Nancy Lo’s path to Minnesota GreenCorps service differs considerably from that of most members, who come to the program as new or recent college graduates.
She first heard of MN GreenCorps after being laid off mid-career from her copy editor position with a local newspaper. At that job, Nancy tried to instill her passion for recycling and waste reduction in her colleagues and work environment with varying levels of success. She heard about GreenCorps through a then-member, and saw the program as a way to segue into recycling-related work.
Nancy spent her service year with Hennepin County’s Department of Environmental Services. She helped with the city of Minneapolis’ two-sort recycling pilot program and assisted schools with recycling and organics recycling grants, including developing a reporting template, reviewing grant reports and applications, and giving presentations. "I learned so much from my co-workers. It also gave me experience doing waste sorts, giving presentations, doing outreach and environmental education, evaluating grant applications and grant reports and learning a lot more about what’s involved with recycling and waste reduction.”
A highlight of her service, according to Nancy, was “getting to work with fabulous people.” A challenge was overcoming her fear of doing something wrong. “My supervisor encouraged me to just try and not be afraid, and I learned more than I can explain from this growth experience.”
Nancy is now a full-time employee with Hennepin County’s Environment and Energy Department. Her job responsibilities include coordinating the county’s Fix-It Clinic program—an effort she developed based on "Repair Cafés" in Europe. At Fix-It Clinics, county residents receive free guided assistance from volunteers with repair skills to disassemble, troubleshoot and fix their small household appliances, clothing, electronics, mobile devices and more.
“Minnesota GreenCorps is absolutely worth your time and effort,” said Nancy. She added, “It can be an invaluable foot in the door, giving your future (hopefully) employer a chance to see how great you are and then hire you! At the very least, you can meet others who are working in your field and make great connections that could lead to a future job.”
For more on Nancy Lo’s recent efforts and success with the Fix-It Clinic program: Minneapolis' Nancy Lo is a champion of home repair – and the nation is noticing (StarTribune)