Sarah Beisner, a second year student at Grinnell College, is a student organizer that is active in addressing the issues of poverty and homelessness in the Iowa counties of Poweshiek and Marshall. For the last two years she has worked closely with local organizations and stakeholders to take creative action in addressing community and family needs. She is currently working with the Mid-Iowa Community Action management and fellow student volunteers to develop a community wide network to offer housing, hygiene, and workforce development.
Growing up, I didn’t understand the importance of community. While I made connections in neighborhood parks and at church and with local business, it wasn’t until I came to college that I understood that my community had fundamentally shaped me and my beliefs. Our communities have the power to be a home for everyone, to be a place to come together and meet each other’s needs. I came to college wanting to be part of and build on that vision for strong communities, to give to another child the kind of resources and care that had been given to me.
I work with Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), where I have been able to help families access nutritious food, gain affordable housing, and energy assistance. More importantly, I’ve been able to build deep relationships with people in both Grinnell and Marshalltown. I've been graciously welcomed into these communities, and the connections that I've made have helped me better understand the needs of Iowan communities as a whole. Currently, I'm working with my supervisor on expanding food access for families who live in more rural areas and am helping develop a summer literacy curriculum for children in the families we serve.