Michigan's AmeriCorps Site Supervisor of the Month

MI AmeriCorps Site Supervisor of the Month - June 2018: McDermott/Schaap - FoodCorps

As site supervisors of FoodCorps AmeriCorps members at Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Meghan McDermott and Jen Schaap exemplify what it means to strengthen communities and develop leaders. In small, rural northern Michigan, they have created a big voice for this service program and what it stands for.

FoodCorps is an AmeriCorps program dedicated to connecting kids to healthy food in high-needs schools and communities. FoodCorps focuses on delivering hands-on lessons in classrooms, encouraging healthy school meals in the cafeteria, and creating a positive culture around healthy food across the entire school.

Since the beginning of FoodCorps’ inception, Groundwork has served as a host site for FoodCorps AmeriCorps members. Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities is a community driven and environmentally focused advocacy non-profit based in Traverse City and Petoskey. Groundwork is dedicated to creating and sustaining vibrant programs in the realms of food and farming, clean energy, transportation and strengthening local economies. Groundwork’s AmeriCorps members develop thoughtful and engaging systems change programming that empowers individuals in schools to create a school-wide culture of health that is connected to and embedded in the broader community.

Meghan McDermott, Groundwork’s Food and Farming Director, was once a FoodCorps AmeriCorps member for Groundwork herself. Her passion and commitment to service continues to be evident in her work today. Meghan oversees all food and farming programs at Groundwork including farm to school initiatives, community food access, and culinary medicine. She works with schools, hospitals, farms, food pantries and more to create awareness and support of food security, health, and a vibrant local economy. As a supervisor, Meghan shows fluent understanding of program needs and is committed to training successful service members. Meghan provides ample opportunities and support for service members to strengthen their professional skills. From conferences to community events to national training opportunities, Meghan prioritizes the inclusion of AmeriCorps members in all activities and raising awareness of their mission.

As Groundwork’s Local Food Policy Specialist, Jen Schaap works with businesses, schools, and farmers to strengthen the local food economy and increase awareness of and access to healthful foods in northwest lower Michigan. She supports a growing network of engaged citizens who are interested in cultivating a culture of food and farming in their communities. Jen helped to grow Michigan’s FoodCorps program even further north and continues to create positive momentum and space for new voices to be heard. In her supervisor role, Jen is responsive to matching AmeriCorps member needs with creative solutions and connection to the broader community network. She is attentive and thoughtful and willing to help in any way she can.

FoodCorps AmeriCorps member Lindsay Hall explains the work that these women do best. “I feel incredibly lucky to have not just one, but two, amazing supervisors who have provided me with an endless amount of support, both professionally and personally, throughout my FoodCorps AmeriCorps service term. Their dedication to their work and community has empowered and shaped the way I serve. Meghan is seriously a wonder woman. She can be doing fifty things at once and do them all with perfection and ease. I know I can always look to her for guidance and support. In fact, she still takes time out of her busy day to brainstorm radish recipes or lesson ideas with me! Jen inspires me through her passion for her community and its members. She has helped me to create strong partnerships and meaningful projects through connecting and collaborating with others. She constantly goes above and beyond her supervisor role to make sure I feel supported. I’m so grateful to serve alongside these two hardworking, motivated, and impactful women.”

For more information about the FoodCorps AmeriCorps program, click here. For more information about AmeriCorps, go to www.americorps.gov