The Michigan YVPC team is made up of a diverse group of people, and each brings a unique set of skills and experience to the table. Over the next several weeks we will be highlighting several of our team members working in the field and behind the scenes at the university. We’ve asked them a little about themselves and their role with the YVPC program.
Staff interviews were conducted in August 2014 by Surya Sabapathy, MD/MPH Candidate, YVPC Intern
(Lead Property Assessor)
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: I’m an Ohio native, from Cleveland. I went to Central State University. I relocated to Flint in 1997; been here ever since. Currently, I’m back in school to get my Master’s in Social Work. I have over 15 years’ experience in business management, but it’s time for a shift—I want to help people more. I’m also a minister at Church Without Walls.
Q: What do you like best about this job?
A:Truthfully, that I’m outdoors getting fresh air and exercise. But also it gives you a more hands-on view of how to perceive the city. When I’m not at work, and I’m just looking at a person’s house, I rate it overall and say, how could we beautify the city even more to get rid of some of the blight?
Q: I understand you’ve mentored some of the younger property assessors. What impact do you think this job has had for them?
When they are working, they actually start seeing that sense of responsibility, saying “I can make a difference,” as opposed to being on the sideline, complaining but not actually engaged.
Q: How do you think the YVPC will impact Flint?
Talking to residents about the programs that are offered – they like that. And it’s not just youth, but also how you can engage [adults]. It’s sharing information; now they know how to go about resolving certain issues as opposed to just getting frustrated. If you actually start giving them [options] to try making a difference, their voice can be heard. Also, the statistics in terms of crime, and youth doing something positive instead of being mischievous or destructive.
Q: What do you want people to know about Flint?
Flint is stereotyped to be the worst place to live. But in any city, you’re going to have trials and tribulations. The population of Flint is slowly but surely growing smaller. That makes it look like crime’s out of control. By far, it’s not. Flint is a city that’s constantly thriving. We just hit a big bump in the road, and we’re ready to bounce back.
First Flint was known for automotive; now, you can get a good education here. You don’t have to travel all the way to Ann Arbor or Lansing to get your Master’s. You can actually come here, get those same degrees, and still be effective in Flint.