September was quite a busy month for VISTA Sean Enfield. As his organization, the Plano Children’s Theatre, prepares for its big move, Sean has been tasked with recruiting volunteers for the move as well as volunteers to help with the build out of the new space. He has been utilizing the organization’s online presence and talking with community service volunteers in order to get them involved in the Raised Seating Project. While that project is underway, he is still managing the day-to-day operations of the various theatres, their productions, and events. This month, he has recruited 32 volunteers for October’s Halloween fundraiser and the agency’s move and managed 9 volunteers on the production teams for the 11 shows that began rehearsals and 6 shows that performed. These volunteers have served 365 hours cumulatively at Plano Children’s Theatre.
Woman to Woman (W2W) Pregnancy Resource Center’s VISTA, Jennifer Annen, took volunteer training to the next level this September! As W2W welcomed in a new volunteer coordinator, Jennifer worked closely with her to demonstrate their procedures for recruiting, contacting, and orienting new volunteers. Joining forces with her fellow VISTA and new volunteer coordinator, Jennifer helped to identify weak spots in the current recruitment and training processes as well as brainstormed improvements. This collaboration provided staff with a checklist of items to be completed by the volunteer coordinator and store staff when engaging new volunteers. Having these vital steps clearly defined will help W2W recruit volunteers more efficiently and reduce the unfortunate opportunity for procedures and people to slip through the cracks. Jennifer will now analyze the next half of the process: how the agency orients and trains their volunteers in their respective departments. Ensuring new volunteers start off on a good footing encourages smooth sailing during the training process. W2W is largely volunteer-driven and would not be able to provide free services to the community without them. For example, in the month of July, Twice as Nice Resale’s volunteers served 1,755 hours. Their hard work processing tons of donations, cleaning and organizing store shelves, running the cash registers, and many other important duties contributed to the agency being able to provide 40 sonograms to pregnant women at no cost to them. For disadvantaged women and families facing an unintended pregnancy, one sonogram could cost an average of $270, according to New Choice Health. This means women in the area saved about $10,800 in July for sonograms alone!
VISTA Sean Enfield continued his efforts to train volunteers for the Plano Children’s Theatre (PCT). During the month of July, he helped organize, schedule, and run a workshop for the theatre’s high school interns, and he held another Training Workshop for the theatre’s production volunteer position. The production volunteer workshops covered the Set Build and Light/Sound coordinator volunteer positions. Since our volunteer roles are often combined with scholarships and tuition reimbursement, these volunteer roles help make theatre programs affordable to the patrons. Sean also continued management of PCT’s vast array of existing volunteers as the end of the summer ramps the theatre back into its busiest season. During the month of July, he recruited 15 new volunteers and managed 101 volunteers for a total of 389 service hours which saved Plano Children’s Theatre $9,768 in labor costs.
The month of July at Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX was volunteer focused for Hannah McNeill serving as the Volunteer Recruitment and Resource Development VISTA. She managed 45 volunteers with a total of 222 service hours. These volunteers consisted of two groups that served at Twice As Nice Resale and a training that she and VISTA Jen led for 5 volunteers to prepare them to become group leads. As Hannah finishes out her VISTA term, she has begun implementing a new volunteer opportunity that allows volunteers to lead groups. This opportunity will not only help to build confidence in the volunteer group leaders but also provide the Twice As Nice Resale staff with volunteer group resources so that they may easily focus on other tasks. Throughout Hannah’s VISTA term, she has coordinated with fellow VISTA Jen and designed comprehensive documents for leading volunteer groups; including a group summary sheet (group point of contact info, assigned projects, group size/demographic), a volunteer group task list (separated into appropriate tasks for seniors, College/adults, high school/middle school, and elementary school), and a volunteer group lead checklist. These volunteer group documents will allow Woman to Woman to experience more growth through effective and efficient communication with volunteer groups and aid in the retention of the great people who serve with the agency.
Volunteer Coordination VISTA Sean Enfield focused his efforts on expanding Plano Children’s Theatre’s (PCT) volunteer base through its summer intern program and a newly implemented Volunteer Training program. Both programs help make enrollment in productions and classes more affordable. PCT interns earn credits that can allow them to earn up $400 toward a future production, and volunteers often receive credits for the productions in which their child is cast. By expanding the reach of these positions, the theatre hopes to allow those who might be interested in theatre, but unable to afford it, an opportunity to participate with little to no financial involvement. Sean has developed trainings for two of the organizations vital volunteer positions and will eventually develop trainings for all positions. The goal is to minimize the stress in all of the positions and to acclimate new participants into the theatre community.
