New VISTA Leader, Marcela Solia, dives right into service

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Marcela Solia began her VISTA Leader service with the VISTA North Texas project in April. Her role is to both support the current VISTAs and to support partnering agencies in recruiting new VISTAs for the North Texas Project. Marcela was able to facilitate future recruitment by creating a step by step guide on the recruitment process including templates of marketing materials. Every partner agency will receive this guide to help them through their recruitment. The marketing materials developed include flyer templates and social media posts that can be adapted to the agency’s needs. In order to support the current VISTAs, Marcela takes time to get to know each VISTA and their roles.

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April Comperda Begins Promotion of Denton County Friends of the Family’s Faith for Freedom Event

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In May, April Comperda began service with Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) as their Community Marketing Liaison VISTA. April will build capacity through increased awareness of DCFOF’s brand and services, create a sustainable form of communication with donors and volunteers, improve social media marketing and donor acquisition/ retention. The goal of the project is to create a sustainable donor relations plan, with the intention of increasing donor retention, donor acquisition, and dollars raised through fundraising efforts. The majority of April’s first month was learning the various ins and outs of the entire organization and her own role at DCFOF. She attended the four day New Worker’s Institute training for all new interns and employees and began to work with her team to promote their latest campaign, Faith for Freedom. The goal of the campaign is to build a relationship of trust with faith communities in order to connect clients with congregations of their faith, while simultaneously raising awareness of domestic violence and resources that are available. The campaign will kick off with a social event on June 22, 2017 at the outreach office to raise momentum and strength for the campaign.

April Neal Organizes a Successful Dine-In Fundraiser

April Neal TwitterApril Neal, the Grants and Resource Development VISTA at Youth and Family Counseling coordinated the first dine-in fundraiser of the year at the IHOP restaurant in Lewisville, TX. Everyone had a great time playing board games and purchasing raffle tickets. Over $200 was raised through in-kind donations of gift cards, raffle sales, and the percentage of sales. In addition to the IHOP fundraiser, April went out in the community and met with many great organizations to develop partnerships for the agency’s next major fundraiser a 5K run! April is excited to collaborate with other nonprofits in the community. She also continues to research and write grants to give Youth and Family Counseling the ability to provide free counseling to at-risk youth.

VISTA Leader Chanell Rose’s Term of Service Ends on a High Note

IMG_1144As VISTA Leader Chanell Rose’s service term comes to an end, she has been firing on all jets to leave the North Texas Project with more than it had when she came in! In the month of March, Chanell welcomed in the last new group of VISTAs during her service term, taking them through On-Site Orientation & Training (OSOT). As the PowerPoint for OSOT had yet to be finalized, Chanell worked on getting a final draft of the OSOT PowerPoint approved by the Project Director. Along with the presentation, Chanell also began work on a VISTA checklist that will lay out the recruitment process in an easy to follow format. This will help to stabilize the project once the VISTA Leader’s service term has ended. Chanell has truly enjoyed her year of service as a VISTA Leader with the VISTA North Texas Project. She’s learned so much from working with Project Director Christina Penland, and plans to take everything she’s learned on with her in future endeavors.

Sarah Crain Improves Efficiency atTwice as Nice Resale

Sarah Crain 4AmeriCorps VISTA Sarah Crain has made a tangible impact on Woman to Woman as their Logistic Specialist. While with Woman to Woman, Sarah has authored 5 different manuals that help improve efficiency and continuity within Twice as Nice Resale. These manuals range from how to react during a fire to how to efficiently sort donated items at the warehouse door. Sarah wanted to ensure Twice as Nice was operating at its fullest potential to increase sales for the store that would in turn increase financial support Woman to Woman. Throughout her service year, Sarah has ensured that Staff and Volunteer voice’s were heard in every policy she created. Often times Sarah would shadow volunteers to discover best practices for each department in order to efficiently write policy. Staff are now equipped to author and edit policy themselves to always ensure their organization grows. Sarah has been able to make an impact in the Denton community by building logistical capacity for Woman to Woman!

VISTA Steven Tillman Lays a Framework Model for CCA’s Job Readiness Program and Secures Administration’s Approval

StevenNorth 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.

