Stephanie De Los Santos, Camp and Resource Development VISTA serving with the Epilepsy Foundation Texas, began her year of service in March and dove right in to grant writing. Stephanie has been able to submit 3 grants for a potential outcome of $33,600. If awarded the funds will be used to send children with epilepsy to summer camp. The Epilepsy Foundation Texas camping programs provide children and youth with epilepsy a safe, structured, FUN and encouraging home away from home. In order to learn more about how epilepsy effects individuals and families, Stephanie interviewed a father and son. The son has a seizure disorder and the father was away at work while most of the testing/diagnosis process was ongoing. They told her about the fear, worry, and anxiety of having to go through the medical testing. They also told her about the relief of becoming involved with the epilepsy foundation and how the agency has helped them. At that moment, Stephanie felt like she was a part of something important.
VISTA member, April Neal is serving with Youth and Family Counseling in Lewisville, TX. The mission of Youth and Family Counseling is to aid the families and children of Denton County, thereby creating healthy and productive individuals, families, and communities which will benefit the quality of life for all. In the month of April, she learned the importance of balance and time management. With good planning, April put together her second DINE- IN Fundraiser where she met a lot of people and potential clients for the agency. At the fundraiser, single moms inquired about counseling services for their children. Some parents also learned that about the free services offered to keep children and families healthy.
AmeriCorps 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!
As the New Volunteer Training VISTA will increase the agency’s capacity by improving current volunteer trainings and procedures thus increasing retention of volunteers. The VISTA member will expand and enhance the volunteer program through the evaluation and revision of existing policies and procedures, create a new volunteer training program consistent with new policies and procedures and create follow-up trainings and evaluations. The VISTA member will develop a volunteer management system to track volunteer activities and hours of service while maintaining confidentiality and security of volunteer records. VISTAs serve their communities through indirect service. The programs developed by the New Volunteer Training VISTA will endure for years, however the VISTA member will have limited interaction with clients and will be based in an office setting. Applicants should possess strong verbal and written communication skills and computer skills.
Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center is a non-profit agency in Denton, TX that is dedicated to empowering individuals and families to make wise life choices financially, relationally, and sexually through the provision of resources and education. On Thursday, August 20, 2015, VISTA member Marissa Castilleja engaged the community of University of North Texas students at the Mean Green Fling where an estimated 8,000 freshmen students were in attendance. Marissa publicized the organization by handing out promotional items and answering inquiries about the agency. Information regarding Woman To Woman’s complimentary STI testing, pregnancy verification, as well as other offered services was handed out to over 1,000 students. In addition, Marissa successfully recruited 10 new volunteers to serve at Woman to Woman.
Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center is a partner agency of the Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. AmeriCorps VISTA project.
PediPlace is a non-profit pediatric clinic in Lewisville, TX which provides services to the underinsured and uninsured children of North Texas. The mission of PediPlace is to make healthcare a reality for every kid. An important component of VISTA member Kendra Reams’ service is to expand and engage the supporter base through social media. Kendra has increased engagement among community partners and patients through the creation of short, easily digestible videos and images such as her YouTube video for North Texas Giving Day which can be viewed here. In Kendra’s first month of service, she has increased activity on Facebook from 1 average weekly page visit and 0 people engaged to 106 weekly page visits and 344 people engaged. Through social media interaction, Kendra has cultivated a closer relationship between PediPlace and the community which has increased investments from established supporters, as well as, new supporters.
PediPlace is a partner agency of the Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project.