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AmeriCorps Member: Dmier Johnson

To provide continued support for our neighborhoods, United Way is partnering with AmeriCorps to sponsor seven members, currently living within the targeted local communities, to participate in the AmeriCorps program delivered by Amazon.

As part of the AmeriCorps Program supporting United Neighborhoods, the AmeriCorps members will lead engagement activities within their neighborhoods to increase the residents’ knowledge of the services available to residents. The program is designed to better connect residents with nonprofit services and open doors of opportunity for the AmeriCorps members.

This post highlights AmeriCorps Member Dmier Johnson. 

What geography are you working in?

Johnson: I am working in the Freedom/Wilkinson corridor.

What is your role within your geography?

Johnson: I am a community coordinator for that corridor, working directly with the agency Freedom Communities. I have not had the opportunity to start canvassing and getting in touch directly with the residents of the area yet, however, I have met several other agencies funded by United Way and working with Freedom Communities. So far, this position has been a great opportunity to learn how nonprofits work and the opportunities and resources that these individual agencies offer to the community. And soon, I will be taking this information directly to the residents of the area and I can’t wait for it.

Tell me about your background.

Johnson: I’m from Charlotte and I’ve lived here all my life, but I do want to start traveling out of the country soon because it’s a big world and I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in sociology. Even though I majored in psychology, one of the biggest passions in my life is art. I’ve been an artist all my life and it is a huge influence on my life, from how creatively I think to relaxing and expressing emotions through art. Another passion of mine is helping people. I believe I got that from my mom because she’s been a social worker all her life so some of that helpfulness and caring about others really rubbed off on me.

Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Community Coordinator?

Johnson: I applied for this position because it seemed like I could do a lot of good in it. I was also fresh out of college and while I did have a degree, I did not have a lot of experience in regard to working, so the multiple volunteering opportunities, connecting with nonprofits and learning about the nonprofit world, and engaging directly with people to improve their lives was enticing.

What are your Community Quarterback’s goals for your geography? How do those goals translate into your day-to-day tasks?

Johnson: From my understanding, Freedom Communities wishes to create a community coalition, a group of the different nonprofit organizations and programs, and residents of the area, so that we all can work together to benefit and improve the community and the residents themselves, using input and representation directly from the residents of the area. So far, my day-to-day task has been information gathering so that I can create a pamphlet with information about the United Neighborhood agencies and the resources available in the area. The end goal is that the residents who are informed will for one, know and reach out to the resources and agencies they learn about; and two, be inspired to connect with the community coalition so that individuals and their community can improve and prosper with direct influence from the actual community we are trying to help.

What are you learning about in your geography that you didn’t know before?

Johnson: Unfortunately, I learned a lot about the gentrification in the area. Luckily, there are a few agencies that tackle that issue that offer affordable housing, legal property documentation, etc. However, I think it was important to learn about the gentrification in the area and how it spreads, seeing how it has affected the lives of many individuals and understanding just how much aid people need. It opened my eyes to a lot of things. On the bright side, I’ve learned a lot about the different agencies I’ve met; a lot of them have very interesting things they tackle that I’ve never thought about before, such as families dealing with incarceration or teaching kids how to manage money.

Learn more about the AmeriCorps Program supporting United Neighborhoods.