YoLanda Sanders, Volunteer Training AmeriCorps VISTA, currently serves in Denton, Texas at the Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center. Woman to Woman (W2W) provides low-income women with free medical services, such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, prenatal care including medical follow ups, along with educational resources, and counseling services. Throughout the month of July, YoLanda generated a volunteer management system, Better Impact. This cohesive, all inclusive system provides W2W the ability to better manage, measure, and interpret volunteer data leading to more effective client interactions and service offerings. YoLanda has proven herself to be an invaluable asset to W2M in their mission to serve low income woman with the best services they can offer.
In addition, she conducted a concise, accurate reporting procedure so that volunteers and staff members can log their activities fully and independently. Understanding the inner workings of W2W, YoLanda continues to emphasize the importance of sustaining an engaged relationship with the volunteers. By reaching out to previous volunteers, YoLanda was able re-establish that connection. As a result, twelve volunteers re-activated and have committed to serving at the thrift store.
Christian Community Action in Lewisville, TX provides comprehensive services that alleviate suffering, bring hope and change lives. Life skills and Job Readiness VISTA, Steven Tillman, has created CCA’s Job Readiness Training Program. The program curriculum breaks down into five-day seminar-like sessions, running from 1 to 2 hours each. The curriculum developed by Steven strongly emphasises:
- Career Management
- Career Assessment & Communication
- Resumes & Cover Letters
- Professionalism & Self Management
- Online Professionalism & Networking
- Interview Skills
Clients will be able to receive training and full assistance with their employment matters during the full work-week and use the skills and information acquired the next week. Weekend trainings are to be held, as well; Steven is currently considering options for streamlining the process a bit further in order to accommodate those whom having other obligations during a regular work-week but are still interested in training.
An official start-date for the Job readiness Program has been set for August 13th, 2018, and training cycles will repeat weekly. Several new volunteers have been screened and brought on board for training. Other employment related programs exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the Job Readiness Training program which Steven has developed is unique because it approaches employment matters not just from the perspective of a job seeker being well prepared, but also well informed and well adjusted for what the employment market has to offer.
Continue reading Christian Community Action Announces Launch Date for Job Readiness Program
The Collin County History Museum, located in McKinney, TX, is an archival museum with historical artifacts, photographs, documents, diaries, manuscripts, and historical maps that provide valuable research and information for teachers, students, historians, authors and genealogists. The museum provides educational programming for students across Collin County. Keith Uselton, the Curriculum and Development VISTA for the Collin County History Museum, developed and launched an educational based summer program for 10 areas underserved 3rd and 4th grade students from low income families attending Title 1 elementary schools. Along with a volunteer, he procured a donation of a catered breakfast from an area restaurant for the students for all 6 sessions of the summer camp. Keith also acquired a donation of $100 for camp supplies. With donations from local merchants the students have been provided with daily snacks from high end restaurants and shops from around downtown McKinney. We have covered in our curriculum the first 2 topics of the TEK educational requirements for Texas 4th graders, Native Indians of Texas and Texas Pioneers. The goal of the summer camp is to promote students’ educational success by providing a preview of curriculum for 3rd graders going into 3rd grade and a review for 4th graders going into 5th.
AmeriCorps VISTA Stephanie Adams’ work this month at Christian Community Action (CCA) included receiving $15,000 from the Celanese foundation for CCA’s comprehensive programs and services as well as writing grant requests to Communities Foundation of Texas, City of The Colony, City of Coppell, TJX Foundation, ADR Foundation, Stallings Foundation, and Walmart Communities Foundation. If granted the requested from each foundation, Stephanie’s work could provide $99,000 to CCA’s comprehensive programs and services such as food assistance, rental and utility assistance, spiritual counseling, seasonal and senior programs, as well as job readiness and life skills training. This month CCA hosted its second annual Sporting Clay Tourney event which Stephanie attended and assisted in coordinating. The fundraising event included 87 shooter participants from local organizations and groups in the Lewisville community and provided the organization with over $35,000 in funds for CCA’s programs.
