CIC’s AmeriCorps 2019
Each one of these members is serving with CIC’s Interfaith Enrichment Corps to help strengthen the capacities of Indianapolis faith communities.
Want to learn more about them? Follow CIC on instagram at @indycic (or click below) to read about their stories and their work.
Our AmeriCorps members serve at: Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors, Felege Hiywot Center, North United Methodist Church, The Dwelling Place, FBC (First Baptist Church) Indy, Second Presbyterian Church – Indianapolis, Indiana, Indiana Christian Leadership Conference, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, Muslim Alliance of Indiana, St. Monica Indy, and St. Vincent.
Meet Dija Henry. She’s 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. 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. While Dija helps with many of these programs, she 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. Have questions for Dija? Contact her at [email protected] now!
Meet Rainie Grant. She 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. Rainie is serving with Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (@indy_coin), 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. 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. Have questions for Rainie about COIN? Contact her at [email protected] ⠀
Meet Mac McMillan. Mac currently serves as an AmeriCorps member at Second Presbyterian Northside Food Pantry (@secondpresindy). The pantry’s goal is to serve people in Washington Township who are food at-risk. 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.” Have questions for Mac about Northside Food Pantry? Contact him at [email protected]⠀#MadeInAmeriCorps #indycic #AmeriCorps#nationalservice
Meet Amanda Keating. She currently serves at First Baptist Church (FBC) of Indianapolis while she finishes up her master’s degree at IUPUI-SPEA in Public Affairs in Nonprofit Management. FBC (@firstbaptistindy) is located in the Nora neighborhood in Indianapolis, and it is working toward becoming an even more welcoming and inclusive community gathering place. As an AmeriCorps member through CIC, Amanda 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. Have questions for Amanda, our O.G. #AmeriQueen? Contact her at [email protected]⠀#indycic #MadeInAmeriCorps#nationalservice #AmeriCorps
Meet Kayla Behforouz. She is an AmeriCorps member serving at CIC’s home base at the Indiana Interchurch Center. As a part of her service, she helps coordinate efforts for CIC, the Interfaith Coalition for Mental Health (ICMH), and Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN). For CIC, she 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. Outside of work, Kayla likes to hike, travel, sing loudly, eat lots of food (especially dark chocolate), be without her phone, and nap outside as much as possible. Have questions for Kayla? Contact her at [email protected] Feel free to include any ideas about how to make that email shorter. ⠀
Meet Eh Too Rah. His AmeriCorps service site is North United Methodist Church (NUMC) on 38th and Meridian. There, he works with Pastor Ronnie Bell to help grow and realize NUMC’s potential to do so many great things in the community. His 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. He wants to understand and address root causes of the obstacles the surrounding community faces: mental health stigma, implicit bias, and social isolation. His 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. Fun facts about Eh Too: he loves soccer, he’s terrified of heights, and he thinks he has a horrible voice but loves to sing. Have questions for Eh Too? Contact him at [email protected] ⠀
Meet Mohamed Merzoug. 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.” Currently, he serves his CIC AmeriCorps terms at St. Monica Catholic Church, where he is a community outreach and engagement coordinator. In that role, he connects services like CARE, Family Promise, Trusted Mentors, and Faith in Indiana to his community, providing health, social, and legal resources for the Hispanic and African immigrants in the congregation. If Mohamed had to summarize his AmeriCorps service term in one sentence, he would use the following Jose Hundson quote about the three levels of happiness: “something to do, something to love, something to look forward to.” Fun facts about Mohamed: He is a certified Medical Interpreter and holds a certificate in fund raising management. He earned a BA in French and MA in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University, and he is fluent in both Arabic AND French. Have questions for Mohamed? Contact him at [email protected]⠀
Meet Rachel Brohman. 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. As a CIC AmeriCorps member, she is serving with Muslim Alliance of Indiana for the next 6 months. Muslim Alliance 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. Fun fact about Rachel: she likes to dance! Have any questions for Rachel? Contact her at [email protected]⠀
Meet Claire Holba. 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. Currently, she serves as an AmeriCorps member with the CIC Interfaith Enrichment Corps at her placement 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. Through The Dwelling Place’s “Welcome to America” program, Claire 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. When asked why she loves this work, Claire says, “My heart thrives on building bridges while celebrating what makes us unique. I believe these are essential for protecting human dignity and upholding peace. I am honored to serve with the many diverse communities calling Indianapolis home, and I believe peace and prosperity in Indianapolis will create ripple effects within our larger global family.” Have questions for Claire? Contact her at [email protected]⠀
Meet Margaret Busch. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio but became an Indiana transplant while receiving her Bachelors degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. Since then, she had traveled overseas and lived in the West Coast, returning to Indy in 2016 to start her first AmeriCorps term with the Boys and Girls Club. Margaret is an identical twin, French speaker, and lover of all things creative. Through the CIC AmeriCorps program, she will serve in the Public Benefits department of St. Vincent Hospital, increasing community engagement with faith communities in the Crooked Creek/Nora area. Her goal is to extend St. Vincent’s efforts in connected and wholistic health to faith communities. 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. Have questions for Margaret? Contact her at [email protected] ⠀