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View from VISTA: Tarman at The Arthritis Foundation

March 7, 2013

Hometown:  Born – London, England (UK) – Moved at early age to Southern California (Anaheim)

What is your favorite aspect about your AmeriCorps VISTA position?
The chance to educate the people (including children) here in town regarding arthritis and the widespread impact of the various types of arthritis in our community. A vulnerable population with many questions and concerns about their quality of life can be directly helped daily through our efforts at the Arthritis Foundation.

What’s one reason you think people should volunteer with the organization where you’re serving? 
One reason – diversity of volunteer opportunities!!! We have so many opportunities, including leading exercise classes and walking programs, helping in our office with patient calls and product inventory, serving as a camp counselor, and working on advocacy initiatives with our local government officials. There is a task to match almost every potential volunteer’s personality and interest. We even have some grants with major hotels for those who want to help us collate and record data in our research efforts.

Arthritis-Foundation-logo

What project or event are you really looking forward to this year and why?
The summer camp for kids affected by Arthritis – this is an especially vulnerable population here in Southern Nevada, as we have no full time pediatric rheumatologist here in town, relying solely on doctors with primary practices in Los Angeles. The camp not only provides a direct resource for kids and families, but also raises community awareness.

What is something that you’ve learned about the community since starting your VISTA term?
I learned about the vast network of government and non-profit agencies we have here in town. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many groups working in a collaborative and congenial way. The display of resource coordination at the recent Project Homeless Connect was truly amazing, and not the type of community event I expected in Las Vegas. A pleasant surprise!!!

What is something you want people who don’t live in Las Vegas to know about this community (cause-related or otherwise)?
We are about a lot more than casinos, buffets, and assorted nighttime debauchery here in Las Vegas. Like any other city, we have ordinary people living their lives, with the same need for social service support. People still ask me if I live in a hotel on the Strip when I tell them I am in Las Vegas – sure, it’s a joke, but the sentiment carries over into false notions in general about how we live here in town.

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?
I have two close family members with debilitating arthritis, so they are my inspiration.

What’s your personal philosophy on what should be done about the cause?
Empower people to take control of their own health, with a hope they can maximize their quality of life through educated and wise choices.

This is the tenth View From VISTA in a series profiling the AmeriCorps VISTAs serving in Southern Nevada during the 2012-13 year.  For more information on AmeriCorps VISTA and national service opportunities in Southern Nevada, click here.

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