VISTA Meghan serves with NewDay Services Fatherhood: EFFECT program in Denton, TX. They have successfully settled into their new facilities. Meghan was thrilled to have a stable launch pad from which to coordinate her outreach efforts and made sure to take advantage of it this month. She used the new opportunities presented by the excitement of new facilities to engage old contacts by encouraging them to come by and see what has changed in the program. Meghan has also been working on steadily building the relationship she has developed with two other community organizations, Our Daily Bread and the Salvation Army. This approach resulted in three very successful meetings with, producing a plethora of good ideas for collaboration as well as interagency goodwill. The first meeting was with the Community Liaison for Salvation Army. Meghan and the Fatherhood: EFFECT mentor-navigators were taken on a tour of the facility and given a detailed breakdown of the services they provide. On inclement weather days, they also provide presentations from the community and Fatherhood: EFFECT is being considered for participation. The second meeting was the team’s first outreach day at Our Daily Bread. Meghan and the mentor-navigators came away with a few referrals and were pleased to have kicked off the process of building recognition and trust with the ODB clientele. The third meeting was with the Denton County AgriLife office. They provide nutrition and SNAP benefit orientations free of charge and Meghan was interested in seeing how EFFECT could work with them. What came out of the meeting was the prospect of guest speakers during class as well as the idea for a charming dad and children bonding event–a family cooking class! Meghan can’t wait to see where this idea goes and hopes that it proves as fun and meaningful as past family events she has helped organize for the EFFECT team.
Cailli Perry, Drug Awareness and Prevention VISTA, began her first month of service at STOMP (Standing Together on Meth Prevention) in rural Jacksboro Texas. STOMP’s mission is to educate the communities of Jack County and raise awareness of the dangers of methamphetamine use, crime awareness, and promote prevention. STOMP kicked off the month of April with their “Spring into Action” Campaign, which provides opportunities for Jack County to come together and spread awareness while educating the dangers of drug use/abuse with various events and activities. Cailli and 53 others participated in STOMP’s “Paint the Town” event and their Community Cleanup Day, equating to over 70 hours of community service. They de-cluttered the community of trash and other larger items such as furniture and decorated the Courthouse and schools with turquoise ribbons and STOMP signs. Two additional elements of the campaign involved Senior Scholarships and a Middle School Poster Contest. The overall goal of the annual “Spring into Action” Campaign is to bring the Jack County community together in thinking about how they as individuals, and a community can “Spring Into Action Against Drugs.”
AmeriCorps VISTA member, Victoria Jackson, Victoria played an instrumental role in MDHA’s overall mission to make the experience of homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties rare, brief, and non-recurring with the creation of a comprehensive Youth Services Directory for young people seeking services. The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance (MDHA) brings together more than 85 shelters, housing and supportive services programs through their Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a community-wide database serving 10,126 persons. Understanding that youth experiencing homelessness are far more likely to utilize community Wi-Fi hotpots on smartphones when choosing to seek services, Victoria transformed her directory into an online database on the MDHA resource page. Users will see a paragraph explaining the webpage, followed by links to different service areas such as housing, educational help, employment services, and LGBTQ-affirming services. The Youth Services Directory webpage incorporates user friendly features, including direct links to each program website, gender identity symbols indicating whether or not programs house transgender individuals. And, as a precautionary effort to provide clients with an added sense of security while seeking services, the webpage displays an escape button that immediately exits out completely.
Denton Christian Preschool (DCP), located in Denton, TX, provides early education for at-risk children in the community. Denton Christian Preschool was founded in 1970 by a group of concerned citizens, representing 17 different churches in Denton who believed the first few years of a child’s life are the most important. Since then, a group of dedicated professionals and volunteers have taught, fed, loved, and nurtured three and four year olds who are considered to be at-risk for succeeding in public school without early intervention. DCP does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, political belief, disability, color, religion, age, or sex and does not teach a specific theology, but cares for children with love and concern. Five main components make up DCP’s early childhood education program: developmentally appropriate learning activities in a classroom setting, transportation to and from school, daily nutritious meals and snacks, medical, dental, speech, and other diagnostic screenings and referrals and monthly parenting events. The Marketing and Fundraising VISTA will build capacity by developing a marketing plan to increase community awareness thus increasing student enrollment, volunteers and donors. As a Marketing and Fundraising VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. To learn more about Denton Christian Preschool, visit www.dentoncps.org.
