Posts Tagged ‘Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth’

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Kids Serving Kids

April 26, 2013

WWYBT Affiliate Logo NVOn Wednesday, April 25th, the Symbolic Youth Networking Council (SYNC) of the Symbolic Art Center program at Becker Middle School completed a month long campaign focused on child hunger in Southern Nevada.  With their SYNC the Ship of Child Hunger project, SYNC collected 398 pounds of food that was donated to Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth.  NPHY serves thousands of local youth annually who suffer from food and shelter insecurity.

Gina, a staff member at NPHY, had great things to say about SYNC’s efforts.  “The kids did a great job. It was the perfect amount of food to completely restock our food pantry. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as spring is when we start to go through a lot more food and get a lot less donated.”

SYNC students had the support of staff at Symbolic Art Center and United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center, but they are the true stars of the project.  We love seeing kids serving kids in our community!

This project was made possible by a GenerationOn mini-grant as part of their national “What Will You Bring to the Table?” initiative.  Thank you for helping us make an impact in our community, GenerationOn!

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What Will You Bring to the Table?

April 10, 2013

HandsOn Connect Web Banner

 

Did you know that 1 in 5 kids in the U.S. struggles with hunger?  Nevada is no exception.  In fact, over 100,000 students in Clark County School District suffer from food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

As part of GenerationOn’s national initiative to raise 1 million meals for kids, United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center and Las Vegas nonprofit, Symbolic Art, have teamed up for an awareness campaign and food drive to benefit Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY). The Symbolic Art Youth Networking Council (S.Y.N.C.) has designed, marketed, and coordinated a donation drive that is running for three weeks in April at their host school site, Becker Middle School.

The campaign started with a kick-off event during the students’ Spring Break Camp.  A representative from NPHY shared with the camp group about what child hunger looks like specifically in Southern Nevada.  After learning more about the problem in our community, students worked on a picnic table that will serve as a place to collect donations during their food drive and be given to the NPHY drop-in center, where it will continue to serve Las Vegas youth long after the donation drive is over.

Want to join the fight to end child hunger in Southern Nevada?  Email volunteer@uwsn.org for more information about how you can help out in our community!

 

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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.

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United Way of Southern Nevada’s BE THE CHANGE Opportunity of the Week!

November 21, 2012

Peanut Butter & Jelly Time (Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth)

NPHY’s PB&J Thursday is a simple project that prepares sack lunches for our Outreach Team to distribute to homeless youth during our weekly Feel Good Friday event. Volunteers will make the sandwiches, then pack them with snacks into the sack lunches.

Caring Collectors (Salvation Army) (Weekends through the holidays)

This interactive outreach opportunity will help the Salvation Army collect food goods at Albertson’s on Flamingo and Hualapai! Donations will be assembled into Christmas baskets that will be distributed to needy families around Clark County.

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Now Recruiting for AmeriCorps VISTA Positions in southern Nevada

June 11, 2012

Always wonder what it might be like to live in Las Vegas, Nevada?  Known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for entertainment, shopping and fine dining.  A growing retirement and family city, Las Vegas is the 28th most populous city in the United States.

Las Vegas is also home to a large nonprofit sector working diligently to improve high school graduation rates, end childhood hunger, save the environment and eradicate poverty. United Way of Southern Nevada is currently recruiting for 14 VISTAs and one VISTA Team Leader to serve 8/6/2012 – 8/9/2013 in the Las Vegas area.

The positions include:

United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center, VISTA Leader

By increasing the capacity of nonprofit organizations, we ensure that these key organizations are able to survive the economic downturn & continue to provide for the clients which rely upon them. AmeriCorps VISTA members will serve in capacity building assignments: building and strengthening the overall capacity of local nonprofit organizations, i.e., resource development capacity & volunteer management capacity. The VISTA Team Leader will support these efforts by providing one-on-one support to VISTA members. This support will be provided via regular site visits, team meetings, trainings and service projects for members. To be eligible to serve the VISTA Team Leader, applicant must have successfully completed at least 1 term of VISTA service.

