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For almost 10 years, Detroit LISC has operated an AmeriCorps program that has placed nearly 100 dedicated volunteers and AmeriCorps fellows with local community development and neighborhood organizations.
Meet Detroit LISC AmeriCorps members Stephanie Harbin, a 58-year-old retired General Motors employee, and Star Roland, a 26-year-old mother of three -- two phenomenal women and leaders in their respective Detroit neighborhoods. While these women are at different points in their professional and personal lives, they have one thing in common: a passion for community service to shape the future of Detroit.
Recently, Harbin and Roland were recognized for their achievements and grassroots work that is making a positive impact on their hometown neighborhoods. These extraordinary women received the Michigan Community Resources (MCR) Power of One Dedicated Woman Award, which honors the unsung female heroes who are changing Detroit neighborhoods.
ROOTED IN COMMUNITY SERVICE
Born, raised, and educated in Detroit, Harbin loves her hometown and is committed to its revitalization. If you meet a fellow Detroiter, they will always ask, “What high school did you attend?” Harbin attended and graduated from Mumford High School, then went on to earn an Associate’s Degree from Davenport University, and a Master's Degree of Theology from Destiny Christian University.
During her 30-year tenure with General Motors, Harbin volunteered with many organizations; however, after retiring, she throttled up her volunteerism. And as fate would have it, she landed an opportunity with LISC AmeriCorps as a Safety and Walkability Specialist with the Sinai Grace Guild CDC (SGGCDC). Harbin is also active in her neighborhood and serves as president of the San Juan block club. In addition, she is on the task force for the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and is active with the Civic Commons Community (C4) program and the Fitzgerald Revitalization project.
Harbin said receiving the award from the MCR gave her a strong platform for her work and voice as it relates to advocating for her neighborhood. She also loved her time with LISC AmeriCorps.
Her advice to other grass root warriors: “You are never too old to learn about how to find resources that can help your community. At any age, you can learn. You can become a trailblazer.”
A LISC AMERICORPS RISING STAR
At age 26, Star Roland is a two-time AmeriCorps member; having worked at FOCUS: Hope in 2016 as the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Outreach Coordinator and in 2017 as the AmeriCorps LISC Community Safety and Involvement Coordinator. Roland embraces the famous motto of “being the change you want to see in the world.” For some four years, Roland and her three daughters have lived in HOPE Village, a one square-mile neighborhood in central Detroit.
Roland led her neighbors in the creation of Hope Village Families, an organization dedicated to making Hope Village a vibrant place to live. As the organization’s current president, she advocates for the residents, spearheads fundraising and is in the processing of securing the official 503c non-profit status for the organization.
Roland utilized the professional development training from her AmeriCorps experience to acquire news skills, such as public speaking and facilitation training. Both AmeriCorps and the Power of One Dedicated Woman Award helped springboard her into new career opportunities. Roland now serves as a Detroit Organizer for We the People and a Relational Voter/ Education Organizer for Good Jobs Now.
“It’s important to be strategic about jumping into the work,” says Roland. “Make sure the work is something you are passionate about.”
At such a young age, Roland has accomplished so much. But, her journey is just beginning. Her next goal is to earn a degree in Community Development and to someday run for public office.
LISC AND AMERICORPS - A TRADITION OF SERVICE
Detroit LISC Assistant Program Officer Stephanie Inson coordinates the LISC AmeriCorps program, which for 10 years has placed AmeriCorps fellows with community development organizations and local nonprofit partners.
“We were so excited to see these two AmeriCorps fellows honored with this award,” says Inson. “Star has done so much for the community, and Stephanie has been doing it in an unsung way for so long. Both are women who aspiring young leaders can look to.”
These two women, along with so many others, are true leaders who give their time and talent to keep their neighborhoods strong, safe and thriving. Not for awards or accolades, but for love of, and dedication to, their communities and the City of Detroit.