|VISTA Tiara Pugh and her supervisor work on MLK Day.|
Lenoir-Rhyne University VISTA Ariel Mitchell reports exciting new programs with her community partner, Centro Latino of Hickory, including a kids tutoring program that began in January and a new elder care program called "Adopto Un Abuelito," which will pair Centro Latino volunteers with elderly residents in the community to provide food assistance and companionship. Partners on the project include Meals on Wheels, the Backpack Project, and a local church. Having convened partners and given input on program design, Ariel will focus now on organizing food-donation drives to support the project.
At Virginia Tech, VISTA Alejandra O'Connor has implemented several improvements to ESL and citizenship programs offered by the Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA) and the Coalition for Refugee Resettlement (CRR), a Virginia Tech student organization. Alejandra worked with the RRHA to develop a statement of program goals, and she created a basic reading comprehension and citizenship knowledge assessment to be used in ESL classes. Happily, two of the students Alejandra supports passed their exam and became citizens this period.
Saarah Abdul-Rauf, UNC Chapel-Hill VISTA, established community mentors at Volunteers for Youth (VFY) in Chapel Hill. Saarah worked with the SMART mentoring program, a group at UNC previous providing mentor support for VFY, to transition to a community-based mentoring program.
During the past three months, some VISTAs also supported innovative local and regional alternative breaks. More on those in a future post!