Our Daily Bread VISTA Creates Volunteer Council

Our Daily Bread LogoAleisha Tunstall is the Grant Research and Development VISTA at Our Daily Bread (ODB). ODB  is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit community soup kitchen located in Denton, TX, that provides nutritious meals, special services and referrals for other services to those in need. Currently, Aleisha is working under the direction of the Executive Administrator to create a Volunteer Council for Our Daily Bread. Aleisha is outlining the roles of the Volunteer Council and its mission. The Volunteer Council is estimated to begin serving at ODB around September of 2017. The purpose of the Volunteer Council is to take the place of the Volunteer Coordinator position and take over volunteer communications, recognition, and database duties.

Rebecca Dake Creates Video to Increase Awareness of Interfaith Ministries Apple Tree Project

Rebecca Dake-preferred photoRebecca Dake, Community Outreach VISTA at Interfaith Ministries (IFM) of Denton, partnered this month with the Denton Independent School District (ISD) on a video about the Apple Tree Project. IFM’s Apple Tree Project provides back-to-school assistance to Denton ISD families who qualify for the Free and Reduced Meals Program. Rebecca interviewed Barb Haflich, the district’s Social Services Coordinator, who said the families served by the program are “just doing the best they can.” The families live at or below the poverty level and cannot easily absorb the costs associated with going back to school. The video aims to raise awareness of and participation in the program. The VISTA’s video is a marketing tool that can be used again next year, helping to sustain the program. To view the video, visit: https://youtu.be/PJH8BjtsB4w.

Nicole Owens Welcomes New Speakers’ Bureau Members to Denton County Friends of the Family

nicole-owens-2AmeriCorps VISTA, Nicole Owens, is in the process of completing the Denton County Friends of the Family’s community education project. Nicole has welcomed two new Speakers Bureau members who completed their training in the month of March. They are now able to shadow tabling events and presentations to learn more about representing Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF). Developed by VISTA Members, the rigorous Speakers Bureau training covers a variety of topics to insure members have an adequate understanding of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and the dynamics that contribute to both. Once they’ve observed several presentations, members will assist with presentations, alleviating some of the heavy workload of the DCFOF community education team.

New Service Opportunities To Begin in August

The VISTA North Texas project has 3 new service opportunities that will begin on August 14th. Applications will be accepted through June 30th.

DentonChristianPreschoolDenton Christian Preschool Marketing and Fundraising VISTA  Denton Christian Preschool (DCP), located in Denton, TX, provides early education for at-risk children in the community. 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 grants to raise an additional $100,000 for the education and care of at-risk children.

Denton County Friends of the Family LogoDCFOF Community Marketing Liaison VISTA                                   Denton County Friends of the Family (DCFOF) located in Corinth, TX is committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive services to those impacted by rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence while partnering with the community to promote safety, healing and prevention. The Community Marketing Liaison VISTA will help stop financial abuse and help victims break the cycle of poverty by creating a sustainable system to increase support and strengthen donor relationships. Major functions will include developing and implementing a donor management system to include communication through print and social media to keep supporters informed and creating a time-effective donor acknowledgement process. The VISTA will create new, general marketing materials for agency use, assist in the planning, marketing and execution of fundraisers and create a planning manual for all agency fundraisers.

Woman to Woman LogoWoman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center Volunteer Recruitment and Development VISTA  Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center located in Denton, TX, empowers individuals to make wise life choices financially, sexually, and relationally through 3 programs that work together to provide assistance to women in unintended pregnancies and bring families out of poverty. The Volunteer Recruitment and Development VISTA at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center will enhance the volunteer program to develop volunteer leaders. Major functions will include expanding and enhancing the volunteer program through implementation of new policy and procedure manual and continued development of a volunteer training manual, developing a volunteer management system to track volunteer activities and hours of service and developing areas to cultivate relationships with volunteers and move 12 of them to leadership positions within the organization to ensure retention and growth of the agency’s programs.

For a step-to-step guide on how to apply for these Service Opportunities please visit our Apply Now! Tab or Contact Us for any additional questions.