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Serving with MCSC
Service has shown me the impact community resilience can have
By: Jordyn Bradley
In the spring of 2021, I was stressed about “figuring it all out.” I was about to graduate from Alma College with the hopes of becoming a journalist in the future, yet I had no immediate plans. I scoured the internet for hours each day trying to come up with a plan, and when I happened upon a listing on Handshake, I applied on a whim to be a VISTA Summer Associate with the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC).
At the time, I didn’t know what VISTA stood for (Volunteer In Service To America) and I honestly had never heard of MCSC before. Yet, I thought the position would give me ample experience learning more about service opportunities and nonprofits in my home state and would keep me occupied until the fall time when I would decide my next steps. At that time, I didn’t expect to be with the commission for longer than my ten-week service term.
Throughout my time as a Summer Associate with the Communications team, I interviewed state commissioners about volunteerism, wrote stories centering around the COVID-19 pandemic and community resilience, posted on social media for the Michigan Heroes Campaign, and dipped my toe into the Social Justice and Climate Corps teams as well. Because my summer term was only ten weeks, I wanted to take advantage of my time and help in a variety of areas on a variety of projects. I loved that my supervisor knew my interests and used them to make my service term more unique to me.
As August rolled around, I was back to the drawing board for a plan when I received an email about applying for a year-long service position with MCSC. I had enjoyed my time with the commission and as an AmeriCorps VISTA, as the work was rewarding and affirming. I also liked the ability my position gave me to have my nights and weekends free, as I planned to use my free time to work on graduate school applications. Extending my service term seemed like a no-brainer.
Since August, I have assisted at the first annual MCSC Conference, been a part of the team that created a Michigan VISTA newsletter, processed nominations for the Governor Service Awards, and helped with a social media campaign that resulted in over 1,500 volunteers engaging in MCSC’s most recent National Day of Service, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. MCSC has highlighted a variety of causes during my time as well, including the Benton Harbor water crisis, Afghan refugee arrivals in Michigan, natural disaster relief, and COVID-19 vaccination efforts, among others. I am excited to see what other causes we are able to highlight during the remainder of my service year.
My service term has, even more, solidified my want to become a journalist and uplift those from underprivileged and underserved communities. I’m grateful for my experience working at MCSC and how it has shown me the impact community resilience and togetherness can have.