travel soon in 2022.
My name is Hakeem Weatherspoon and I am a first-year AmeriCorps VISTA member. I currently serve at Detroit Horse Power. It is not just all about horses and the youth. When I think about the work we do at Detroit Horse Power, it has multiple ways of planting development within the community. We cultivate for our future by expanding the youth through our social emotional learning programs. Our five character traits, perseverance, empathy, responsible risk-taking, confidence, and self-control, embodies and supports DHP's mission.
When I discuss the work DHP has done and what it plans to do for the city of Detroit, community residents and leaders get excited about what they hear. The funniest thing is when you talk about youth and horses to adults -- I find myself being asked, is there any opportunities for the parents to be in these programs? Unfortunately, I have to say no, but what gets me so ramped up is that the parents would still be willing to give their children opportunities they might not have had when they were younger. This is where the magic happens. At times, I reflect on my conversations when I've spoken to people who haven't seen a horse and wouldn't know the first thing about keeping one as a pet. If you ask me, going door to door throughout the neighborhood, finding those people, is another way I've been assisting Detroit Horse Power to fulfill their mission.
Throughout my service year thus far, I've learned that expanding opportunities and communities through the youth of Detroit has been a double edged experience. On one hand, the community benefits from having a partnership with an equestrian led program. On the other hand, the people who are putting on the boots to keep this organization running will always have their hands full with new experiences as we work to expand our programs and operations.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!