Arthritis Foundation

The VISTA member will partner with Arthritis Foundation staff to develop Life Improvement exercise classes for low income individuals living in southern Nevada. The member will also research & develop grants to sustain & grow existing programs designed to decrease on the job injury. These programs for employees not only reduce on the job injuries, but keep employees at work & able to perform their job duties. Targeted employees are generally low income, 78% of which are Hispanic, earning $8-$12 an hour. The VISTA member will explore avenues to increase funding for needy families affected by Juvenile Arthritis to enable them to attend educational conferences as well as enable children affected by JA to attend medically supervised summer camps. The VISTA member will cultivate community partner relationships to increase in-kind and monetary support for programs to benefit low income populations in southern Nevada. The VISTA member will additionally develop relationships with system partners who currently offer Arthritis Foundation Life Improvement classes to the public at low- or no-cost. The VISTA member will implement these strategies which will increase the organizational capacity of the Foundation.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas (BGCLV) serves an average of 1,000 kids per day, ages 5-18, and has a special focus on children and teens from challenging or disadvantaged circumstances. Members often come from low income/single parent households and face challenging obstacles to succeed. The BGCLV strives to provide positive roles models that can have a meaningful impact on these lives. Volunteers are essential to the organization, in not only becoming role models for members, but also bringing new skills & services that allow them to provide quality programs for the kids benefit and enjoyment. Volunteer involvement, whether individual or corporate, also creates strong relationships with the community that seeks to invest in the future of youth. The VISTA member will be responsible for continuing to develop the capacity of the BGCLV newly established Volunteer Management Program. Duties will include building on the existing program & evaluating the effectiveness/success of its current components. In addition, the VSITA member will work with all agency volunteers to provide ongoing opportunities to serve Club members and the organization. The VISTA member will work closely with BGCLV staff to identify volunteer needs and professional development training for staff on best practices when working with volunteers.

Child Focus @ St. Jude’s Ranch for Children

Within the foster care community there exists the primary need to strengthen families. The Child Focus program connects separated siblings in foster care, providing opportunities for them to heal, grown and maintain their sibling bond during a very difficult chapter in their life. The experience of the individual placed at the Child Focus office would include helping families (primarily children & youth in foster care) strengthen their family bonds. Strengthening families is a key tenant in helping families to break the cycle of abuse & neglect. The VISTA member would work with staff from St. Jude’s Ranch for Children’s Child Focus program to balance capacity building projects in three program areas: Cyber Siblings, Mentoring and Academic Success. The VISTA member would help siblings communicate with one another without direct contact via cell phones and computers as part of the Cyber Sibling Program. In the event a brother or sister moves from their current foster home, they would be able to continue communicating via technology at their new placement. The VISTA member would recruit potential volunteer cyber mentors to support the Cyber Sibling program. Additionally, the VISTA would recruit volunteer academic mentors to help youth involved in the program graduate high school. The VISTA member would help St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, Child Focus, work towards the goal of breaking the cycle of abuse and create healthy, independent & family oriented individuals as they leave the foster care system. The capacity building that the VISTA member will provide will help meet this need in southern Nevada.

Clark County School District

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.

