AmeriCorps VISTA program with OPEN MSU helps build capacity for addressing the opioid epidemic

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – Opioid Prevention and Education Network (OPEN) MSU is an AmeriCorps VISTA program that places volunteers around the state of Michigan to help with addressing the opioid epidemic.

Rose Henderson, program manager with OPEN MSU, says the program is helpful for outreach and helping communities build their capacity.

“We hold a grant through AmeriCorps,” said Henderson. “OPEN MSU places members at sites throughout Michigan to identify service gaps, improve communication but ultimately to build the capacity of local efforts to create or expand opioid prevention, intervention and treatment opportunities for communities to address the opioid abuse crisis and help out with the opioid epidemic.”

Henderson says they have members in locations like Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Sault Saint Marie, Marquette, Detroit and more.

“One of our members that is in East Lansing is actually helping focus on efforts for the northernmost counties, so with the Michigan Center for Rural Health,” said Henderson.

OPEN MSU helps provide support to the VISTA members in the projects they are working on.

“Different projects have different needs,” said Henderson. “So some projects are focusing on more of that volunteer/recruitment aspect where some may be focusing more on that administrative capacity building but it’s important for us to build on that professional development and training so whatever the member needs or whatever that project needs, that’s kind of what we focus on for that particular member.”

Host sites determine their own needs and what project they want an AmeriCorp VISTA member to work on. OPEN MSU is continuing on into another year of service. Organizations that want to apply for a VISTA member to work with them can apply on OPEN MSU’s website. Individuals hoping to get involved as a VISTA member can apply on the OPEN MSU website for their particular program or find another program on the AmeriCorps VISTA search tool website.

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