Hello! My name is Amanda Smith and I am a member of the Engaged Citizen Corps currently interning at HOME, Inc. aka Home Opportunities Made Easy, Incorporated. Moving my life from Denver, Colorado to Des Moines, Iowa was definitely a drastic change. I didn’t exactly know how drastic it was until I officially moved here but I wouldn’t change a thing. Being an Engaged Citizen Corps member has truly been one of the greatest experiences that I will forever cherish. I am so lucky to have been able to work with HOME, Inc. From managing and creating content for social media to recruiting volunteers, this experience has given me a leadership position that can end up being very useful in future possible careers. Being a Magazine Media and Graphic Design major, HOME, Inc. and I were a perfect match. I’ve been able to create so many new things and cultivate more efficient ways of doing things—I even created a possible new tradition! Having the creativity trait has been very helpful to the organization which is something I thoroughly enjoy!

Creating content also meant educating myself on affordable housing. I have gained a lot of knowledge on eviction issues with renting, landlords, and even just buying homes in general. Housing stability is a very complex issue but it’s also where simple education and action could turn an entire situation around. It’s always so awesome to write success stories for blogs—hearing about how a family successfully bought their first home or how someone avoided eviction. It’s because of HOME, Inc.’s counseling and education services that people are able to move from a scary spot. Social media is one way to get the word out there of all the good work that HOME, Inc. is doing in hopes of helping more people. Everyone knows about Habitat for Humanity, but it’s time to spread the word on other non-profits too. There are so many resources to use, yet, people simply just don’t know about them.

            HOME, Inc. also does their best not to promote toxic charity—charity that ends up harming people more than helping them. In my first-year seminar class, we read “Toxic Charity” by Robert Lupton and learned all about how important it was to promote stability instead of short-term fixes. The message of creating development over creating dependability was practically screaming at me! But that class had truly given me an entirely new perspective on how I looked at service. It really opened my eyes and gave me the motivation to put an end to toxic charity. I had finally realized that by providing the community with education and counseling opportunities, HOME, Inc. clients are truly able to move towards stability and away from poverty. It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

            Because of the Engaged Citizen Corps program, I am definitely more outspoken than I was. I used to be an introvert and would rarely find myself introducing myself to strangers. But now, I can proudly say I almost always want to socialize and build relationships with the community. As an engaged citizen, building relationships is vital to development especially within a non-profit. If you can’t communicate with your peers, how can you create development?

            Through this program, I also found out my five strengths were adaptability, thinking strategically, acting as an includer, being a developer, and staying positive. It was so awesome to learn what my strengths were because they all were so prevalent in the work, I do for HOME Inc. Those strengths are also very useful in different work areas. It’s because of those strengths and communication that I am now an alternate Resident Assistant. That’s all thanks to the Engaged Citizen Corps program for giving me the opportunity to work with HOME Inc.—to further develop basic skills every organization needs. It’s because of that leadership position that I have the skills necessary to achieve bigger and better things.

Overall, making a difference in the community—being an engaged citizen—should be a concern for everyone. Charity shouldn’t be looked at as a requirement. It should be looked at as a civic responsibility. It’s an amazing feeling when you actually create change within another’s life. But it’s an even more amazing feeling when you’re actually creating financial stability within a community of people. Being able to proudly move an entire community towards development and away from poverty is huge. That’s exactly what HOME Inc. has been working to do. I have never been prouder to be associated with such a great organization. They are my HOME away from home.

Thank you for reading or really, making it this far!

Love always,

Amanda Smith 🙂

I would not be doing my job if I didn’t advertise for HOME, Inc.! Follow their socials!

Instagram and Facebook: @homincdsm

Twitter: @homeinc3