I am saddened to be writing a farewell note to you. My time with the Accelerator and as Chief Service Officer has come to a close. The last four years have left a powerful imprint on my personal and professional perspectives of community development, citizen engagement and workforce development. We have accomplished so much! Since 2011 within Greater Flint, the city has benefited from on average of 22 full-time national service members per year – and growing (we’re up to about 33). It has been my privilege to assist them and their organizations to create and sustain huge impact.
These members have recruited 2,500+ volunteers to assist with area youth development, housing, environmental stewardship, preparedness, and more. Due to their efforts, for example, more than 8,000 Genesee youth have been provided health, nutrition, math, science and literacy education as well as mentoring. More than 1,500 high school seniors were provided college readiness support, 250+ families provided housing solutions and so, so much more! These numbers just begin to scratch the surface of the true impact on each life touched, trajectories changed and capacity built.
Additionally, through 2014 Cities of Service resident volunteering more than 1,500 households were made safer, 107+ City of Flint residential blocks revitalized, 292 previously blighted properties cleared and more than 116 green spaces or gardens created. Astonishingly, more than 2.155 million pounds of trash were removed, 40 houses boarded and more than 17,000 sq ft. of graffiti removed. This was accomplished all through citizen action and volunteerism! “It takes a village” and I can truly speak to the power of our block club and neighborhood associations. I will never forget the camaraderie, blood, sweat and occasional tears we’ve shared together over the course of this project.
I cannot express my thanks enough for this time as director of the Accelerator and with the City. In 2002, as a beginning VISTA I never imagined where that journey would take me. Today, Flint is on the verge of becoming a demonstration service city of the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project and it is my sincere hope that this momentum is not lost. With such tremendous outreach and support generated during last October’s Flint national service convening, and our demonstrated results – I know the service movement will continue to grow.
Some of you may not know that I am also a small business owner and continue to grow One-Community Consulting, LLC since 2007. Excitingly, new projects are taking my focus on business education and economic development nationally. Within Genesee County I will still see many of you working on food-based projects with Michigan State University. Please know each of you have impacted my life in very positive ways and I won’t forget it. My very best to you – please take care and be well. Don’t hesitate to reach out, my contact info remains the same below.
One-Community Consulting LLC