Americorps members serve at UM-Dearborn

Since opening in the fall of 2010, UM-Dearborn’s Community Involvement and Volunteerism Center, also known as the CIViC, has been establishing itself as a campus resource for students who want to learn about volunteer opportunities and other ways to make a difference in the community.

Beyond volunteer opportunities, the CIViC seeks to provide “a framework for students to move along a continuum that begins with direct service and develops into issue specific awareness, education and ultimately advocacy,” according to its website at sao.umd.umich.edu/the_civic/.

Two individuals who are helping the CIViC reach that goal are Brett Jordan and Nikka Landau. Both are Americorps members who are dedicating a year of service to the campus and the CIViC initiative.

Jordan is serving the campus as part of the Mentor Michigan College Coaching Corps, a joint effort between Michigan Campus Compact and Mentor Michigan that places AmeriCorps members within youth-mentoring organizations or institutions of higher education to increase the number of youth served through mentoring relationships and to develop “college-going” cultures within local communities.

He’s working out of the office of admissions and orientation through December, with a focus on recruiting 150 student volunteers from local colleges to work with youth in the community to present a positive college message to them.

“K through college” instead of “K-12” is a message Jordan wants his volunteers to share with youth. “There’s an assumption that school is over at 12th grade,” he said.

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Western Michigan University, and is currently a UM-Dearborn graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in nonprofit leadership.

Landau is an AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program founded in 1965 as Volunteers in Service to America that works to fight poverty and illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses and strengthen community groups.

She’s been working out of the student activities office since August and will continue her campus service through July, assisting the CIViC with its programming in an effort to build a strong foundation and make the Center more sustainable. The goal is for the Center to be a student-driven initiative, with a student board that directs its mission and vision, Landau said.

“The hope is it’ll be a Center where students can find resources and a community of service-minded people, and where agencies can find volunteers,” she said.

One program Landau has been involved with is preparing for the annual Alternative Spring Break, which on Feb. 28 will send students to locations in Michigan, Tennessee and Massachusetts this year.

A Philadelphia native, Landau earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Rice University.

Students wishing to get involved with the CIViC should contact Landau at nlandau@umd.umich.edu.

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