AmeriCorps VISTA member, Briana Rutledge, serving with Southwest Conservation Corps in Tucson, worked with the recruitment and supportive services department to recruit and develop materials for the benefit of disadvantaged youth who lack access to job skills or educational opportunities. Briana has found it a privilege to provide the resources for 21 youth who, though bright and full of knowledge and compassion, lack access or experience to means which others take for granted. She expresses that seeing young people who have struggled with homelessness, harassment and discrimination, being a single parent, or struggling with addictions, have an honest and appreciative willingness to take charge of their own lives as heartwarming and often emotionally overwhelming.
Originally posted on A Lifetime Of Service:
Heller views AmeriCorps experience as a reliable indicator of high performance, commitment to social justice, leadership and teamwork. These are not just the attributes of successful graduate students, they are attributes of successful leaders. We are proud to partner with AmeriCorps Alums and further our joint commitment to advancing social justice in communities here and around the world.~ Elizabeth Cole, Assistant Director Admissions
To recognize this, the Heller School recently announced a guaranteed minimum 50% tuition scholarship for all AmeriCorps Alums enrolled in either the MPP or MBA in Nonprofit Management programs, a scholarship worth over $21,000 based on 2013 tuition rates.
Ranked in the top ten schools of social policy by US News & World Report, Heller School for Social Policy and Management is a leader in providing financial assistance awarded to AmeriCorps alumni. Whatever cause you are committed to – ending poverty, improving health policy, protecting the environment, spurring community development, resolving conflict or protecting the rights of women, children and minorities — Heller’s unique interdisciplinary approach will prepare you for a fulfilling career finding solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.
Arizona Gives Day is a statewide, 24 hour, online giving campaign. Arizona Gives Day is a way for people to find, learn about, and contribute to causes they believe in. Arizona Gives Day provides nonprofits with a way to share their story and engage the community through a unique online giving platform. For more information, please visit Arizona Gives Day 2014
On Saturday, February 1st, over 300 people attended the YWCA’s Tribute to Leadership. This event is a special evening set aside to recognize outstanding individuals in the community who embody the YW’s mission: to eliminate discrimination and empower women. Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA Matt Ronquillo assisted the YW with event planning, promotion and preparation. During the event Matt coordinated a team of 6 volunteers to assist with logistics and selling raffle tickets. Exact number of dollars raised have not yet been released. Dollars raised will go directly to the YW’s programs, including their Own It Financial Education program, awareness programs and essential services for seniors.
Based in Window Rock, Arizona is Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits VISTA Linda Banks; serving with DNA Legal Services’ sponsored VITA program. While based in Window Rock, Linda coordinates this valuable tax assistance program for low income residents all over the Navajo Nation, reaching remote towns and areas every week. We are proud to share Linda’s “above and beyond” service in honor of upcoming Cesar Chavez Day of Service on April 1st. Linda has started and is nurturing 30 tomato plants to be donated to the community garden in Window Rock! Linda Banks is making a difference in Window Rock!
On March 11, 2013 Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits AmeriCorps VISTA’s from Window Rock; Flagstaff; Cottonwood; Phoenix and the Tucson; along with a VISTA Leader and a VISTA Program Coordinator came together at Washington Manor in Phoenix. They broke ground, moved dirt, built several garden boxes and set irrigation trenches for the “Let’s Grow” Garden Project of the City of Phoenix as a service project during AmeriCorps Week 2013!
Congratulations to 4 of our current VISTA members – you’ve made it through 6 months of service! The Alliance so proud to have each and every one of you serving in our program. You’ve made a difference at your organizations and in the communities you serve!
Take some time to reflect on your term of service so far. Think about everything you’ve learned, the people you’ve met, and everything you’ve accomplished in a short time. Also take this time to recommit yourself to the next 6 months. The end of your term will be here before you know it!
VISTA Member Updates
Seven VISTA members passed their 6 month mark with our program in May. Before we know it they will be at the end of their year of service!
VISTA Members Rema, Brian, and Nate recently completed a tax season building capacity of local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs. In total, our VISTA members helped recruit 130 volunteers for VITA. These volunteers refunded $10.4 million to people in rural communities throughout Arizona, including Coconino, Navajo, Apache, Pima, Cochise, Graham, and Yuma counties. On average 19% of people in these counties are living in poverty, so maximizing refunds is vital service provided by our projects and VISTA members. Thank you Brian, Nate, and Rema for your hard work and dedication to VITA and VISTA!
More money came into the food bank in May due to Colleen’s efforts. The Community Food Bank received $5,000 from the Darden Foundation for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Colleen assisted on writing the grant for these funds. $1,000 was received from five local Darden restaurants (Red Lobster and Olive Garden). The TEFAP program is the food bank’s largest program. Residents of Pima, Cochise, Greenlee, Graham, and Santa Cruz counties who declare themselves in a food crisis can receive a TEFAP food box once a month filled with two to three days worth of nutritious food. The food bank distributes TEFAP boxes at over 60 locations.
Our marketing and communications VISTA members, Emma and Susan, continue to build awareness of their respective organizations, Arizona Grantmaker’s Forum and Old Pueblo Community Services. Emma writes e-newsletters and maintains the social media profiles of her organization. Through these mediums, she educates the community on the work AGF does and their importance in the nonprofit world. Susan has built an entire marketing and communications plan from scratch for Old Pueblo Community Services, which includes maintenance of Facebook and Twitter profiles. Emma and Susan’s projects really build awareness of their organizations and educate the public on the nonprofit sector, which are important milestones in our VISTA program.
In May, Julie strengthened the partnership between PASSAGE and the United Way. This partnership planned and executed the Foster Youth Transition Forum, which was a huge success. It was standing room only with 65 community leaders and youth in attendance. Creating space for conversations about foster youth and their transition out of foster care is central to PASSAGE’s mission, and Julie’s efforts to strengthen community partnerships will help these conversations continue.
Lydia has also been building new partnerships and community awareness for Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona. The Job Connection in Fort Mohave relies on referrals and strong partnerships with businesses in the community. Dollar General is the newest business to help advertise and distribute information about the Job Connection’s services. I can’t wait to see who else will partner with Job Connection!
Marissa had the opportunity to participate in Emerge!’s Mother’s Day Luncheon in May. Marissa attended many of the planning meetings for this event, and she was excited to see the results of their efforts. The event is a fundraiser for Emerge! and they doubled their profits this year. For Marissa, May was also filled with in-kind donations. She sorted and valued over $4000 worth of merchandise for Emerge!
Alliance Program Updates
Recruitment of new VISTA members starting in August was in full force at the Alliance during the month of May.
We’ve also begun the selection process for our new November sites, and VISTA member recruiting will start all over again soon!
July 12: Designing Fundable Programs (Phoenix)
July 17: Designing Fundable Programs (Sedona)
July 18: Logic Models and Budgets (Sedona)
July 3: Volunteer Management with Rema, 11 AM
July 11: Making a Compelling Case with Sally, 11 AM
July 25: Logic Model with Sally, 11 AM