Posts Tagged ‘AmeriCorps VISTA’

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Power Hour

May 1, 2013

This post comes from AmeriCorps VISTA member Steven Nichols, who is serving at Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

AmeriCorps VISTA member, Steven Nichols, welcomes Ross volunteers and BGCLV club members to Power Hour.

AmeriCorps VISTA member, Steven Nichols, welcomes Ross volunteers and BGCLV club members to Power Hour.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas has been selected by Ross Stores as a Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Ross Store Power Hour grant recipient. This innovative partnership between Ross stores and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America allows students a power hour, a place and time to find tutoring, homework assistance and reinforcement of the subjects they learn in school. Power Hour is a BGCA program that implements better study habits and homework support for members 6- 18 years old in a positive interactive setting.

Last night  Tuesday, April 3oth BGCLV hosted our first Ross Power Hour engagement activity at our Donald W. Reynolds Clubhouse, the event was a tremendous success and we look forward to continuing this partnership with our local Ross Stores.

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Boys & Girls Clubs also extends a huge thank you to Mea Charles, author of the Good Gus book series for reading her fantastic stories to the Lied Memorial Club kids.

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The club members had the privilege of illustrating illustrating the stories they heard!

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Partnering Up to Make an Impact

April 15, 2013

This post comes from AmeriCorps VISTA member Steven Nichols, who is serving at Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas would like to extend a huge thank you to the Neon Museum & Outside Las Vegas Foundation for involving us in a tour and art workshop. Our Club kids had the opportunity to use their imaginations and create neon signs that would attract visitors to the natural resources and parks in the Las Vegas Valley. Everyone had a great time engaging with the museum and spending some time outside! Both the  Lied Memorial Clubhouse and our Downtown Clubhouse enjoyed their trip and would like to extend a thank you to our Boys & Girls Clubs volunteer and foster grandparent, Ms. Johann for working with us to coordinate this experience. The event was a great success, and an indication that there is an appetite for these types of community programs in the future!

Steven@NeonMuseum

 

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My Service Experiences

March 19, 2013

By Seelypon Phanthip JFAD 1

Service is a part of who I have become. Prior to going to college, I partook in community service projects in which a few of my high school clubs participated. I would help build a house, wrap presents for the holidays, tutor kids in math, or cleanup a wash to make a walking trail. I knew it was the “right” thing to do. However, it was not until I had the opportunity to be a part of the Social Action and Justice (SAAJ) Colloquium at Pepperdine University that I began to scratch the surface of what service truly is. Within SAAJ, I got a taste of what social justice entails. It opened my eyes to the different populations that need services and the vast variety of programs that could be offered.

PVC retreat

In addition to SAAJ, I spent all four of my college years taking part in an AmeriCorps program called Jumpstart, which works with early childhood education. With Jumpstart, I had the opportunity to learn about the need for quality education from a young age and how a simple program like Jumpstart could help bridge the education gap. Through Jumpstart, I gained a position in the Pepperdine Volunteer Center (PVC) staff as a Team Leader for Jumpstart. As a staff member, I was able to dig deeper in social justice and how it relates to the service that I was doing. I led groups on service projects and exposed them to nonprofits in the Greater Los Angeles area. I lead groups of college students in preschool classrooms to try to bridge the education gap. I traveled to Costa Rica to help build a multipurpose center, rebuild habitats for animals, and work with children in an orphanage. I spent time on Skid Row to experience one night as a homeless person. I could not imagine what kind of person I would be if I did not involve myself in all these service projects.

 

Costa Rica

Service is every experience you are giving to another person. As a VISTA, living on a stipend gives me an insight of those who have to endure the struggles of everyday life, paycheck to paycheck. It provides the motivation to make any project I am a part of better than it was before. Service comes in all forms; it is all about seeing every experience in a different light.

SFD 2

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Four New AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities in Southern Nevada!

March 15, 2013

Four exciting AmeriCorps VISTA opportunities have just opened in sunny Southern Nevada!  Learn about how you can give back to the community through a year of service by reading the summaries below or clicking on the link.  Have questions or want more information? Contact Jacob Murdock at 702-892-2321 or jacobm@uwsn.org.

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Children’s Advocacy Alliance

https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=48682

Early Childhood Education has been determined to be a key factor in the level of educational attainment of Nevada’s youth. Because of this, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a grant to organizations in Nevada who will be creating a collaborative to work to improve early childhood education to all children in Nevada, specifically those who live in poverty. The Children’s Advocacy Alliance is the organization who has been tasked with spearheading the movement to improve early childhood education in the state. The VISTA Member will work with CAA staff members to
coordinate the Early Childhood Education Workgroup. In this role, the Member will develop infrastructure and key relationships that will benefit the CAA in years to come. The Member will work towards the CAA mission by creating a structure to highlight Early Childhood Education issues and provide outreach on behalf of providers that enhance the wellbeing of children & families in need.

