During the month of August, AmeriCorps VISTA North Texas welcomed three new VISTA Members. VISTA leader, Marcela Solia, assisted in welcoming these new VISTAs by facilitating their onsite training and creating social media posts introducing them to the community. After helping the new VISTAs settle in, she continued to recruit for the open November positions. The last week of August was spent at various universities’ career fairs speaking with students about AmeriCorps VISTA and the many opportunities available. Many students showed interest in the program and even left their contact information requesting more information.
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.
VISTA leader, Marcela Solia, spent the month of June putting her artistic skills to use by creating marketing materials for recruitment events. She developed flyers and social media graphics that will be used to market each of the 8 VISTA positions that are currently open. Templates of the flyers and graphics were saved for future recruitment events. Marcela also created a pop up banner for the North Texas Project. Thorough research was done to find the best strategies for creating an aesthetic banner that also grabs the viewers’ attention. This banner will be taken to tabling events in the hopes of attracting even more potential VISTAs and partnering agencies. The more our project grows, the bigger the impact can be made on our community.
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.
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.
November 1st marked the start of a brand new VISTA year for 4 new VISTAs to the North Texas Project. VISTAs Melanie Kuriger, Sean Enfield, Steven Tillman, and Meghan Kajihara went through their VISTA North Texas on-site orientation and training (OSOT) with VISTA Leader Chanell Rose on November 1st. Chanell facilitated training for the four new VISTAs on proper reporting, terms and conditions of service, and the pre-service orientation blend (PSO Blend) course they are all enrolled in. As PSO Blend is relatively new, VISTA Leader Chanell was tasked with updating and presenting the VISTA North Texas OSOT in a way that complements the extended Blend course work. Making that adjustment to the OSOT for incoming VISTAs ensures that the North Texas project is sufficiently preparing new VISTAs for Blend without leaving them asking too many questions without answers. This also allows the VISTA North Texas project to use this training in the future for incoming PSO Blend VISTAs.
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!