Goodwill of Southern Nevada

The VISTA opportunity at Goodwill of Southern Nevada has two primary strategic objectives. First, the VISTA member will help Goodwill develop sustainable programs for financial stability (VITA/EITC, Financial Education & Asset Development) to be integrated long-term into the organization’s workforce development mission. Secondly, the VISTA member will help Goodwill secure grants to support these financial stability programs, Goodwill’s VISTA member will support volunteer outreach, recruitment, training & certification as well as provide necessary oversight to ensure volunteer retention. They will also develop & implement volunteer recognition activities. The VISTA member will conduct asset development outreach, identify asset development tools to be utilized by Goodwill’s clients and act as a liaison with United Way of Southern Nevada & the Internal Revenue Service. The member will also provide feedback & evaluate financial stability programs, coordinate VITA & Asset Development site(s). The VISTA will research asset-building services and research & evaluate funding leads, assist in grant-writing and help cultivate relationships with prospective funding sources to diversify funding streams for Goodwill’s financial stability programs. The ideal candidate will be creative, self-starting, highly organized, professional, personable, patient & flexible. Bilingual candidates with prior volunteer experience are desirable. Successful candidates will be able to interact & work with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Nevada Health Centers

NVHC currently has a small but effective volunteer program and are in need of a VISTA member to devote time and energy into making the program robust and sustainable. The VISTA member will be responsible for enhancing training materials, recruiting volunteers and keeping them engaged. The VISTA member will be charged with growing the volunteer program through strategic recruitment, volunteer orientation and monthly volunteer training. The VISTA member will create a team of volunteers who will reach the underserved & poverty-stricken residents of the Las Vegas community to help eliminate health disparities and poverty by referring them to affordable health services. The VISTA member & core volunteers will attend community events included but not limited to health fairs, nonprofit events & various meetings in order to reach people living in poverty who need access to affordable health care services. The VISTA member will work toward the NVHC mission by deepening their impact within the underserved community through health education, health advocacy & referral to health services. The VISTA member will play a vital role in identifying opportunities & partnerships to best educate NVHC target populations, such as those living in poverty, regarding access to affordable health care.

Nevada Partners

The VISTA member will address the need for greater financial stability in Nevada. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, 45% of Nevada households are asset poor, or lack the ability to live at poverty level for three months in the absence of income. This presents a significant challenge for the stability of Nevada families, communities and schools. By supporting the establishment of a year round asset development center, the VISTA member will decrease poverty in Nevada by mitigating asset poverty. The VISTA member in partnership with Nevada Partners staff will build organizational capacity and support many aspects of their poverty mitigating programs. In particular, the VISTA member will play a central role in establishing long term sustainable financial stability programs & services. The member will recruit, retain & recognize volunteers for the VITA/EITC (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance/Earned Income Tax Credit) program as well as ensure they receive the training and certification necessary to volunteer with the program. Through the member’s efforts, Nevada Partners anticipates a reduction in financial instability & an increase in its financial stability service array. Currently, Nevada Partners operates a VITA site during tax season. With support from a VISTA member, they would establish a year round asset development center proving free tax services; year round financial literacy education & asset develop programming.

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

The AmeriCorps VISTA member will work in partnership with NPHY staff to extend, expand and enhance current multi-pronged outreach & volunteer programs to ensure homeless youth get off the streets. NPHY’s outreach program includes preventative outreach to youth in schools, intervention outreach to youth living on the streets, and training & outreach to community stakeholders. The VISTA will focus on further developing youth-centered outreach program thereby enabling NPHY staff & volunteers to make a real difference in the lives of more homeless youth. The VISTA will coordinate & expand the current in-school preventative & educational outreach program where NPHY volunteers staff information tables at southern Nevada high schools and provide information on Safe Place (a 24/7/365 mobile crisis intervention service assessable to any youth in crisis) and other NPHY services. The VISTA will be responsible for working with school administrators to schedule these events as well as to recruit and coordinate volunteers to staff the tables. The VISTA will also take the lead on a new outreach program with Village of Hope and Whitney Elementary School to establish a “remote outreach center” at Village of Hope, an intensely at-risk, low-income neighborhood with a large population of homeless youth. The VISTA will be responsible for collaborating with Village of Hope & Whitney elementary to develop & execute the project. Once implemented, the VISTA will recruit & coordinate volunteers to staff the outreach center and to canvass the neighborhood to advise residents of NPHY services. The VISTA will also coordinate a lecture program that teaches youth in youth groups, school clubs, recreation centers and more about youth homelessness and challenges young people to volunteer & become an active part of the solution.

