Mindy Robinson is a LifeBridge AmeriCorps member serving as a Financial Literacy Coordinator at Central West Virginia Community Action in Clarksburg, WV.
"How can I help?" This is a question that has shaped Mindy Robinson’s life since she was a kid. It’s something she asks herself several times a day. It’s how she ended up in AmeriCorps.
Mindy grew up one of five kids in Buckhannon. She was a child of divorce. Her dad worked on several oil rigs, and her mom worked mostly under the table jobs, living mainly on welfare, Medicaid, and food stamps. She and her siblings spent the majority of their time with her mom. They saw their dad only every other weekend.
She has found that growing up in a situation such as her own has made her more empathetic, and willing to help those in need. She has been ready to lend a hand as long as she can remember.
As a fifteen-year-old high school student, Mindy joined the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) program, which she was nominated for by her high school in Lewis County, West Virginia.
Her time with HOBY didn’t end after she completed the program, though. She has remained involved since 2005 and still serves on the board.
That flame ignited in her by HOBY is still burning strong, so when Mindy’s ex mother-in-law showed up at her house to pick up her grandkids with a proposition for Mindy to join AmeriCorps, she knew she had to pursue it. What she didn’t know what how much it would change her life.
After graduating high school, Mindy took off to Marshall University. At the time, it was not kindling her flame, so after two years of school she left and started a family. She now has four children: Declan, 9, Charlie, 6, and her twins Layla and Landon who are 3.
It was at this point that she decided to go back to school and pursue her certification as a Pharmacy Technician. Knowing her passion lay in helping others, this felt like the perfect way for her to do so. She was drawn to medicine, but didn’t like the gory details, so this was the perfect option for Mindy.
That’s what she did until that day three years ago when her ex-mother-in-law showed up at her door with the opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps member.
Everything fell into place at the end of her maternity leave after having her twins. After deciding to move forward with the opportunity, Mindy interviewed with LifeBridge AmeriCorps and was selected to serve; the rest is history, and she wouldn’t trade it for the world.
She serves as the Financial Literacy Coordinator. The mission of her program is to provide financial independence for all families as a steppingstone away from poverty.
January through the end of tax season, she spends the majority of her time preparing tax returns and doing intakes for those through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She spends her other time doing outreach, workshops and classes on financial literacy including budgeting and couponing, the Financial Focus newsletter, and other financial planning assistance for those in need.
Though she is coming up on her last year of service eligibility as an AmeriCorps member, Mindy knows AmeriCorps has guided her to where she is now and will continue to guide her to where she is going. After completing her four years serving as a member, she has the option to serve one more year as an AmeriCorps VISTA, which she has considered. She is also working with LifeBridge AmeriCorps to potentially turn her service into a job after she completes her fourth year.
Mindy is currently enrolled in the Regence Bachelor’s Degree Program at Marshall University where she is pursuing a degree with a focus in Sociology and Psychology. Her program site coordinator mentioned the program to her last year, telling her she would be a perfect fit. If everything goes according to plan, she will be graduating in December with her bachelor’s degree.
Wherever the future takes her, she knows AmeriCorps has changed her life and she plans to end up continuing to serve her community.
She urges you to ask: How can I help?
Maybe you will end up igniting a flame of your own.
AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, through National Service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps to make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov