Working with Volunteers

  • Job posting
    Closing date: 1 April 2019

    AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader

    POSITION DESCRIPTION

    Posted February 2019

     

                 

    POSITION

    Location

    655 Broad Street
    Providence, RI 02907
    United States
    Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE):
    Yes
  • Job posting
    Closing date: 1 July 2019

    Position Description:

    Location

    George Washington University
    Washington, DC 20052
    United States
    Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE):
    No
  • Alumni story
    Tina L. Hayes 2012 2014 Gainesville, Florida

    I do have to mention that I am an AmeriCorps State/National Alumni. I realize that this site may only apply to VISTA Alums, however I did not want to miss out on sharing a snapshot of my experience. I served with Rebuilding Together, Inc. a nationwide nonprofit organization with a mission of "Bringing volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners." I served at the Gainesville, Florida affiliate. My titles were AmeriCorps State/National CapacityCorps Member, Volunteer/Project Site Coordinator for Rebuilding Together North Central Florida 2012-2014 (now that's a mouthful!). I served for 2 years, repairing and rebuilding homes for homeowners that could not afford the much-needed critical home repair that was endangering the lives of them and their families. When I completed my AmeriCorps terms, I continued to serve the organization as a permanent staff member until I relocated. I am currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Pennsylvania.

    Thanks for looking! Photography by me, Tina L Hayes. Enjoy! If I am not able to upload more than one picture, I'll try to upload more in another post if I am allowed.

  • Alumni story
    Summer Disson 2017 Chesapeake, VA

    Operation: Engage Norfolk

     

    My name is Summer, and I’m an Americorps VISTA serving with Heart of Compassion Partnerships in Chesapeake, VA. I recently attended my first “official” event with the organization, and it was impressive – to say the least.

    On Sunday, February 12, 2017 my organization attended the “Engage Norfolk” civic event. The event was sponsored by Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan. Also in attendance was Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, as well as office representatives for Senators Kaine and Werner. Nearly 100 community organizations got involved and made the event.

    “Engage Norfolk” is an event that allowed the community organizations who were seeking volunteers, for various different project and programs, to interact and inform members of the community, who were looking to volunteer, about their organization and what they “do”. The turnout was amazing. At our table alone, between signup sheets and business cards, we had 30+ members of the community interested in volunteering to tutor the students at our urban outreach centers!

    The “Engage Norfolk” was a huge success. There are many cities surrounding with communities surrounding Norfolk that would benefit from an event like this. With this being the first year of the event, and it being such a success, there are “talks” of creating a “manual” so that other cities can host similar events with the same outcome and enthusiasm, as well as a version geared towards younger members of the community.

    To see the people of the community, my community, come out and support each other was truly an inspiration that has undoubtedly made an everlasting impact on the passion I have of ending the war on poverty. Throughout this year of service I look forward to seeing and experiencing our community come together and support each other to achieve the ultimate goal- to change the world one child, one family, one community at a time.

  • Webinar
    This webinar aims to provide you with tools and a process around planning a group volunteer project and helps you think through some important aspects before you jump in.
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  • Alumni story
    Brandy Skinner 2011 2 Spokane WA/ Now Coeur D'Alene ID

    I am currently serving my 3rd year. AmeriCorps service has been very rewarding for me. My first Term 10/2011- 9/2012 I served as a Washinton State Reading Corps Tutor. It was amazing to watch the growth that each child made as we worked with them. The program was quite successful, we would have ran another year but unfortunately  the district couldn't afford the match funds required to secure the position. Ther next Term I served with VISTA  as a Volunteer Coordinator For hearth Hoimes in the Spokane Valley. A transitional home for women and children with a christian atmosphere, the women were provided a program which taught them life skills, they had case management, they were provided support for counseling, education, Social Services, etc.. I built the foundation for the volunteer program. From application, job description, data base, filing system, trainings, manuals in addition to helping develope the program for the clients. There was the Social worker which was the Director of the program , a counselor and myself. When I started the program I was handed a stack or napkins, papers, even a receipt that the former Directore had with information of possible Volunteers. By the time I had contacted everyone I had a list of approximately 20 volunteers. By the end of my term there were about 150 dedicated volunteers, assigned groups Mentors, Life Skills, Maintenance, Gardening, Interior design/boutique, general, grant writers, marketing, childcare and I even recruited one that ended up on the board of Directors. NETWORKING Best thing ever you could do, take any opportunity becuase you never know where and when you will encounter the right connection. I was invited to have a booth at this small event that a local bank was putting on, they were having a contest for some of the local High Schools, beings there was service learning requirements we thought it would be a great way for us to get out the wored about our organization and maybe recruit some volunteers. From this event i recruited an interior design volunteer that gave 30 hours that first week putting together the  house that just had some repairs done on and was ready for residents. That is not the cake on the icing though i was networking with another non profit and after telling her about our organization she felt we were the canidates they were looking for. Her organization was a collective of a local factory, 2 banking institutions and a Real estate agency. Every year they woulsd choose a non profit to be the recipients of their services. WE WERE it. The completely landscaped the property, fenced it, purchased and installed a playground, built boxes for the garden, remodeled some of the interior, painted the houses, new windows, stocked the new pantry with food etc. One day of service 160 volunteers for 8 hrs each, in-kind donations and supplies provided us with roughly $56,000.00. It was so amazing to se the transformation and the dedication of all the employees/volunteers. I have since relocated and am currently serving my third year as a VISTA Leader for Kootenai United Way. Looking forward to making great things happen for our community.    https://youtu.be/E9xc5OyR3pc