Outside Las Vegas Foundation

For many years, Outside Las Vegas Foundation (OLVF) facilitated the development of open space & trails resources. OLVF is now focusing on connecting the community, with an emphasis on children & families in less advantaged communities, to these resources. As a result, OLVF is expanding into several program areas that will need a variety of capacity building & organizational assistance. The OLVF believes that building connections to southern Nevada’s outdoor places contributes to strong community ties, better familial bonds, & increased economic vitality. OLVF provides new opportunities, inspirations & goals for children & families through outdoor experiences either by educational experiences including supplementing curriculum, stewardship & civic engagement events, or by focusing on health & fitness improvement. These experiences directly benefit young people by improving physical & mental health and have been shown to improve scholastic achievements. The cycle of poverty is complex & the OLVF approaches the solution through innovative community & family investment. Their programs compliment others that address housing, food, & basic needs by providing mental & emotional nurturing. The VISTA will coordinate field-trips & other programs are throughout the year, assist with grant writing to secure funds for transportation for future outings for children & families, & provide volunteer event coordination for the programs with the City of Las Vegas. A formal partnership agreement with the National Park Service will assist the OLVF in their efforts to connect more urban community members to public lands through education & environmental outreach. The VISTA will play in important role as outreach strategies are built. The OLVF is working with funding partners to develop capacity to effectively expand communications & outreach efforts. The VISTA will implement the recommended strategies & provide vital investment in building organizational capacity.

Salvation Army

The VISTA member will coordinate all volunteer aspects of The Salvation Army programs & services that assist low-income & homeless people in order to alleviate poverty, obtain or increase income and achieve or retain permanent housing to lead them to lives of self-sufficiency and independence. The VISTA will revise and update current volunteer policies & procedures, serve as a liaison with departments and survey staff to assess their volunteer needs. Additionally, the member will generate appropriate volunteer projects and descriptions, provide appropriate support & training for volunteers, recruit, assign & schedule volunteers to appropriate tasks as well as monitor, support, motivate & recognize their efforts. The VISTA will make presentations to colleges, businesses, and community organizations regarding the volunteer needs and keep up to date on legislation & policy regarding volunteerism. The VISTA will monitor & track volunteer activities and design & implement appropriate systems of recognition. The VISTA will work with staff & volunteers to support the Women’s Auxiliary events, support the Angel Tree toy distribution program and manage all aspects of the Community Garden including ordering supplies, developing grants and recruiting and supervising garden volunteers.

United Way of Southern Nevada’s Volunteer Center

As part of United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) national service program, the VISTA member assigned to UWSN’s Volunteer Center will design & implement multi-tiered programs to engage individuals in education-themed volunteer opportunities. The VISTA member will interact with schools, businesses, & nonprofits in the development of these projects. Additionally, the VISTA member will coordinate a high-school volunteer & recognition program in partnership with Clark County School District and area high schools. VISTA member will also assist in building the capacity of UWSN’s Volunteer Center in a variety of ways including nonprofit partner recruitment, volunteer opportunity development, recruitment & recognition of individual, family, group & corporate volunteers. VISTA member will participate in the development, implementation & evaluation of multiple large events including but not limited to Project Homeless Connect, the NALC Food Drive, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, Make A Difference Day, MLK Day of Service, etc. Successful candidates will have volunteer recruitment experience, strong computer & writing skills, the ability to multi-task and work as part of a team. Organizational, leadership & time management skills are a must.

