Michigan's AmeriCorps Alum Spotlight
During the 2011-2012 program year, Gregory Fenech joined the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program at the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University and served a half-time term (900 hours) while he was completing his Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs.
The AmeriCorps Urban Safety (AMUS) Program works to implement initiatives to increase public safety and decrease victimization in targeted neighborhoods throughout the City of Detroit. AMUS members work with residents and community groups to assist in forming neighborhood block clubs and citizen patrols, recruit and engage landlords and tenants in neighborhood safety and revitalization projects, and implement safe pathways for students who walk and use public transportation in their daily commute to neighborhood schools. Members also network and build coalitions with community organizations, including CDCs, schools, church groups, and police precincts.
During his term of service, Greg worked relentlessly to help area residents come together and bring their concerns to the attention of building management. He was one of the first and most successful members in coordinating a high-rise tenant organization and engaging management to implement changes that would positively impact residents' safety.
In 2014, Greg graduated from the Wayne State University Police Academy, and today he is an officer with the WSU Police Department. He recently was promoted to work with the vehicle theft division. Greg believes his AmeriCorps service has definitely influenced where he is today. “As a police officer, my AmeriCorps experience helped me understand the challenges of the citizens I serve,” Greg stated. One of my main tasks as an AmeriCorps member was organizing tenant organizations in high crime ‘hot spot’ locations. By gaining the trust of the residents, I was able to connect them to multiple helpful resources, including computer training, domestic violence resources, and positive interactions with the Detroit and Wayne State Police Departments.”
When asked what his AmeriCorps service meant to him, Greg answered, “I'll remember my AmeriCorps service for the relationships I built. As a Wayne State Police Officer, I have been called to the locations where I organized as an AmeriCorps member. I am able to talk to residents who remembered me when I was an organizer. I also keep in contact with the alumni I served with. When I see someone in an AmeriCorps jacket or shirt, I have a common bond with that person where we can talk about our service.”
Greg continues to promote a spirit of service in his everyday life. “I continue to try and go the extra mile for the citizens I serve. All I can do is be myself and do my best to serve with courtesy and professionalism. I did that while serving with AmeriCorps and have continued with that attitude as an officer today.”