Amanda Smith, Engaged Citizen Corps member

 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 and I will forever cherish it. I am so lucky to be able to work with HOME Inc. From creating content for social media to recruiting volunteers, this experience has given me a high 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 are 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 means educating myself on affordable housing. I have gained a lot of knowledge of eviction issues with renting, landlords, and even just buying homes in general. Housing stability is a very complex issue, but it’s an area that simple education and action could turn 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 can get out of scary situations. Social media is one way to promote all the good work that HOME Inc. is doing. It also brings awareness to a large audience 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. 

Photo submitted by Amanda Smith

HOME Inc. also does its 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 about how important it is to promote stability instead of short-term fixes. The message of creating development over creating dependability was practically screaming at me! But that class truly gave me an entirely new perspective on how I look at service. It really opened my eyes and gave me the motivation to put an end to toxic charity. I 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 to include others, being a developer, and staying positive. It was so awesome to learn what my strengths are because they all are so prevalent in the work I do for HOME Inc. These strengths are also very useful in different work areas. It’s because of my strengths and communication that I am now an alternate Resident Assistant. That’s all thanks to the Engaged Citizen Corps program for allowing me 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 priority 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 create change within another’s life. But it’s an even more amazing feeling when you’re creating financial stability within a community of people. Being able to proudly move an entire community toward sustainable 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.

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