My Story Started at GRCC: Adam Jacobs helps people gain housing through the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Adam Jacobs smiling.

Adam Jacobs brings what he’s learned at various nonprofits and in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in sociology to his position with the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

He also relies on his experiences as an English tutor while in GRCC’s Honors Program.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

“Working as a tutor helped me grow as both a person and as a writer because I met people from many different backgrounds and abilities,” said Jacobs, who graduated from GRCC in 2012. “I learned to meet people where they were at with their assignments and skill levels in order to best help them succeed. Seeing a writing assignment through the eyes of other students helped me learn how to interact with many different types of people and write to a broader audience.

“Those experiences helped me grow as a teacher, communicator, writer and advocate – which are all incredibly important skills for someone working in the nonprofit industry.”

Jacobs began working with nonprofit organizations while a student at the University of Michigan, where he majored in sociology and minored in community action and social change. He joined the Inter-Cooperative Council, a student-led housing cooperative, and served on its board of directors. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he helped start a housing cooperative in Detroit.

He joined the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia in 2016 and became project coordinator of its housing unit in 2020.

“As project coordinator, I help manage Legal Aid’s housing related projects, including our eviction defense grant and the Housing Right to Counsel project,” Jacobs said. “My job is to facilitate coordination and collaboration among partner organizations and pro bono participants in an effort to increase tenants’ access to counsel, prevent unnecessary evictions, and preserve affordable housing.”

Jacobs credits GRCC’s Honors Program and two of its professors, Joan Gearns and Laurie Foster, with launching him on his career pathway.

“They pushed and supported me both academically and personally,” he said. “Through their guidance, I was able to transfer to the University of Michigan and succeed in my life beyond school. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Starting at GRCC was especially important to Jacobs because he had a three-year gap between graduating from high school and starting college.

“My time at GRCC allowed me to explore my interests in a smaller classroom environment without a heavy financial burden, and by the time I got to Michigan, I was prepared to hit the ground running at a larger academic institution,” he said.

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