United Way of Southern Nevada Access to Healthcare

https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=48843

Clark County Nevada has one of the lowest percentages of childhood immunizations ages birth to 3 years old. Clark County Nevada also scores very low in overall health for children. The work of the VISTA member will address this be a targeted approach by engaging community members, school based health clinics and health organizations. Additionally, the VISTA Member will develop a data collection mechanism for our partner agencies and will compare those numbers to the State reported numbers in order to assess the effects of the outreach. The Member will also report these numbers and use the information to research funding opportunities that will result in better access to health care for Southern Nevadans. The VISTA Member will work with United Way of Southern Nevada staff, partner agencies and schools to make health care more readily available to those who are in need.

 

Clark County School District Community School – Partnership Office

https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=46141

The VISTA member will outreach to new & existing partners in the community to identify opportunities for youth to volunteer as well as to identify opportunities for community members to volunteer in activities which promote education and student success. The VISTA will develop key talking points & guidelines for conversations, coordinate trainings, place volunteers in school settings as well as develop & maintain a database of volunteer opportunities and completed activities. The VISTA will develop systems to ensure the sustainability of service initiatives beyond the VISTA program. In addition, the VISTA will maintain & enhance a social media campaign to bring community-wide awareness to education themed volunteer opportunities. The VISTA will develop volunteer opportunities that enable community members to become involved in school programs that promote economic development in southern Nevada. Volunteers will be trained and placed in school settings that will prove them with successful & engaging experiences and ones that will also enrich the lives of students. The VISTA will help enable more caring adults to be involved in and positively influence student lives with the goal of helping youth achieve success in school as well as graduate from high school.

HopeLink of Southern Nevada

https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=48843

The lack of financial stability among individuals is a significant factor that leads individuals and families to poverty. There is a need in the community to provide a holistic set of resources that can help empower community members with the skills and knowledge to become financially stable. HopeLink is developing a system of Integrated Service Delivery (ISD) in the creation of their Financial Stability Center. The VISTA member would work with staff from HopeLink to assist in the development and implementation of the Financial Stability Center. The VISTA member would research similar resources and best practices, develop partnerships with local agencies to integrate services where gaps currently exist and develop evaluation mechanisms based upon the established goals. Additionally, the VISTA member would be involved in other aspects of HopeLink’s current financial stability programming. The VISTA member would help HopeLink of Southern Nevada empower community members and break the poverty cycle by promoting financial education. The capacity building that the VISTA member will provide will help meet this need in southern Nevada.

AmeriCorps VISTAs in Southern Nevada will receive a modest living allowance of $1078 each month (before taxes). After the successful completion of a term, VISTAs may be eligible to receive a $5,550 education award.  If you have questions about these opportunities, contact Jacob Murdock at 702-892-2321 or jacobm@uwsn.org

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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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View from VISTA: Seelypon at Nevada Health Centers

February 4, 2013

Hometown: Henderson, NV by way of Honolulu, HI

What is your favorite aspect about your AmeriCorps VISTA position? I enjoy the ability to work with other community organizations and people in the community. It is wonderful that I get the chance to go into the community and talk to individuals that need the healthcare services that NVHC has to offer or know people that need it. I love seeing the faces of these individuals that get the information. It is interesting to meet the different people of the community I grew up in. I’ve learned so much that I hadn’t before my VISTA term. There is so much of the Las Vegas Valley to explore and know.

Seelypon serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Southern Nevada, but she started volunteering years ago.  Her volunteer service even took her to Costa Rica as a college student.

Seelypon serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Southern Nevada, but she started volunteering years ago. Her volunteer service even took her to Costa Rica as a college student.

What’s one reason you think people should volunteer with the organization where you’re serving? There is a great need for quality healthcare. In addition, many individuals do not have access to quality healthcare. Health care could be a costly expense for those individuals that do not have insurance or have access to the health care at the start. Nevada Health Centers bridges that gap and volunteers can help bridge that gap. By volunteering for Nevada Health Centers, volunteers have the opportunity to get to know the community they live in while providing information about the health care options that very same community through outreach. In addition, volunteers have the opportunity to be exposed to health care professionals and have a change to network with some of these individuals. In the near future, the volunteers may have the option to volunteer within one of NVHC’s health centers as administrative volunteers.