  • Alumni story
    Kendra Stillion-Phillips 2014 Phoenix

    I became involved with the AmeriCorps VISTA program after completing a service learning internship for my final semester of college. My internship allowed me to work alongside and assist an AmeriCorps VISTA member with tutoring programs and curriculum for refugees. After graduating and loving the work I did, this VISTA encouraged me to apply to AmeriCorps. Four months later, I started my first VISTA term as the Calendar Program Coordinator at HandsOn Greater Phoenix. My role was to recruit and train Volunteer Leaders committed to leading community service projects at other nonprofits. After my term was up with HandsOn, I enjoyed a relaxing weekend before starting my second AmeriCorps term that very next Monday. My second, and current host site, is StreetLightUSA where I am the current Educational Enhancement Developer. My role involves developing policies to expand StreetLight's mentoring program. As their first VISTA, I am learning as I go about the current program and working on relationship building and eventually hosting mentor trainings.

  • Alumni story
    Abby Reilly 2014 2015 Aiken, South Carolina

    Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve … You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love …” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    It wasn’t until I served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA that I truly understood Dr. King’s words and how committing to serve your community could shape your own “greatness.”

    After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina in 2014, I found myself staring into a blank year ahead of me. My dream of pursuing a Master’s in Social Work while serving in the Peace Corps (through the Master’s International program) had very suddenly been put on hold. Amidst the disappointment, one thing was clear: I was determined to making the year meaningful and continue with my plan to use my counseling skills and experiences volunteering in the US and Africa to help those in need. But I wanted to do more than shed light on the issues that I had already seen, and actually help enforce the change most people only talk about. So, when I found the opportunity to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with South Carolina Campus Compact, I could not pass it up.

    My assignment: At the University of South Carolina Aiken, I would be working to establish high impact initiatives (such as a mentoring and tutoring program) for the university community to engage in, in hopes of increasing the educational success of economically disadvantaged children in Aiken County, South Carolina.

    My expectations: Although I was aware that my site was having trouble engaging their students on campus and in the community, I expected to work with a university staff member who was involved with community service directly. I expected to be given a direction (along with some freedom) and outline specific goals with the staff member to work towards. I expected it to be difficult but rewarding, especially once I started to recruit, train, and manage student volunteers.

    But as everyone in the non-profit sector knows, expectations are very rarely met in perfect form. Little did I know, I would be embarking on a personal and professional journey filled with challenges and rewards.

    My reality: I was not managed by a staff member in charge of community service. I was given little direction (especially towards the end of my service), and a little too much freedom for someone who had as little project management skills as I did. In the first month, there was very little structure to the project, and I quickly realized that I would be responsible for creating that structure and direction. Instead of working with community partners and recruiting and training volunteers, I was educating the university on who I was, what the AmeriCorps*VISTA project could do, and how students at USCA could help fight poverty in Aiken County. Unlike most VISTAs, I felt cut off from the community and forced to focus on USCA. Though I love the field of Student Affairs, I didn’t join AmeriCorps to work solely in that field. I did it to collaborate with the community and actively manage programs to help eradicate poverty.

    Determined to make this year of service worthwhile for both Aiken and myself, I set out to build the foundation of this project. I decided (after much frustration) that strengthening the campus’ civic engagement culture would be my main mission. The only way of accomplishing that would be to talk to students about service and poverty: what poverty looks like in America, the potential strength of non-profit organizations, the power of this young generation to join in the fight against poverty, and the personal benefits of committing to help eradicate it. Along with telling my story of how my whole life was changed by service, I had to create powerful environments to host these discussions. Service Saturday, an initiative I participated in at USC, was the perfect program to provide that setting. Once a month on a Saturday morning at a selected site, my volunteers were able to step out of the comfort zone of USCA and witness the invisible poverty that exists in Aiken County. Even with indirect programs promoted by the Resident Student Association and MLK Day of Service, I wanted these opportunities to act as a catalyst for change within themselves, in how they saw the world, and in how they recognized their role in strengthening it.

    At the end of the year, 183 volunteers served a total of 281 hours in three different programs that focused on education, hunger, and access to basic necessities.

    I do not have any regrets about dedicating a year to USCA and the Aiken community. I would have never understood the importance of sustainability and capacity building in public service programs. If welfare systems are living up to their missions, should they not be in the business of running themselves out of business? Working on a campus, I realized the importance of organizing all community service activities and programs, as the university will be able to use that identified civic engagement to help their own community and recruit and retain students. I witnessed the beautiful outcome and power of community collaboration. I gained project management, leadership, and organization skills, as well as a love for international student affairs and the confidence to take initiative on my passions. Most valuable of all was this realization: as citizens of this great nation, we are all obligated to play a role in helping our fellow man, not for the sake of bettering ourselves, but for the sake of creating a healthy, successful environment for all. Each of us is only as strong as our sense of community.

