“We empower people and strengthen community to inspire hope and build a brighter future.” That is the mission statement of TrueNorth Community Services, the non-profit that I, Sheena Threatt, am currently serving at as an AmeriCorps VISTA. We are located in Fremont, part of Newaygo County, a rural area that boasts beautiful lakes, rivers, wildlife, and some of the most absolute breathtaking scenery ever, and is the place that I have graciously called home for over thirty years. Even though this part of the “mitten state” may be known for its’ secretive treasures of beauty, it also contains significant poverty and a vast number of barriers to self-sufficiency that individuals and families face on a daily basis.
During my year of service here at TrueNorth, I am tasked with conducting research and assessment to identify gaps in employment services and establishing a program that addresses these gaps to help people build their skills and get jobs. This program, called TrueNorth Employment Access & Mentoring (TEAM), has a mission of bridging the gap between employers and potential employees by providing education, guidance, and empowerment. TEAM is a natural extension of TrueNorth’s client centered service delivery system, creating a relationship that inspires hope, self-confidence, and belief in the ability to become successful.
I have the privilege of working with the staff of TrueNorth and alongside the Volunteer Resource Center of Newaygo County, creating a community network of partnerships and collaborations, which includes; Michigan Works!, WE CAN! Newaygo County, Center for Nonprofit Housing, Western Regional Area Health Education Center (AHEC), and employers throughout the area. Together we will tackle social, economic, and educational disparities that resident’s face, by bringing the community together to get to the core of the causes and combining our resources to overcome them.
I have done an array of different things to help TEAM increase employability:
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!