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AmeriCorps connects member with her community
Madison Smith is proud to be someone her local homeless community can trust. Through the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA), she started a weekly homeless breakfast program at a local church where she assisted over 80 individuals experiencing homelessness by helping them receive housing, food, insurance and cell phones.
“Many of these folks soon became patients at our clinic and many hadn’t seen a health care provider in years or even decades,” said Smith.
Smith decided to serve with MPCA during her gap year from school. MPCA assists patients with varying healthcare barriers, including insurance issues, transportation or food and housing insecurity. Throughout her time with MPCA last year, Madison helped patients apply for all kind of services. Medicaid, Marketplace insurance, Food Stamps, Section 8 Housing, the Affordable Connectivity Program and many other need-based services. Smith also went into the community to provide these various services to migrant workers and the homeless community to help make healthcare more accessible.
“Service is important to me because I know that I had inherent privileges growing up: where I was born, being able to attend college and having a family who helped support me,” said Smith.
“I wanted to give back to others and gain perspective of the everyday challenges that people around me face.”
Now that Smith’s service year is complete, she is gearing up to attend medical school at the University of Colorado Boulder, her alma mater. She’s grateful for her gap year and her ability to spend it serving her community.
“I wanted service to be the only thing I had to think about for a year and to just spend my gap year helping others,” Smith said.