    My future plans: Moving forward, I will be pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on College Student Personnel. My experiences during my year of service helped me secure an assistantship with the Office of Faculty-Led programs, which helps faculty plan study abroad trips and foreign students’ transition to make the best out of the study abroad experience. I have dreams working for the Fulbright Program, or developing an international “learning service” program in which students can learn the processes of effective community development. I am so excited to combine my passions of travel, service, and student affairs, and actually develop a career out of them. But I know AmeriCorps has touched my soul forever, because of my constant craving for promoting sustainability, capacity building, and what it means to serve a community in the true sense of the word.

    My mantra as I end my service: I am leaving knowing that I built a foundation for high-impact civic engagement programs, helped in starting to strengthen the culture of community service on campus, and trained the next VISTA to continue making an impact in the Aiken community. Jonathan Larson once asked the world: "How do you measure a year?" I measured the past nine months in sustainability, civic engagement, new friendships, anti-poverty, living in poverty, mentorship, Indian food, Service Saturdays, new family, non-profits, exploring, mentoring and tutoring, goodbyes, leadership, diversity, international student affairs, marathon training, personal statements, alumni living, healthy eating, gardens, solo trips, free concerts, service learning, books, laughter, frustration and growth. Oh, and lots of love.

    “We must choose to create a world where respect and acceptance are the rule, not the exception.” – Linda Hooper

  • Alumni story
    Ericc :) Powell 2006 2007 Bristol, RI

    The Hokie Pokie says, "Your put your whole self in, you put your whole self out, you put your whole self in and you shake it all about...you do the hokie pokie and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about!"  That is the VISTA Program.  You commit to a year of putting yourself in a community.  While you are there, you shake off your pre-conceptions, your judgements, and you share your knowledge, skills, and expertise with the community, serving with (not for) them.  At the end of your VISTA year, you leave behind valuable resources, information, tools, transitional materials, and you put yourself out of the community in terms of having left a legacy for them to build upon and grow.  As you leave, you know that you did your part to helping the community turn itself around.  And, "that's what it's all about!"

    Though I served not far from where I went to college, I did not know much about my community except for its afluence.  I decided to live two miles from my service site so I could be in the community.  Though I had a car, I decided it was more cost-effective, healthy, and fun to walk or ride my bike to service.  I am a people-person adn spent time getting to know other people at my service site, along with integrating myself into the community as my VAD talked about improving existing and expanding to new partnerships within the community.

    My first two months were rough, because I have always been a direct service person, and VISTAs do not do direct service but rather capacity-building.  How was I to succeed and finish out a position that I barely made it through two months doing things I did not want to do?  I will tell you how.  Thinking that the problem with the entire situation was not the VISTA Program.  The problem was not my service site.  Nor was it my supervisor.  The issue was not my VAD.  It was me.  When problems exist, first ask yourself, did I do something wrong or is there something I could have done differently?  If so, how could I have fixed it and how can I fix it?  Simple...make action steps and accomplish them.  I had to talk to my supervisor to tell her about my challenges.  That made all of the difference.  She understood and we were able to work together such that my year was extremely successful and meaningful and one of the greatest experiences I have had.

    At the time of my challenges, I used the phrase, "I'd better shape up or ship out" and I knew that for me, shipping out was not an option.  I committed to a year of service and the service site was expecting that as well.  I would do whatever I could to make sure to improve upon my situation and did.  It is common for people to have challenges, difficulties, and periods of disappointment.  But what is important is how you evaluate those times and what you do about them.  Take the time to really reflect on what happened, and spend time working to make a difference!

    VISTA service is amazing, and you are amazing as a VISTA!

  • Alumni story
    Rob Thomason 2008 2011 Harrison

    I am still serving as a Vista volunteer working with seniors in physical as well as mental health.  Working with seniors who are in adult day center facility, it is rewarding to impart my skills of physical and mental fitness programs which I enhance by incorporating my community entertainment talents to make those programs fun.  These folks deserve all that we can give them to bring them a rewarding experience and a quality of life in a safe atmosphere that they truly deseve.  Volunteers that come to share what ever programs they bring in or just to help out find this just as rewarding and are encouraged to continue.  By addressing the clients state of mind, it helps to maintain their  state of health also allowing them to share their days with their home caregivers.  Even though I have had two periods between Vista terms, I always had maintained my care to continue for them in the mean time.

          Also as a certified water aerobics instructor, I work with seniors who find land exercise hard on them but through my water program, are able to do well in taking care of their overall physical help including those seniors who have been released through rehab and need continued modified exercise opportunities to continue on in their recovery.   When my final time as Vista is up, I will continue as I have before in giving of my time, as my health allows, to share my knowledge and experiences to those folks that have need of me.