Friday, November 7, 2014

VISTA site visits: an engaging fall tour

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity for North Carolina Campus Compact's VISTA Program!

Not only did October's end represent the 3-month mark for our 14-15 VISTA members, but we also visited SEVEN of our VISTA sites and were visited by our CNCS Program Officer Alexandria Cooley.

With all of these exciting happenings, we wanted to pause and share them with you!

On Tuesday, October 7th, we made the long drive to Cullowhee to visit second-year VISTA member Willie Jones. On Monday, October 20th, we met with NC State University and Meredith College. On Tuesday, October 28th, we met with Alexandria here at Elon, then visited our Elon-based VISTAs, as well as Elizabeth McIntosh at PAGE, Jessica Cagle at Student U, and Catherine Okafor at Duke!

VISTA Willie Jones works to fight
hunger in western NC.
At Western Carolina, VISTA Willie Jones explained the work he has been doing for the past 14 months to develop programs that address hunger. During the trip, we visited three local sites: the Cullowhee Community Garden, a frequent source of surplus food for the gleaning program Willie coordinates; a new local discount food market where gleaned produce is distributed; and the Sylva Community Table, a key partner fighting hunger in the region.

VISTA Meghan Engstran
at Kentwood
At Meredith College, VISTA Meghan Engstran has recruited 58 student volunteers to support programs of the Children’s Collaborative in the Kentwood neighborhood, including the school’s Campus Kitchen project, a Communities in Schools afterschool site, and a project that pairs Social Work students with Telemon Headstart professionals conducting pre-K home visits.

VISTA Christian Gray has partnered with NC State's TRiO Program through the Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative to prepare low-income and first-generation students and their parents for post-secondary education. He creates and facilitates programs like free SAT prep sessions and FAFSA FAQs in community centers throughout Southeast Raleigh, including the Chavis Heights Community Center. Read about our last VISTA in this role and her reflection on her time in Southeast Raleigh.

VISTAs Immanuel Bryant and
Jessica Eller layout their early
childhood education research.
At Elon’s Center for Access and Success, VISTA members Jessica Eller and Immanuel Bryant are gathering data and program models to lay groundwork for a university-supported early childhood success initiative in Alamance County. This early-childhood initiative would be one step closer to completing a cradle-to-college pipeline in Alamance county, supported by Elon's new Center for Access and Success.

VISTA Jessica Cagle has Student U's
programs all mapped out.

VISTA Jessica Cagle has been recruiting tutors to expand services at Student U in Durham, and is already gearing up for summer to recruit tutor interns!
PAGE's Elizabeth McIntosh and Dr. Deborah Hicks-Rogoff
represent the VISTA V with Program Officer Alexandria
Cooley and coordinator Chad Fogleman.

Second-year VISTA Elizabeth McIntosh showed us two videos made by Madison County teens for PAGE's digital literacy project. Liz also secured a $5000 donation from a private family foundation to support the PAGE project. Read more about Liz and her project in this profile.

Duke Community Service Center VISTA member Catherine Okafor will pilot a parental engagement and literacy support program at two elementary schools within the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership group.

VISTA Catherine Okafor, VISTA Leader Carla Davis, and
State Program Officer Alexandria Cooley are
"Getting Things Done for America!"
We haven't visited everyone yet, but each VISTA has been sharing their monthly progress with us via their monthly reports. Stay tuned for a full progress update!