What project or event are you really looking forward to this year and why? The project I am most looking forward to is the partnership with Clark County School District’s Title I Parent Centers. With this partnership, I am working to create presentation about different health topics that with the help of volunteers, we will present to parents at various Title I Parent Centers. These presentations will provide information to the parents and give them pointers to live a healthy lifestyle. These presentations act as preventative health tips that parents may follow to keep them from going to the emergency room or the urgent care more. If this is occurring, parents and their children will be at work and school more. I feel that this will be a great partnership and give the volunteers an opportunity to be well versed with different health topics.

What is something that you’ve learned about the Las Vegas community since starting your VISTA term? As I grew up in the Las Vegas Valley, I’ve learned so much since starting my VISTA term. There are so many organizations that can provide assistance and resources to those in need. I did not realize the amount of people that did not have health care. I took for granted having insurance as my mother worked in health care; it was never a problem. Many people have multiple part-time jobs, which most of the time barely support their families. With part-time jobs, insurance and benefits are not included. Individuals may be working the same amount of hours of their full-time counterparts; however, they do not get the “perks of the job”. There are so many individuals in the Las Vegas Valley that are in that situation. I’ve seen a larger span of this valley through the different outreach efforts. It was great to get out of my “home bubble”.

What is something you want people who don’t live in Las Vegas to know about this community (cause-related or otherwise)? There is more to Las Vegas than The Strip that many flock to this city for. There is a lot of culture and history with the museums and the revitalization of Downtown Las Vegas. Visit the Neon Museum or the Atomic Testing Museum. Hit up one of the local casinos to get away from all the other tourists. If you’re here around the winter, Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory as a beautifully decorated cactus garden for all to enjoy. For the outdoorsy people, there are many amazing hikes at Red Rock, Lake Mead, or up at Mt. Charleston. There is so much to do for those not into the typical Vegas scene.

What do you wish other people knew about the nonprofit or its cause? Nevada Health Centers does not only cater to the Las Vegas Valley. It actually started in rural Nevada towns then expanded to Carson City and Las Vegas. Firstly, we catered to the geographically isolated then expanded to focus on the underserved, uninsured populations in the urban sites. We want EVERYONE to have quality healthcare. I think this is wonderful! Everyone deserves to have a chance to live life with the best health. NVHC provides that opportunity. In addition, there are actually two administrative offices that work together run the entire organization. Although I am a VISTA in Las Vegas, some of my projects involve all 15 health centers throughout the state! It is amazing how much NVHC covers this state with its amazing programs.

This is the ninth in a series profiling the 15 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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View from VISTA: Erica at Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

November 28, 2012

Name: Erica Harmon

Hometown: North Branch, Michigan

Host Site: Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

What is your favorite aspect of your AmeriCorps VISTA position? I absolutely love working for an organization that has such a strong focus on youth, and tailors all of its programming to the youth it serves. All of the staff, not only the case managers, but also the Executive Director and office support, is extremely passionate about helping every person who walks through the door, regardless if they qualify for services at our facility or not. It’s awesome to be part of a team that takes such a creative approach to solving the problem of youth homelessness.

What’s one reason you think people should volunteer with the organization where you’re serving? NPHY has a very awesome direct service opportunity that recurs every Friday, called Feel Good Friday. It’s an opportunity to actually go out into the community and pass out needs items to homeless and at-risk youth. It’s a great way to actually volunteer and come face-to-face with the people that are benefitting from your service. If direct service isn’t your thing, we also have PB&J Thursdays every week, where volunteers put together sack lunches that we then distribute at Feel Good Friday.

Tell us about what has influenced your decision to work with the nonprofit and/or become a VISTA? After I received my Bachelor’s Degree in spring 2009, I decided to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in School Psychology. In my second semester of graduate school, I had an internship at a Head Start pre-school. While I was only required to attend 5 hours per week, I found that I would spend, on average, between 10-15 hours working with the teachers and kids. Needless to say, after that first year, I decided that my decision to attend graduate school probably wasn’t the best fit for my interests, and thus I began researching national service programs. It was a great decision! This year is my second as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and as a result, I have gained so much insight into how my passion to serve youth can translate into an enjoyable, fulfilling career.

If you’re new to Las Vegas, what are your first impressions of the community?  Are there any surprises? Having only been in Las Vegas since the end of August, I’m still figuring out the local scene. One thing that surprised me is how awesome the food trucks are! There are also a great many of wonderful restaurants off-Strip that are worth a visit. I try to eat at a new place every week, and stay away from the Strip as much as possible.

What is something you want people who don’t live in Las Vegas to know about this community?  There is an awesome flat-track roller derby team in Las Vegas, known as the Fabulous Sin City Roller Girls, which I joined upon moving to town. Check them out the next time you come to Las Vegas—they are a very unique and community-minded group of women!

Check out all the great things Erica and the entire NPHY team is doing by liking them on Facebook!

This is the seventh in a series profiling the 15 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.