Where are They Now? Thomas Cooper

By Debra Thomas

11-13-11Thomas_Cooper_PhotoThomas Cooper served with HFHMGC as a Client Services AmeriCorps Assistant. He came from Atlanta, GA and served from February 2010 – December 2010.

What do you remember as the best thing about work?
The best thing about working for HFHMGC was connecting with various clients as they took their path to homeownership.

About the Coast?
When I first moved to the Gulf Coast, I did not realize that Mardi Gras was so popular. It was a culture shock to see how people enjoyed celebrating Mardi Gras. The parades, food, and clothing were the best by far.

In what way did the experience change you?
My AmeriCorps experience taught me to be more service minded and give back as much as I can. I was able to give back physically and mentally through my knowledge and talents.

The meaningful part of my AmeriCorps experience was planning and executing a home dedication. HFHMGC has helped so many people to accomplish their dream of being home owners. It was an honor to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in the homeowner’s life.

Would you recommend serving with AC/Vista?
Yes, I would recommend AmeriCorps to anyone that would love to serve their community. It is rewarding and a challenge at the same time. The AmeriCorps journey is not for the WEAK!!!

What about HFHMGC?
The employees were willing to help me out with anything from finding an apartment, providing furniture, and answering any questions that I had. My transition from Camp Victor to my apartment was seamless. I want to thank everyone at HFHMGC for making 2010 the best year of service ever!!

Where are you now? What are you doing?
Currently, I am working with Mercy Housing and Human Development as a Housing Counselor, but I primary focus on Individual Development Accounts, Foreclosure prevention, and any organizational development of the office. Also, I am using my AmeriCorps educational stipend for the MBA program at William Carey University.

Did HFHMGC &/or AC Vista help prepare you for your new job?
Yes, HFHMGC has a partnership with Mercy Housing and Human Development. I was able to network with Mercy Housing through HFHMGC to obtain my current career.

Do you see yourself volunteering in the future? In any particular field?
Yes I love volunteering at the construction site and in the client services department.

Is there anything you would like to add?
This journey has given me the opportunity to develop my skills within the nonprofit sector. I was able to truly find my passion and career within the housing industry. I found a home, career and a family here on the Gulf Coast. I could not thank the Client Services Department and HFHMGC enough for allowing me to serve as their AmeriCorps for 2010!!

Mercy Housing develops, finances and operates affordable, program-enriched housing communities for families, seniors and people with special needs who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Thomas! We are glad you chose to serve your AC term with HFHMGC – and even more glad that you decided to make the MS Gulf Coast your home.