The Marketing and Fundraising VISTA will increase community awareness and enhance fundraising activities to help provide early education for at-risk children in Denton, TX. Major functions will include developing a marketing plan to increase Denton Christian Preschool’s presence in the community to include the development of print materials, social media content and participation in community event. The VISTA will enhance fundraising activities and write 10 grants to raise an additional $100,000 for the education and care of at-risk children. Applicants should possess exemplary written and oral communication skills as well as experience in fundraising, marketing, and computers.
Our Daily Bread (ODB), a community soup kitchen located in Denton, Texas, provides an average of 300 meals per day along with health and human services to the hungry, homeless and economically disadvantaged. Serving those in need for over 17 years, ODB, strives to improve the health, well-being and economic self-sufficiency of its clients. The 2017 Denton County Homeless Coalition Point-in-Time Count identified the top three needs for those experiencing homelessness as transportation, clothing/food, and food stamps. Our Daily Bread meets these three areas by providing gas vouchers and public transportation passes to those who have interviews or medical appointments, by serving seven meals per week on site, no questions asked, as well as providing weekly meals to three other local agencies, and by hosting a Tarrant Area Food Bank Social Services Specialist to answer questions and complete applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In 2017, ODB distributed nearly 204,000 hygiene items; 436 shower passes; 1200 laundry vouchers; 21,422 referrals to social agencies; 232 gas vouchers; 80 prescription vouchers; 4,085 Farmer’s Market items; 993 bus vouchers. All in addition to over 86,000 meals served. The Marketing and Fund Development VISTA will build capacity by researching and writing a minimum of 4 grant proposals with a potential outcome of $60,000 and enhance current fundraising and marketing efforts through the creation of a plan that will result in improved community outreach, awareness and support. As a Marketing and Fund Development VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. To learn more about Our Daily Bread, visit www.ourdailybreaddenton.org.
The Marketing and Fund Development VISTA at Our Daily Bread will increase community awareness and enhance fundraising to provide more clients with nutritious meals and basic needs services. The VISTA will increase fundraising efforts through the research, writing and submission of a minimum of 4 grant proposals that persuasively communicate ODB’s mission and programs to potential funders and garner a potential outcome of $60,000. The VISTA will enhance fundraising efforts by developing a plan to increase donors and participation in fundraising events, will create and update collateral marketing materials and improve current social media communications to include the development of new social media avenues to communicate with targeted audiences. Applicants should possess good communication skills, be proficient with social media marketing and have basic computer skills.
Cailli Perry, a Drug Awareness and Prevention VISTA, is serving with STOMP (Standing Together on Meth Prevention), located in rural Jacksboro Texas. STOMP’s primary focus is to educate the communities of Jack County and create a greater awareness of the dangers of methamphetamine use, crime awareness, and prevention. The non-profit organization has developed a new summer program called “Xtreme Challenge Camp.” The leadership camp will provide 50 youth (6th-8th grade) the opportunity to learn various leadership/teamwork skills (i.e., CPR/certification, fire safety/rescue, outdoor survival skills, and much more), throughout the week of June 4th-8th. For the camp, Cailli created a youth camper registration packet and camp schedule. She, also created a database for the organization to use in order to keep track of the event’s budget/details, the youth campers as they register, and the adult sponsors/volunteers who sign-up to guide the organization in running a safe and successful camp. This upcoming summer, Xtreme Challenge Camp will help these youth develop positive attitudes in the hope they will make smart choices as they continue to grow up and live their lives.