VISTA leader, Marcela Solia, spent the month of July focusing on recruitment for the November VISTA positions. She worked to market for the open positions by posting openings on college sites and social media and preparing for tabling events coming up in August. Many applications have already come in and Marcela has taken the time to screen the applicants. She also spent a week at leadership training along with several VISTA Leaders throughout the nation. During the conference, she learned techniques for communication and conflict resolution allowing her to be a better support system for her VISTAs.
North Central Texas College (NCTC) officially submitted and was approved for a VISTA project through VISTA North Texas in the month of February. VISTA Leader Chanell Rose first made a connection with Roxanne Del Rio, Associate Dean of Denton County Campuses for NCTC, in the first few months of her service. Throughout her term, Chanell has stayed connected with Ms. Del Rio, and fostered the relationship with NCTC into a blossoming VISTA site. With this new addition, the North Texas Project has been able to diversify its partner agencies with a college site, which could open other recruitment avenues at campuses in Cooke County. We are excited to begin recruiting for this position starting in July!
MLK Day of Service is a national service day that AmeriCorps members across the country take part in, hosting or participating in various service projects aimed at fighting poverty within their community. For the VISTA North Texas Project, VISTA Leader Chanell Rose coordinated with Denton County Homeless Coalition and partner agency Giving Hope to bring all of the North Texas VISTAs together to lend a hand with the annual Point in Time (PIT) Count. All 14 VISTAs within the project, 2 VISTA Leaders, and the Project Director Christina Penland spent Saturday morning, January 21st, packing 200 incentive bags to give out to homeless members of the community during the PIT count surveys. These bags are filled with toiletries, clothing, and other essentials for the colder winter months. The full 17 member VISTA North Texas Project came together in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s day of service, and also took the chance to connect and grow as a North Texas team.
AmeriCorps VISTA Leader Jessica Platt has felt very welcomed since she has started with the VISTA North Texas Project team. She is learning about the organization and the mission of the project. Jessica is getting familiar with her VISTA Leader duties, meeting the VISTA cohort, and getting familiar with the culture of the overall North Texas Project. She is very thankful for her supervisor and the other VISTA leader in their efforts in making her transition smooth. With the addition of a second VISTA Leader, the North Texas Project will have a greater capacity to launch its first Summer VISTA Associate program with City of Denton Parks and Recreation. This project will have 2 separate programs with 3 individual start dates, and will house a maximum of 29 Summer VISTAs. The work Jessica is putting in towards recruitment and outreach will ensure the project’s first Summer VISTA Associate program will be a huge success!
As the holidays were rolling around, VISTA Leader Chanell Rose focused her efforts on setting up the VISTA North Texas Project for a successful year in 2017! With the project expanding, there is a need for increased outreach and awareness for the VISTA program throughout the counties the project covers. A new VISTA site in Sherman, Texas spurred Chanell to reach out to Austin College as a possible outreach and recruitment venue. She was able to speak with a representative from their Career Services office to partner with the college on a formal informational session to be held early in the new year.
This holiday season was full of festivities for Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX. Volunteer Recruitment and Development VISTA Hannah McNeill helped to ensure volunteers were celebrated this season and create the program for the annual Twice As Nice Resale Volunteer Christmas Party. This event is key to creating momentum for volunteers for the upcoming year and sustainability for the nonprofit through the expression of gratitude. Through Hannah’s engagement with the Volunteers in the evening’s activities and her intentionality in the programs messaging, it was expressed to the volunteers how much they are needed and how much Woman to Woman appreciates their willingness to serve. Just a few days later, Hannah was able to serve at the Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Clinic’s Christmas party. She joined volunteers and coworkers in executing this event on top of posting to social media throughout the evening. Hannah’s involvement in this occasion served to support the clients and help them feel welcome and loved. Because who knows they may become volunteers one day.
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.
As a Resource Development VISTA at Youth and Family Counseling, you will help end poverty by writing grants and developing resources to help keep at-risk children in school and out of the juvenile justice system. Major functions will include researching and submitting a minimum of 4 grants with a total potential outcome of $75,000, enhancing existing fundraising efforts as well as researching and implementing small-scale fundraising opportunities. The VISTA will also recruit volunteers to assist with fundraising efforts. VISTAs serve their communities through indirect service. The programs developed by the Grants and Resource Development VISTA will endure for years, however the VISTA member will have limited interaction with Youth and Family Counseling clients and will be based in an office setting. Applicants should possess strong written and verbal communication skills.
Recruitment is nonstop for the VISTA North Texas Project, both of VISTAs and project sites. In October, VISTA Leader Chanell Rose and Project Director Christina Penland met with representatives from North Central Texas College (NCTC) to discuss the possibility of a new VISTA project. As one of the first recruitment sites Chanell established as the VISTA Leader, NCTC continues to be a great resource to the North Texas project. Associate Dean Roxanne Del Rio thanked Chanell for connecting NCTC with AmeriCorps VISTA, and iterated that without Chanell’s outreach, NCTC would not have considered starting a VISTA project at their Corinth campus. Through her efforts, the North Texas project was able to expand their program in the Denton County area, and explore possible connections in counties where other NCTC campuses are located. The work of a VISTA is never done, so Chanell is eager to continue growing their connection with NCTC into the future!