June was an exciting month for AmeriCorps VISTA Jennifer, who was able to grow within her role of volunteer training at Twice as Nice Resale, an entity of Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX. On June 24, Jennifer played a large role in the style show at Woman to Woman PRC’s annual Ladies’ Purse Auction, which also hosts a brunch, guest speaker, and an amazing silent auction. Working closely with 9 volunteers, Jennifer ensured they felt comfortable and confident in their roles by promoting proper training, communication, and clear instructions. The volunteers modeled head-to-toe outfits and their prices picked straight from Twice as Nice Resale to showcase how you can find cute clothes for a great price. In order to build capacity for Woman to Woman PRC as well as ensure success for the future VISTAS in her role, Jennifer documented every step of the process. This will allow the next VISTA or community volunteer acclimate to their role and make it easier for them to continue magnifying the prosperity of the organization through large events like this one. Indeed, the Ladies’ Purse Auction was a huge success with 193 women attending the event which raised $15,835, providing the highest numbers Woman to Woman PRC has seen yet! Jennifer loved seeing the team’s hard work flourish into such an amazing opportunity to provide Woman to Woman PRC with greater freedom to serve the Denton area’s low-income men, women, and families with free services.
Jennifer Annen, the Volunteer Training VISTA serving with Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX, has already gotten a kick-start in building capacity within the organization’s Twice as Nice Resale store. Woman to Woman and Twice as Nice Resale (TANR) have grown tremendously over the last couple of years and are continually striving to improve, but with great growth can also come growing pains. To help ease some of those growing pains, Jennifer has been tasked with strengthening the organization’s volunteer training program as well as increasing the retention of their current volunteers. She has begun creating departmental training guides which includes all the necessary knowledge for each individual area of the store and warehouse as well as a checklist for the trainer and trainee to complete. This ensures that our volunteers are receiving the attention they deserve during their training and TANR staff can feel confident knowing we covered all the essentials for our volunteers to be successful in their department. By implementing these station guides early on in her VISTA term, Jennifer hopes that they will be easy to follow and use beyond her next 11 months of service. To complement the new individual training process, TANR will hold a monthly two-hour training and review session for all staff and volunteers. To facilitate a meaningful learning opportunity and use of our volunteers’ time, Jennifer drafted a template to be used when planning each monthly session. She hopes that through using this template, staff will also be able to easily keep track of the progress and usefulness of these trainings over time as well as fill in any information gaps as needed. Jennifer looks forward to practicing these new training strategies to not only improve the experience for our staff and volunteers, but to continue aiding Woman to Woman as they serve their community!
VISTA Hannah McNeill has been utilizing social media to potentially recruit volunteers and provide further resources for Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center in Denton, TX. Throughout the past 9 months of her VISTA term, she has been posting daily to all Woman to Woman and Twice as Nice Resale social media platforms. The amount of people reached through the organization’s social media has skyrocketed substantially. This is easily seen from the Twice as Nice Facebook reach for August and September 2015 combined was 1,717 people. In March of 2017 alone, their Facebook page reached 12,167 people! As Hannah seeks to maximize the organization’s social media following, she also desires to provide Woman to Woman with viable ways to keep track of the social media success. One of the ways Hannah is doing this is by logging the social media statistics each month. With hopes to continue the growth in reach, Hannah organized a social media loop giveaway, collaborating with 5 local businesses. She facilitated each business donating their giveaway items as well as wrote a document with thorough wording and scheduling for the giveaway. This document was then given to each business with instructions to tag the other businesses in the post. Hannah’s hope in this giveaway is for strong relationships to be built with Woman to Woman and local businesses and for growth to be seen in followers for each business. These social media efforts are vital for Woman to Woman and Twice as Nice Resale to recruit volunteers and gain new resources. Her efforts paid off by recruiting 10 new volunteers to serve at the Twice as Nice Resale!
Resource Development VISTA Daisy Martinez has worked hard alongside Events & Marketing Coordinator, Morgan Collins to help grow their upcoming fundraising event, “Ladies Purse Auction & Brunch”. This fundraising event is one of the three largest fundraisers that Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center hosts each year. Daisy hopes to exceed their fundraising goal through engaging the local community, and spreading awareness of their mission. Each day, Daisy reaches out to businesses, and women in the Denton Community asking them to participate in the Purse Auction by “adopting” a purse of their choosing from a selection of donated purses located in the W2W office. After adopting the purse, the woman or business takes the purse to fill it with goodies of their choice. The purses are then returned to be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Purse Auction & Brunch event on June 24th at Robson Ranch. All funds raised go directly towards providing services to the clients of the nonprofit.
As 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.