The Epilepsy Foundation Texas located in Houston, Texas leads the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures and save lives. Established in 1983, the Epilepsy Foundation Texas-Houston/Dallas-Fort Worth/West Texas provides a number of programs and services, including: public and professional education and awareness programs, camp and recreation programs for people with epilepsy and their families and specialized medical care throughout the state. As the largest non-government support of epilepsy research, the Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. We fund research that is focused on a cure for epilepsy and aimed at eliminating seizures, side-effects and other consequences of epilepsy. The Program Resource Development VISTA at Epilepsy Foundation Texas will build capacity through the development of new funding streams and recruitment of volunteers for camp programs and medical clinics. AmeriCorps VISTA members perform only indirect service; interaction with clients will be limited and the member will spend the majority of his or her time in an office setting. However, the Epilepsy Foundation Texas VISTA will play a dynamic role in ending poverty by increasing stakeholder and community engagement outreach activities. As an Epilepsy Foundation Texas Program Resource Development VISTA you will be part of a cohort coordinated by the AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas project at Chisholm Trail RSVP, Inc. Early applications strongly encouraged. To learn more about Epilepsy Foundation Texas, visit http://www.eftx.org.
As a VISTA at Epilepsy Foundation Texas in Houston you will help families and individuals living with epilepsy receive excellent programs and services such as medical clinics and camp programs. Major activities include researching and writing grants benefitting camp programs and medical clinics. The VISTA will build on the success of camp and clinic programs to increase overall community outreach through the development of processes, presentation and training materials/manuals used for outreach and retention of donors, campers and volunteers, etc. VISTAs serve their communities through indirect service. Applicants should possess excellent written and oral communication skills, community organization and grant writing skills.
Rashika Smith is serving with the Epilepsy Foundation Texas as the Community Outreach VISTA. Education outreach for epilepsy is what Rashika primarily markets to potential funders and supporters. As part of her professional development, Rashika attended the Epilepsy Foundation’s seizure first aid training. As with any training like CPR and first aid you hope you never have to use it, but when 1 in 26 people develop epilepsy in their lifetime this type of education is important. The Epilepsy Foundation offers seizure first aid training so those in the community are aware and know what to do and not do when coming into contact with an individual experiencing a seizure. Rashika never imagined the training she attended and now assists with would ever be used. However, one Thursday afternoon, the sound of a loud scream prompted her into action when a co-worker was in the throngs of an active seizure. Rashika jumped into action, administered seizure first aid and stabilized her coworker until paramedics arrived. According to her supervisor, Rashika remained calm and administered the first aid flawlessly, even remembering to time the seizure. When paramedics arrived, they asked her how she knew to time the seizure. She was very proud to explain to them what Epilepsy Foundation does and the services offered.
Stephanie De Los Santos, a Camp Resource Development VISTA with the Epilepsy Foundation of Texas (EFTX), wrote and submitted 6 grants asking for a total of $72,600 in July. Two of those grants, totaling $13,600 from the CH Foundation and CNS Pantex were approved. These grants will fund programs to send children with epilepsy to summer camp, provide free medication and diagnostic testing to adults, and education programs for school nurses and personnel to ensure safe environments for children attending school with epilepsy.
Rashika Smith is the Community Outreach VISTA serving at the Epilepsy Foundation Texas’ Dallas office. In May, she received the sad news that a five year old passed away in his sleep from epilepsy. Hearing about his death was hard and knowing he was just a child was even harder. Rashika met this child at Sharon’s Ride in Fort Worth. Sharon’s Ride is a fundraising and epilepsy awareness event. This was the first Epilepsy Foundation event the child and family attended and Rashika remembers seeing the child smiling and having fun. Rashika has learned first-hand that creating events is more than just making money. These events also help to make precious family memories. As a VISTA, Rashika’s work is behind the scenes where she creates positive impact and sometimes she does not get to see the results. The thought of the little boy gives her fuel to keep going and work even harder to raise money and awareness about epilepsy so one day another family does not wake up to their child not being able to say,” good morning”.