United Way of Southern Nevada, Immediate Needs

The VISTA member would serve in the United Way of Southern Nevada’s (UWSN) Community Development Dept. providing program management for projects classified as Immediate Needs provision. Among the projects included are Project REACH, a utility assistance program; the Emergency Food & Shelter Program (federal grant fiscally managed by UWSN) and the Immediate Needs grant program. All three of the programs are specifically aimed at assisting homeless, low and moderate income members of the community with the basic needs of food, shelter, rent & utilities through funding of partner organizations in Clark County, NV. The work of the VISTA member would directly impact the lives of southern Nevadans living at or below poverty level, as those who seek assistance with basic needs are those most affected by financial instability, including poverty. Specifically, the VISTA will develop a more effective system of reporting & monitoring grants and communicating this system to partner agencies, including providing technical assistance to Local Recipient Organizations and grantee agencies to ensure effective use of grant awards. The VISTA will implement the new system, which will lead to development of effective reporting results for the benefit of agency marketing and communications. Also, the VISTA will be involved with the UWSN Accreditation process which measures local agencies ability to meet standards of excellence in governance, financial accountability and program delivery which is required of agencies prior to applying for financial assistance through UWSN. By working in partnership with a volunteer committee, the VISTA will consult with applicant agencies, conduct site visits and grant awards of accreditation to successful agencies.

United Way of Southern Nevada, Earn It Keep It Save It

The VISTA member will provide support for volunteer recruitment, training, certification, retention & recognition as well as implement an outreach plan for the Earn It Keep It Save It (EKS), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) programs in the Las Vegas Valley. The VISTA member will develop additional asset development tools that the VITA site clients can utilize as well as provide in-kind support of marketing materials, office supplies & equipment for VITA and asset development coordination. Additionally, the VISTA member will maintain relationships with VITA sites and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

WestCare Nevada

The VISTA member will identify resources and links for veterans and their families, including but not limited to behavioral health, housing, employment, transportation, and medical services. The member will work in partnership with staff to develop new initiatives for veterans & military families, identify and build new partnerships, as well as research and develop resources, write grants, etc. The VISTA will provide support to programs that educate the community on specific populations, i.e., veterans, military families, re-entry, and homeless families. The VISTA will represent WestCare at health fairs, Vet fairs and provide community presentations marketing the scope of services provided by WestCare. The VISTA will create training for new staff & volunteers working with special populations.

Living Allowance & Educational Award

AmeriCorps VISTAs in Southern Nevada  will receive a modest living allowance of $1016 each month (before taxes). The Team Leader will receive a living allowance of $1216 each month (before taxes). After the successful completion of a term, VISTAs may be eligible to receive a $5,550 education award.

Questions?

Contact Robin or Jacob at (702) 892-2300.

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Lessons on Giving

December 6, 2011

The holiday season is such a busy time for all.  Once the shopping has been done, the gifts are wrapped, and the cards have been mailed, take a moment and spend some quality time with your family by making the holiday season a little brighter for others.  Try some of these ideas and instill a lifetime love of service in your children:

  • Host a volunteering play-date over winter break. Instead of an outing to a park, host a community-focused activity such as making cards to deliver to nursing homes or sending care packages to soldiers.
  • Deliver a meal to a family in need; Helping Hands of Vegas Valley needs drivers to distribute food to seniors.
  • Start your own food, clothing, or toy drive. Collect items from your friends, family, co-workers, church groups, etc. and distribute to a charitable organization.
  • Invite an elderly neighbor to join your holiday celebration, or offer to sit and chat with them a while.
  • Gather a group and sing holiday carols to shut-ins or in shelters.
  • Choose a family to sponsor from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program and bring the kids shopping to choose gifts for the family you will be helping. As you wrap the presents, talk about all the things your family is thankful for.
  • Purchase $5 or $10 gift cards from a grocery store or fast food restaurant and deliver them to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth’s plastic food drive.
  • Decorate three jars: one for saving, one for spending, and one for giving. Ask your children to deposit their spare change equally among the jars over the next year. Ask them to choose an organization to donate their giving jar to.
  • Visit a charity that you have supported so that your children see where the money goes. Take a tour and bring the whole family.
  • Show how your efforts are making a difference. Create a scrapbook of your family’s volunteer and philanthropic experiences.