Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

CIC AmeriCorps host sites 2019

Check out the vital civic and religious institutions where members of CIC’s Interfaith Enrichment Corps are making an important difference. Members learn and connect with cultural services, faith communities, and community resources along with a cohort of service members. Members build quality interfaith relationships that explore community solutions in an asset-based approach. Specific service activities vary per site.

The Dwelling Place

The Dwelling Place is a Christian community in Washington Township – one of the most diverse townships in Indiana – where over 100 languages are spoken. The Dwelling Place’s “Welcome to America” program seeks to extend a welcoming hand to the new American neighbors in Washington Township and Indianapolis. By building authentic relationships through genuine connections, The Dwelling Place strives to be the friendly neighborhood resource-connector for needs that arise in the immigrant and refugee communities.

Claire Holba serves as an AmeriCorps member with the CIC Interfaith Enrichment Corps at The Dwelling Place. After college, she started off on quite a different path: she began her professional career in the New York City financial sector at Ernst & Young. She used five years of Japanese study and her experiences abroad to collaborate with colleagues from all over the world. Since then, she has served on an environmental conservation team in the Mojave desert and as a volunteer teacher in Thailand for people fleeing Burma.

Muslim Alliance of Indiana

Muslim Alliance of Indiana is a non-profit organization that acts as a mediator, support system, and advocate for the Muslim community in Indianapolis. MAI partners with other non-profit and faith-based organizations in their efforts to bring diverse communities together and pursue justice for all Hoosiers.

Rachel Brohman serves at MAI. She graduated with a degree in Social Work and Spanish in 2018. When studying social work, she learned about the importance of advocating for oppressed populations and developed a passion to serve immigrants and refugees from all around the world. She studied for a semester abroad in Guatemala, where she had the opportunity to study Spanish, build relationships, and learn about their history and culture firsthand. She was also able to serve and build relationships with refugees and asylees from countries in Africa and the Middle East while living in Denver.

North United Methodist Church

CIC’s AmeriCorps program works at North United Methodist Church and Pastor Ronnie Bell to help grow and realize NUMC’s potential to do many great things in the community. The goals are to keep learning more about the assets of the community and North Church and to learn more about the needs of the local community. Another goal is to understand and address root causes of the obstacles the surrounding community faces: mental health stigma, implicit bias, and social isolation. A final goal is to build a long term sustainable program that harnesses the power of the community’s talents and matches them with the community’s needs.

Eh too Rah’s AmeriCorps assignment is NUMC. Eh Too loves soccer, he’s terrified of heights, and he thinks he has a horrible voice but loves to sing.

Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health

At CIC’s home base at the Indiana Interchurch Center are the Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health (ICMH), and Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN).

For CIC, Kayla Behforouz runs the Interfaith Youth Ambassador Program and handles some of the social media. With ICMH, she helps organize regular programming to connect service providers, faith leaders, and community members to educate one another about mental health in community. And for @indy_coin, she organizes events like the art exhibit “Images from the Border” and the trip to the detention center in Dilley, Texas.

First Baptist Church (FBC) of Indianapolis

First Baptist Church (FBC) of Indianapolis (@firstbaptistindy) is located in the Nora neighborhood in Indianapolis, and is working toward becoming an even more welcoming and inclusive community gathering place.

As an AmeriCorps member through CIC, Amanda Keating helps connect different resources between and among faith communities. One of these faith communities is the First Karen Baptist Church (a congregation also housed in FBC’s building). Soon, a Hispanic congregation will join these two in FBC’s building, and she will be collaborating with them as well. Amanda is working on many projects (as all AmeriCorps members do), but here are a couple of the exciting most exciting ones: first, she’s revitalizing changes to the food pantry. By adding partnerships with places like Helpings of Hope, she hopes FBC will host different classes on sustainable food practices and provide fresh produce to guests. Second, she is employing her marketing background to help the church. She is creating a marketing plan, a marketing workshop, and some easy advertising tips and tricks. A fun fact about Amanda: she’s an artist! She uses many mediums, but oil paints are her favorite.

