Santa Maria Community Services joins many other nonprofit organizations across Greater Cincinnati in recognizing during AmeriCorps Week March 12-18 the commitment of individuals who have chosen to serve their country through the AmeriCorps program.
AmeriCorps members serve an 11-month term of intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health and homeland security.
In Cincinnati, AmeriCorps members are serving in the community by providing direct service to individuals in need of housing, education, health and employment assistance at local community service and nonprofit agencies.
Santa Maria is one of those agencies and is proud to be hosting 45-year-old mother of five, LiErin Jackson as an economic coach.
LiErin was born and raised in Cincinnati and brought up her children here as well. She and her youngest daughter, 21-year-old Mikaisha, currently live in Price Hill.
Mikaisha is expecting her first child this month and LiErin couldn’t be more thrilled. One of LiErin’s greatest hopes in life is to leave a lasting legacy for all of her grandchildren. Her work in AmeriCorps is now laying the foundation for that legacy.
Before joining AmeriCorps, LiErin ran her own t-shirt and party planning business. But she longed to be of service to the community where she lives. She feels she has found a new calling with AmeriCorps.
“I’m very passionate about helping our community to elevate and expand the way they live their lives,” she said.
This sentiment was echoed by AmeriCorps director Daphney Thomas.
“When I first met LiErin in orientation, I was struck by how deeply she feels this service opportunity is aligned with her life’s purpose. She has a heart for others and is willing to go the extra mile to help someone,” she said.
LiErin began her journey as an AmeriCorps volunteer in August 2022 and is currently serving as an economic coach in Santa’s financial opportunity center.
She helps Santa Maria workforce development program participants achieve greater education advancement, find employment and create a budget as well as learn about financial planning.
“My time here is meaningful,” LiErin said. “I have built outstanding relationships here.”
One such relationship LiErin formed was with a local father who sought assistance in Santa Maria’s workforce development program. As his economic coach, LiErin was able to help this young father obtain housing and gain employment. As a direct result of those positive actions, he was able to gain stability and reunite with his children.
LiErin believes that a little progress each day adds up to big progress. AmeriCorps Assistant Director Bonnie Hood agrees.
“LiErin’s strengths are that she is very supportive and compassionate to the participants that she serves,” she said. “LiErin feels she is making a much-needed service to the community she serves.”
Daphney has high hopes for LiErin’s future. “My dream for her is to continue to grow professionally and personally, and to move up the ranks in the nonprofit sector,” Daphney said.
LiErin hopes her change of vocation at this point in her life will help lay the groundwork for the legacy she hopes to leave for her family.
“My experience at Santa Maria has been truly life-changing,” she said.