Two more successful sessions of the Christian Community Action Job Readiness program pilot were recently held on two consecutive Saturdays for another group of hopeful and enthusiastic clients. In fact, AmeriCorps VISTA member Steven Tillman has seemed to have his hands full with the program’s rollout and revamp since the turn of the New Year. These course pilots serve as the foundation for the full development of a program which focuses upon workforce development, financial awareness, and self-empowerment. Such a program is estimated to require years of added program development and branch-cultivation for complete establishment. Social service nonprofits Goodwill Industries of Dallas and The Salvation Army of Denton County have expressed sincere interest in partnering with CCA in order to better serve the citizens of Denton County. The Workforce Solutions North Texas branch has also expressed interest in meeting with Steven to discuss the parameters for a partnership. An embodiment of programs which address the matters of unemployment and underemployment through socioeconomic awareness, skills development, and self empowerment could undoubtedly have a positive impact on a multitude of North Texas citizens. Therefore, Mr. Tillman’s efforts appear to not only be “headed in the right direction,” but in a “bright” direction, as well.
The citizens of Denton County, Texas have an interesting socioeconomic structure and somewhat of a unique need for workforce development. VISTA Steven Tillman, serving with Christian Community Action in Lewisville, TX, has spent months researching, gathering, and reviewing data, in efforts of finding a point of engagement which aligns with those needs. Programs department administrators at Christian Community Action approved Steven’s vision for holding Job Readiness courses on Saturdays. He recently launched the pilot for a group of hopeful and enthusiastic clients. The program still incorporates job market awareness, vision-scaping of future plans, and personal brand marketing, but also assist the client in conserving time by scheduling three classes in one day, rather than scheduling three classes over a period of three consecutive days. With this new addition, clients who have a busy schedule during regular business hours can participate in courses with less compromise.
North Texas nonprofit Christian Community Action (CCA) continues its efforts of service to the communities of Lewisville, Texas and the surrounding areas of Denton County. With over 40 years of service, it’s no wonder that CCA has come to be well respected by many. AmeriCorps VISTA Steven Tillman took the challenge of developing a new program for CCA’s clients which would assist them with laying a foundation for continued employment and successful endeavors in the professional business market. Steven’s research and curriculum development have resulted in a program which incorporates job market awareness, the vision-scaping of future plans, and personal brand marketing with concurrent case management and assessment. His program takes a progressive approach because it not only focuses on clients securing employment but also on clients assuring that the same employment aligns with their personal habits and ambitions. Steven conducted research on the entire county of Denton and concluded that its citizens deal with a chronic matter of underemployment, with some households having as many as five means of employment distributed amongst two adults. He says that this is due to the average living wage not being sufficient enough to sustain the average worker through a singular means of employment, resulting in many individuals requiring additional employment. Steven is poised to roll out the program to an extensive degree once an embodiment of case managers are trained and additional trainers are recruited. He states that his work with CCA is directly connected to his “life’s work” and future ambitions.
VISTA Steven Tillman, a second time AmeriCorps member from Chicago, Illinois, has launched a pilot version of his Life Skills & Job Readiness Training course for nonprofit staple Christian Community Action. Steven developed surveys to administer to clients for the purpose of data collection during the course’s trial run. This is the first of two trial run data snapshots to be captured before the program is officially launched. Having spent a sizable amount of service hours conducting online research in the areas of Occupational Psychology and Workforce Development in order to obtain data and information to add to the curriculum, Steven now feels that his research oeffors are nearing completion.
January 2017 brought in a storm of grant writing for Tierra Bishop, Grants VISTA with Christian Community Action (CCA). Within the last month, she wrote and submitted a total of four complete grants for a potential income of $330,000 to support the ministry of CCA. She has also begun work on two grants to be submitted in early February for an additional potential $46,000. These grants, if awarded, will be used to support CCA’s various programs that serve low-income individuals across North Texas, including the Food Pantry, Family Assistance Services, Life Skills training, as well as general operational costs for the organization.
Tierra Bishop, the Grants VISTA at Christian Community Action (CCA) in Lewisville, TX has increased the agency’s capacity to provide services and programs though their Family Assistance Services program. She secured $13,500 in funding from the cities of The Colony and Coppell to provide services to the low income residents of those communities. Tierra has also expanded funding opportunities for CCA by preparing a $10,000 grant request to the Harry W. Bass Foundation and a $10,000 grant request to the Hilderbrand Foundations. If awarded, these funds will benefit CCA’s utility and rental assistance programs, food pantry and spiritual care services.
As a Grant Writing VISTA at Christian Community Action, you will help end poverty by developing funding streams to assist low-income individuals transition out of crisis and become self-sufficient. Major functions include becoming familiar with grant research tools to identify new funding opportunities and develop, write and submit a minimum of 6 grant proposals for a potential outcome of $250,000 to foundations and other grant-making organizations that persuasively communicate Christian Community Action’s mission and programs to potential funders. VISTAs serve their communities through indirect service. The funding streams developed by the Grant Writing VISTA will endure for years, however the VISTA member will have limited interaction with Christian Community Action clients and will be based in an office setting. Applicants should possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, proficiency in research and basic grant writing knowledge.
Tierra Bishop, an AmeriCorps VISTA working on grants with Christian Community Action (CCA), completed a significant portion of a Grant Procedures document. The document will be used by the next VISTA at CCA, and will allow the VISTA to become familiar with grant research, writing, reporting and other related information. This information would otherwise have to be learned completely first-hand, and will therefore allow the VISTA to become efficient with grants more quickly than the first-year VISTA was able to.
Tierra Bishop, an AmeriCorps VISTA writing grants with Christian Community Action (CCA), successfully secured $500.00 to jump-start next year’s Back to School program, which provides clothing for students whose families cannot afford to provide them with on their own. Additionally, Tierra completed a grant to the Wells Fargo Foundation, asking for $25,000 to support CCA’s Family Assistance Services program. Family Assistance Services is the entry point for all of CCA’s clients to receive comprehensive services that will aid them on their personalized path towards sustained self-sufficiency.
Tierra Bishop, Grant Writing VISTA for Christian Community Action (CCA) has kept busy researching and writing grants to support the agency’s programs. She wrote a grant seeking $5,000.00 to the City of Highland Village to provide support for CCA’s various programs that benefit Highland Village residents. Tierra also received a promise for $1,000 from WalMart to benefit CCA’s Back to School program which will provide new school uniforms to economically-disadvantaged students in CCA’s community.