By: Taylor Lynch
Born and raised in the City of Lansing, Angeline Boughner has been an active participant in the Lansing community for a good part of her life. When asked what aspects of the community she enjoys the most, Angeline replied, “I love being close to family and friends, and I enjoy the idea of having outdoor and indoor recreational activities… and the number of parks to visit with my grandchildren is also important to me.” Angeline is proud to live in Lansing because she says that, “Lansing is the capital of the state. This is where laws are made and where people come to make change.”
In addition to being a long-time member of the Lansing community, Angeline is a current participant in the new Lansing Citizen’s Academy Program. This program offers residents of the City “the opportunity to learn more about the procedures and services of city departments and about their personal role in local government” (City of Lansing Press Release 7/17/2018).
Angeline originally decided to apply for the program because of her involvement in the field of community health, and her interest in learning more about potential resources available to add to her toolkit. She was also interested in making connections with other community members, and sharing knowledge with like-minded citizens, who may be able to reach an audience outside of her immediate scope of work.
Similarly, she was excited to participate in the program in order to learn more about how the city operates. She said she liked the idea of getting more familiar with aspects of city operations that she didn’t completely agree with because having the opportunity to learn about these aspects gives her a deeper understanding of how she could potentially contribute to positive change in those areas.
When discussing some of the new information that she learned from participating in Lansing Citizen’s Academy, Angeline said that in her opinion, one of the most surprising things she learned was about the City Assessor’s functions. She was previously unaware of the lengthy list of responsibilities that this department oversees. She also mentioned that in meeting with some of the long-term employees of this department, they displayed an “astounding amount of dedication,” which she appreciates.
In the same vein, Angeline greatly appreciates the interactions she has with other participants in the program. She is inspired by her fellow participants who want to be engaged in the community just as much as she does. “Just like me there are so many trying to make a difference in the community, either by working within their own neighborhoods or using their employment to bring the city to a point that the community as a whole a can be proud of,” she said.
She believes that her relationship to civic life has been altered by this program for the better through the increase in knowledge she has experienced. She is motivated to share the things she has learned from the Academy with fellow health workers and citizens, by encouraging others to take part in the City as she has. Angeline has enjoyed learning about the initiatives of the Mayor and his staff and the inner-workings of local government. “I now have a much better understanding [of local government] and I get excited to hear of all the ideas that could possibly be moving forward in the city.”
In her final reflection of her Lansing Citizen’s Academy experience and her recommendation to members of the Lansing community, Angeline said, “I tell others that being in the Academy helps us as a community to understand what the process is within the city. It also reminds us that we can make comments at home and behind closed doors but until we speak out, as well as maybe speaking to those who make the decisions, those ideas that could be a game-changer that others will never know.”