VISTA Spotlight: Sow, Seeds, Serve: Volunteer Program Revitalization

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From left to right: Lydia Grossman, Alyssa Gilbert (Lauren GottWorth not pictured)
VISTAs at the Americana Community Center

This month’s project spotlight falls on the collaborative effort of the VISTAs serving at the Americana World Community Center. Together, Lydia, Alyssa, and Lauren have been working to streamline the volunteer intake process at Americana. According to Lydia, “We (Americana) are trying to increase contact with volunteers by getting all the staff engaged in the process.” Alyssa added that “This is a more holistic approach, and aligns with the mission and values of Americana.”

This process had not come without its challenges. Alyssa, the Community Liaison VISTA has been working on this project since February, but she was having trouble getting traction. Lydia commented that “Trying to revamp the system without really knowing what was there before has been difficult. There was a lack of data.”

The team is now looking to implement the new system in a soft rollout. Some new processes are already in place, but they expect to completely switch to their new system in August. While talking about challenges Alyssa stated that “An obstacle will be the application of the new system because it is different. People still have a lot of questions about the changes.”

Despite the challenges they have faced, and the difficulties they expect to come, Alyssa and Lydia seem very optimistic about the positive and lasting effects their new system will have on Americana. Lydia said, “This new system should make volunteers more engaged and wanting to come back to Americana, while spreading the word that Americana is here.” Alyssa commented that “This has been a really good experience and will make things much easier for everyone.” She also noted that she is happy to be leaving a lasting and positive impact on Americana during her service.

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