Second Presbyterian Northside Food Pantry

The goal of the Second Presbyterian Northside Food Pantry (@secondpresindy) is to serve people in Washington Township who are food at-risk.

Mac McMillan currently serves as an AmeriCorps member at the Pantry. Because he’s an AmeriCorps member through CIC, Mac helps expand the reach of the food pantry by making contact with faith based groups. He’s found that AmeriCorps is a perfect fit for him because he loves to serve and help people. All of Mac’s fellow AmeriCorps members will tell you one thing about him: he’s an amazing questioner and listener. He’s said, “one of my most well-developed methods of serving is active listening. You simply ask an open ended question, and then truly listen to the other person’s response. People will tell you what their needs are.”

Felege Hiywot Center

The Felege Hiywot Center (@fhcgarden) is an organization that encourages today’s youth to embrace community service through urban farming, environmental preservation, and leadership programs.

Dija Henry has been acting professionally for the past fifteen years on stage, film, and television. She’s also been making short films for the past seven years. Alongside her professional work, she has volunteered at the Felege Hiywot Center (FHC) for the past 14 years, where she currently serves as an AmeriCorps member. 

Dija brings her expertise in performing arts to work with the youth. She trains the farm leaders on social media, blogging, and film and video editing. In her opinion, FHC’s most impactful project has been the anti-gun violence play, “A Song for Peace.” This was written after one of the students was killed due to gun violence at the age of 13, and it ran every summer from 2006 until 2010 in Indianapolis. 

Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN)

Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (@indy_coin) is a coalition of service providers working together to facilitate and coordinate community efforts to provide legal, psychological and other services for immigrants in Central Indiana.

Rainie Grant received her B.A. from Butler University in 2018 with majors in political science, French and religion with the career goal of becoming a human rights attorney. Her professional background is in management, communications, and legal administration, and her personal interests include interfaith work, music, traveling, and language learning. She is currently serving a one-year AmeriCorps term through CIC. 

She helps connect faith communities, many of which have large immigrant populations, to the services that COIN and its partners can provide. Fun fact about Rainie: she studied abroad in the U.A.E. for a year and speaks some Arabic.

 

St. Monica's Catholic Church

AmeriCorps serves St. Monica Catholic Church as community outreach and engagement coordinator. It connects services like CARE, Family Promise, Trusted Mentors, and Faith in Indiana to the community, providing health, social, and legal resources for the Hispanic and African immigrants in the congregation.

Mohamed Merzoug is the AmeriCorps member serving at St. Monica’s. He was born and raised in Oran, a very beautiful, small Mediterranean port city in northwest Algeria. He grew up in a large family with eight siblings. At a very young age, he learned the values of generosity, compassion, empathy, and helping others without expecting anything in return. Therefore, giving back to his siblings, neighbors, and community was second nature to him; service was in his blood. He says that “serving his brothers and sisters in humanity is a joy.”

Indiana Christian Leadership Conference

Indiana Christian Leadership Conference is one of the state’s longest-lasting and most influential civil organizations.

Shelia Boyd is the newest member of the CIC Interfaith Enrichment Corps.

 

Public Benefits department of St. Vincent Hospital,

The CIC AmeriCorps program serves in the Public Benefits department of St. Vincent Hospital, increasing community engagement with faith communities in the Crooked Creek/Nora area. The goal is to extend St. Vincent’s efforts in connected and holistic health to faith communities.

Margaret Busch is hosted by St. Vincent’s. She chose to serve as an AmeriCorps member with CIC because she believes that mental health advocacy and the rights of immigrants and refugees are crucial areas of justice work. Like all CIC AmeriCorps members, she serves with the Interfaith Enrichment Corps (IEC). The goals of IEC align strongly with her personal beliefs: she believes faith communities CAN be healing, safe spaces that effectively serve and advocate for vulnerable populations.