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Getting Things Done: AmeriCorps in Our Community

Erin Hagan, an AmeriCorps member serving in Boiling Springs at Upstate Family Resource Center, has an incredible story to share. Embodying the AmeriCorps motto, Erin proved that we are all able to “get things done!” when we go that extra mile for our community.

AmeriCorps is an opportunity provided by the Corporation for National and Community Service for people of all backgrounds to give a year of service to their community. The AmeriCorps Upstate program is operated by United Way of Greenville County.

Erin was drawn to AmeriCorps through her desire to give back to her community. She grew up in Boiling Springs, so she was looking for an opportunity to build up her own neighborhood. Her family and friends pointed her towards AmeriCorps, and she quickly grew to love her work.

Denise was one of Erin’s clients who came into Upstate Family Resource Center asking about assistance in late September of 2015. During her intake interview, it was discovered that Denise was a homeless veteran who had hitchhiked to Spartanburg from Pennsylvania by herself.

“We immediately started making phone calls to homeless shelters in hopes of finding her somewhere to stay until we found a more permanent place for her,” 

said Erin. “Unfortunately we were unable to get her into a homeless shelter since she didn’t have children.”

They were, fortunately, able to put Denise up in a hotel for a couple days while they researched to find out what the options were. Erin sent food and a hygiene kit with Denise to the hotel, and stayed in regular contact over the phone during her stay.

After a few nights, a breakthrough happened when they got in touch with a gentleman from Alston Wilkes Society, a United Way partner organization that has been helping to rebuild lives and communities since 1962. They created a plan of action to get her back on her feet and Denise enrolled in a six-month program for homeless veterans that would teach her job skills and financial classes.

Erin spoke with Denise just before Christmas. Denise was no longer homeless, she was working, and she was planning a bright future for herself. And most importantly, Denise was happy. Thanks to the hard work of Erin and all of the good people at Upstate Family Resource Center, Denise is working her way back to the Cycle of Success.

Erin is a 26-year-old mother of a two-year-old boy, with another son on the way. She has been happily married for five years. She loves the work that she does at Upstate Family Resource Center because it provides clients with the opportunity to set goals for themselves, rather than simply putting a bandage on the problem. Through goal setting and weekly checkups, Erin is helping to heal her community.

You can too, through AmeriCorps Upstate.

Erin works hard at her job, but so do all of the AmeriCorps members in Upstate South Carolina. AmeriCorps is an excellent opportunity to give back to your community and get to work directly with nonprofits in your area that do great work for the benefit of us all. To learn more about the benefits of serving with AmeriCorps, including information about the Segal Education Award and other in-service benefits, or to find more information on opportunities to serve your community,  please visit the AmeriCorps website here or contact AmeriCorps Program Director Alex Haymond. If you’re ready to “Get things done,” we’re ready to have you.