CIC’s growing AmeriCorps team supports interfaith engagement through service and volunteerism. Meet our five members who are enriching the community efforts of faith groups around topics such as mental health, immigrant resources, and food insecurity. We are proud that individuals choose to serve their community and gain professional experience through AmeriCorps at CIC!
Site: Felege Hiywot Center
My name is Dija Henry and I’ve been acting professionally for the past fifteen years on stage, film, commercial and recently T.V. I’ve also been making short films for the past seven years. Alongside my professional work I’ve been volunteering at the Felege Hiywot Center for the past 14 years using the performing arts to work with the youth. Our most impactful project has been the anti – gun violence play A Song for Peace written after one of the students was killed due to gun violence at the age of 13. Our play ran every summer from 2006 until 2010 in Indianapolis. Currently I’m an AmeriCorps member with the Felege Hiywot Center and have been training the farm leaders on social media, blogging as well as how to create film and videos.
Site: Center for Interfaith Cooperation
My AmeriCorps position at Center for Interfaith Cooperation (CIC) entails working with Coalition for our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN) and Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health (ICMH). Partnering with many faith communities, we seek to address hardships faced by immigrants, refugees, and people facing mental health challenges in the Indianapolis community. I chose to serve as an AmeriCorps member for the year because I wanted to learn about faith communities, the Indianapolis immigrant population, and the work and structure of nonprofit organizations. Most importantly, I wanted to be on the front lines of a community’s progression towards inclusion.
Service Site: St. Vincent Hospital
This year at St. Vincent I will be serving in the Public Benefits department in increasing Community Engagement with faith communities in the Crooked Creek/Nora area. The goal is to further enable St. Vincent’s efforts in connected and holistic health to extend into faith I have chosen to serve with the Center for Interfaith Cooperation because I believe that Mental Health advocacy and the rights of Immigrants/Refugees are crucial channels of justice work that are building momentum in Indianapolis. The goals of the Interfaith Enrichment Corps align strongly with my personal beliefs that Faith Communities CAN be healing and safe spaces, that serve and advocate for vulnerable populations with competency and effectiveness. It is my hope that in my year of service that some interfaith dialogue and action in the areas of Mental Health Advocacy and Immigrant/Refugee rights is increased through community engagement, dialogue and education. More so, I hope that inwardly and perhaps outwardly; the divine call to love and justice that reaches through all faith traditions will be honored by the work that we are able to do together!
Service Site: Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors
I am an AmeriCorps Member serving low-income immigrants and refugees through COIN, Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors. We connect immigrants and refugees to legal services through partnerships with other organizations. My purpose is to build and strengthen sustainable relationships with current and potential partners as well as to help incorporate an integral mental health aspect into the COIN mission in order to better serve low-income immigrants and refugees in an area that often is overlooked in favor of crisis response.
As a recent college graduate, I faced the age-old dilemma of figuring out what I wanted to do after graduation, and so, I decided to take a gap year before attending law school. During my four years at Butler University, I participated continuously in interfaith activities as part of my religion major, my internship with the Center for Faith and Vocation, and personal interest in Islam and the Muslim community. I also spent a year studying in the United Arab Emirates, a Muslim country that is increasingly international, which exposed me to many different cultural communities. My other personal commitment is to human rights, and my career goal is to become a human rights attorney. Although I have education in this area due to my political science background, real-life application has not been obtainable until recently. Fortunately, the Interfaith Enrichment Corps just made complete sense for me, considering my experience in and passion for interfaith work and serving immigrants and refugees. I look forward to not only serving others, but to enriching my own knowledge and experiences.
Service Site: Northside Food Pantry
Poverty, homelessness, and untreated mental health issues contribute to the amount of crime in our city. It’s time to address the issue and community involvement is necessary.Social Injustice is prominent in the underserved minority and immigrant population. My educational background in Public Safety and Leadership will be an asset to Interfaith as we work together to help heal trauma survivors, especially the youth. I appreciate the services Interfaith offers to our community and look forward to contributing by building the capacity of the Northside Food Pantry at Second Presbyterian Church.
AmeriCorps member Katie Sutton’s service award
Serve Indiana’s ‘Awards for Excellence’ ceremony recognized CIC AmeriCorps alum Katie Sutton for her service with Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors. Katie impacted the lives of immigrants and refugees by organizing events that connected newcomers with local professional volunteers such as lawyers. Congratulations from CIC and Katie’s AmeriCorps cohort!