Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps 2014-15, CAC AmeriCorps Staff
VISTA member Hannah Freeman’s numbers might be small, but they are mighty. But sometime the quantitative doesn’t paint the whole service picture. It merely provides an outline. The qualitative is what gives experience it’s richness. Plus, part of the qualitative includes Hannah rubbing elbows with the mayor and dressing up as a pea at a local community event.
As Hannah heads towards the finish line of her 2nd year serving at the City of Knoxville Office of Neighborhoods, she has managed 94 volunteers and provided training to help build community organizing skills to 31 community members. These are 31 community members who chose to meet regularly throughout 1 year to develop their ability to provide a powerful voice for their respective neighborhoods. These are 31 adults who have skills that will sustain past Hannah’s service term and make a lasting impact in their communities. She also helped plan the Neighborhood Conference for the past year which engages 80 organized neighborhood associations, small businesses, community leaders, government employees, and 700 neighbors of all ages by creating and network of changemakers to galvanize active community participation and fight poverty.
Finally, she voluntarily helped coordinate the MLK Day of Service and was integral in building relationships to make the service day meaningful and thoughtful.
Outside of her service duties, Hannah still manages to stand out. Recently, the CAC AmeriCorps office received an email from a different host site in the same building thanking Hannah for welcoming his new member. Starting any service term is already daunting. Starting a service term late, walking into a government building in bustling new city, with no familiar faces is enough to send anyone running for the hills. Hannah went out of her way to greet the new member, invited him to participate with others, and showed him around the building. This kindness and persistent inclusivity can’t be taught is one of Hannah’s most admirable traits. It’s what has given Hannah’s service texture and brightness and is an approach that hopefully lingers for many corps years to come.