Madison Rastetter is a third-year student at Anderson University who is actively engaged in the local community to create long-term social change and address issues of inequality. She is currently working with Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer coordinator, overseeing dozens of volunteers and developing their orientation program. Last summer, she interned at the Sagamore Institute working on their community development portfolio in the Twin Aire neighborhood of Indianapolis. She canvassed the neighborhood in an effort to generate momentum for a community organization, identified qualified homeowners for Lilly's Global Day of Service, conducted surveys and did reporting for the Local Initiative Support Corporation, and participated in a number of community meetings. She also volunteers with other organizations, including Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and College Mentors for Kids. After graduation, Madison plans to remain in central Indiana with a career in community development.
From a young age, I had the opportunity to engage in volunteer work in my community. As I got older and more involved, I was able to witness the poverty cycle that is created in communities and how difficult it is for them to get out of those cycles on their own. I was able to start volunteering on a diverse group of projects that would create community development. I soon realized that my passion was working to improve poverty-stricken communities and my future career was working in community development. Community development is important as it creates a foundation for community growth. I have been actively engaged in community development work in my education curriculum and off-campus experiences. On-campus, I was a part of a public policy research team that focused on policy recommendations for community development and education in Liberia. Off-campus, I had the opportunity to intern at the Sagamore Institute. Here, I worked under a Senior Fellow researching community development, specifically focused on the Twin Aire Neighborhood of southeast Indianapolis. I also had the opportunity to intern at Habitat for Humanity of Madison County as the volunteer coordinator, working to bring people and communities together.