Wednesday, April 17, 2013

VISTAs report project successes in the new year

NC Campus Compact VISTAs recently submitted their Interim Reports detailing activities and outcomes from January 1 - March 31. They have done so much good work that we can't share it all here, but we will share some highlights!

VISTA Sara Brown (kneeling in jeans) with Kotlowitz and students.

Sara Brown, UNC-Asheville's VISTA, had an op-ed published in a local Asheville newspaper, The Urban News. In her piece, "An Unheard Voice - Cost Over Kids," Sara urges school district decision-makers to clarify plans for students and staff of the William Randolph School, an alternative school serving middle and high school students who are at-risk of not graduating. Sara has worked since August to strengthen a partnership between UNCA and Randolph, engaging college student volunteers as tutors and mentors and organizing enrichment opportunities for Randolph students on UNCA's campus, like a February 21 visit with Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here.

Sally Parlier, Durham Technical Community College VISTA, was responsible for opening the Durham Tech Campus Harvest (DTCH) Food Pantry. Since opening on January 22 the Food Pantry has had over 750 visits and served more than 150 individuals. They've also collected approximately 2,400 lbs of food and raised $1,761 in cash donations. Sally has also developed a new partnership with Jordan High School. Her work has received attention from local media, as in this February report on WTVD:

Before finishing her term of service in February and starting a VISTA Leader position in Tennessee, UNCG VISTA Anya Piotrowski shared her magnum opus: the IRC - Tranisition Greensboro Community Garden Manual. The manual is an incredible accumulation of organic and permaculture garden techniques, planting schedules, garden design documents, and volunteer orientation materials that will enable future garden coordinators to manage the site (and local volunteers) year-round. If you are interested in a copy, contact Anya.

At Warren Wilson College, VISTA Jacqui Trillo reports exciting news: her partner organization Homeward Bound has hired a part-time Volunteer and Donations Coordinator who is taking on some of the duties Jacqui managed during the fall. Jacqui has helped the new staff member transition into the position by training her on volunteer and donation management materials, systems, and tools that Jacqui developed in the fall. Jacqui writes, "I know that my work last semester was constructive because some of the ideas she first suggested were ones I had already either implemented successfully or had tried and found to be unsuitable for the needs of HB." Capacity-building!

Elizabeth Corney at ECU reports that she has worked with the university's Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations to secure a $2,000 donation that will support the Campus Kitchen project next year. To help win the gift, Elizabeth compiled service numbers, photos, and a letter. In this final year of VISTA support for the CK project at ECU, Elizabeth has made sustainability a priority, creating a work study and a graduate assistant position to support the project and preparing a Campus Kitchen manual which will guide future coordinators.

Check the blog later this week for more project highlights!