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July 11, 2012 / HandsOnCorps

Taking What was to What is

I have just completed a video project for ReMix Genesee, a program within Resource Genesee in Flint, Michigan, where I have been working as an AmeriCorps VISTA since last November. ReMix helps disconnected youth, ages 16-24, who are just kind of wandering aimlessly through life, by identifying and overcoming barriers. Some of these barriers include employability, poverty, inadequate or unsafe housing, and lack of education. I met with the program director, Kasie White, to find out what kind of vibe and overall outcome she is looking for. She arranged for three young adults that have recently been impacted by ReMix to tell us their stories. They were encouraged to only share what they were comfortable talking about.

Ray has been in foster care most of his life and told me that he never used to speak, let alone talk on camera. He has 4 jobs now and long term goals since joining ReMix. Jessica and Thomas are a homeless couple attending the nursing program at Mott Community College who have both been recently placed into homeless shelters with the help of ReMix, and are working with Kasie to find more permanent housing. We asked them if they would like to do their interview in the classroom to show a more personal perspective, rather than just shooting outside or in a conference room somewhere and they agreed. It took a bit of explaining to get the professor to agree, but now she knows about ReMix and has all the contact information in case she meets anyone who needs to be referred.

Instead of just creating one long video, I also broke up the interviews into individual clips so that Kasie can use them on the testimonial page of the RemixGenesee.org website. I was posting the videos to my personal Facebook as I was completing them and we made a new professional contact for ReMix from it. A friend of mine is the Special Populations Coordinator at Mott Community College. She informed me after watching the video that she wants to be the point of contact for ReMix at the college. Research has shown that students who have a point of contact are much more successful than those who don’t. She is able to get limited scholarships for minorities and low income people through a special program that focuses on goals and accountability. Amazing! The video was only a few hours old and already making a positive impact.

Autumn Ahlgren

HandsOn Corps VISTA: Resource Genesee

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