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Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month

MI AmeriCorps Member of the Month - February 2015: Keshara Mumford, HKHFP

Keshara Mumford’s service as an AmeriCorps member with the Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership AmeriCorps program helped her realize she needed to change her college major because she wanted a profession that focused solely on helping others. She especially enjoys advocating for youth and helping kids overcome challenges. Keshara is now pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Saginaw Valley State University in addition to serving a second year of service as a part-time AmeriCorps member.

The Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership (HKHFP) AmeriCorps program is a partnership between the United Way of Saginaw and 10 nonprofit organizations in the Saginaw community. AmeriCorps members are placed at these sites to help connect the organizations to one another, as well as the broader community, thereby increasing their capacity to provide healthy futures for local youth. AmeriCorps members assist each organization's staff in a variety of ways by educating and mentoring youth, parents, and other community members on health and life skills. Members also help coordinate outreach events to raise community awareness of various health issues.

As an AmeriCorps member, Keshara facilitates evidence-based healthy living programs. She is placed at the Boy Scouts of America where she travels to their four anchor sites to educate youth about physical and social health. She works mostly with economically disadvantaged youth, some with mental health issues and histories of violence or delinquency. Keshara delivers the Scoutreach program, which utilizes the Learning For Life curriculum to do nontraditional scouting in urban settings. Each weekday, she can be found in community centers and outreach locations empowering kids to make good choices. Keshara serves to meet a huge need in Saginaw by promoting good physical and social health, and thereby decreasing obesity and other related health problems.

In addition to her program responsibilities, Keshara represents the HKHFP AmeriCorps program on the Michigan’s AmeriCorps LeaderCorps, which is comprised of one member from each Michigan’s AmeriCorps program. LeaderCorps members serve as a liaison between their program and the Michigan Community Service Commission, helping members to feel more connected on a statewide level. LeaderCorps members also focus on engaging AmeriCorps alums, exploring professional development opportunities, and promoting national days of service.

According to the HKHFP program director Joshua Hales, “Keshara demonstrates great initiative, professionalism, and enthusiasm for every program or project in which she takes part. She is a role model for young people and other national service members. She even makes time to go cheer for the children as they play in community sports leagues. Keshara epitomizes the ideals of a healthy future for our community and nation.”

For more information about the Healthy Kids Healthy Futures Partnership (HKHFP) AmeriCorps program, please contact program director Joshua Hales at jhales@unitedwaysaginaw.org. For more information about AmeriCorps, visit www.americorps.gov.