Homemaking to Placemaking

by Connie Flachs

Connie Farmers Market

I woke up in my new Knoxville home, rolling off the tattered mattress pad serving as my temporary bed onto the laminate wood floor, covered in a layer of dust. What was this barren room? I had left my comfortable, cozy, love-filled Michigan home to move South and start a new adventure, but in the early morning light the emptiness of this new habitat was overwhelming.

Restructuring your entire life has a way of bringing your values (and instabilities) into sharp relief. I was frantic those first couple of days, insisting on unpacking each box, hanging each painting, arranging each book on a shelf. I couldn’t handle living in a half-lived-in place. My cat couldn’t handle it either. She dove into an uncovered AC vent and remained there for an entire day, my certainty about her tragic demise not helping my already stress tangled brain.

A few weeks in, I found myself nestled into a cozy nook of my room, cat on my lap (she decided against permanent residence in the AC vent when she realized there was no food in there), reflecting on what had made me feel so frenetic and anxious those first few days. Continue reading “Homemaking to Placemaking”

VISTA Member Spotlight: Meredith Abercrombie

Article Author:
Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps Staff; Alum 2013-2014

Meredith has had one busy year. Her site, the University of Tennessee- FUTURE Program, is a postsecondary education program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities that empower participants to achieve gainful employment in the community and have their own college experience. Continue reading “VISTA Member Spotlight: Meredith Abercrombie”

Power of Kindness and Persistent Inclusivity

Article Author:
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.

Continue reading “Power of Kindness and Persistent Inclusivity”

Irreplaceable

Article Author:
Ariel Allen, CAC AmeriCorps 2014-15
Gordon Harless, CAC AmeriCorps VISTA 2018-19

As for why AmeriCorps, Gordon Harless currently serving at CAC Housing & Energy, would say that he chose to serve for selfish reasons. Yes, he wanted to help and give back to the community and society in general, but mainly because doing so made him feel better about himself. Service in AmeriCorps VISTA was almost a reset button for his life, both professionally and personally.

Continue reading “Irreplaceable”