Category: AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps Member of the Month July 2016

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Angela Mendoza is being honored as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for July 2016.

Currently, Angela is serving as the Elementary Program Specialist AmeriCorps member with the City of Davenport AmeriCorps Program with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley. BBBSMV facilitates meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers “Bigs” and children ages 6 through 18 “Littles” in order to positively impact the lives of young people with multiple risk factors in the Davenport area. The City of Davenport AmeriCorps program is a multi-level interdisciplinary program that focuses on improving the graduation rates in Davenport.

Angela has been an exemplary service member, going above and beyond to make sure the “Littles” in her caseload had winter items like coats and boots after she discovered some children had none. Additionally, she worked with one of her “Littles” to provide a care package for the child’s mentor who was undergoing cancer treatment. Angela has gone out of her way to meet the needs of the matches in her care and to show them that she truly cares about them.

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Angela has been able to accomplish during their year of service in the state. To recognize her service, Angela will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring her dedication and efforts towards bettering the lives of youth in the State of Iowa.

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Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

 

AmeriCorps Members of the Month 2016

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This month, Sallie Myers, Alli Zuel, and Katie Kestel are being honored as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps Members of the Month for June 2016.

Sallie, Alli, and Katie are AmeriCorps VISTA members serving in the Des Moines area with The Outreach Program as a part of the Outreach Hunger-Free Iowa Initiative (HFII). The Outreach Program is a Union, Iowa based nonprofit that organizes food packaging events to combat hunger around the world. They have packaged more than 360 million meals in order to support the mission of providing food, safe water, medical care, and education to those in need.

Together, Sallie, Alli, and Katie have worked on food insecurity issues throughout the state to eliminate hunger in all of Iowa’s 99 counties and improve the lives of Iowan’s effected by food insecurity. They planned and conducted Hunger Dialogues in targeted counties to discuss community needs and implement projects in areas that have high rates of food insecurity. Because of their work, HFII has developed relationships with key stakeholders in Dallas, Des Moines, Henry, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Clarke, Warren, Dubuque, Boone, Guthrie, Sac, and Buena Vista counties and packaged a total of 44,400 meals with the help of volunteers.

All three Outreach VISTA’s are sure to have bright futures in the public health and anti-hunger fields, and Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work they have been able to accomplish during their year of service in the state. To recognize their service, Sallie, Alli, and Katie will each receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring their dedication and efforts towards bettering the State of Iowa.

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Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

An AmeriCorps Member in Iowa

IMG_0026.JPGToday’s post is a guest post from Volunteer Iowa VISTA service member Rob O’Donnell, who is finishing up his service this week. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication Rob! 

“You’re leaving Boston? Where are you moving?”

“Des Moines, Iowa.”

 Pause. “Why?”

 “I joined AmeriCorps VISTA, so I’ll be working out there”

“Oh, I gotcha. You were assigned to Des Moines.”

“No, I chose it.”

Pause. “Why?”

I expected this reaction from East Coast people. What I did not anticipate were the Iowans who had the same response. Luckily, I discovered that I could chalk that up to the classic Midwest humility. In Des Moines, I found a city that was perfect for me – life as a VISTA in Iowa has treated me well, and I’ll be sad to see it go.

As a VISTA service member, I had agreed to volunteer my time for one year in exchange for a modest stipend at the poverty level in order to better understand the experiences of people in the community who I would be serving. I had chosen Des Moines solely based on Bill Bryson’s memoir of living here in the 1950’s, and I was hoping that this wouldn’t turn out to be cause to review my decision-making process.

While here, I made all of the necessary stops alone and with visiting family. Raygun became a necessary stop for visitors who had indeed believed that I had moved to Ohio, or at least the Potato State. I spent a day on a farm and got to live my life a quarter mile at a time on a tractor. My sisters and I had 12 different foods on a stick at the State Fair (not including the Pork Chop on a Stick, aka the greatest lie Iowa ever told). Caucusing sounded as fun to me as listening to strangers disagree for an extended period of time, but I still got to experience the chaos that Iowa becomes when candidates pretend not to notice that their Pork Chop on a Stick is actually just a pork chop wrapped in a napkin. I got to see a downtown festival almost every summer weekend as well as 80/35. I got to explain to every visitor that you can indeed see out from inside the Central Library and fail to explain why one side of the sculpture park is lighthearted and the other side is a nightmare-scape. And I got to do this while serving my new community as a VISTA.

During my service, I was able to help my organization build a new website, create a successful fundraiser, and build the capacity of my organization so that it will be able to help kids for years to come. Although, I’m moving on from Des Moines, I’m excited to have been able to experience it as a guest for the year that I was here.

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For more information about AmeriCorps service in Iowa, please visit http://bit.ly/1UQzViL for more information. Help us spread the word about how AmeriCorps members are creating opportunities in Iowa by sharing the link and encouraging others to get involved!

 

AmeriCorps Member of the Month May 2016

VolunteerIowaPicBrad James is being honored by Volunteer Iowa as the AmeriCorps Member of the Month for May 2016.

Brad is a Green Iowa AmeriCorps member serving in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Green Iowa AmeriCorps team provides residential energy efficiency services, environmental education, and outreach to Iowans. They also provide weatherization services to low-income, disabled, elderly, and Veteran families in order to lower the cost of their monthly utility bills. Brad initially served as an Audit Coordinator where he was able to assist over 100 households with audit and weatherization services, providing consultation and education to residents. In his current position as an Outreach Coordinator, he is responsible for planning first time homeowner weatherization workshops, and he was also able to engage 85 volunteers for “Make a Difference Day” to assist with an Adopt-a-Highway clean up event.

According to Ashley Craft, the Program Director with Green Iowa, “Brad is an incredible example of someone who embraces the notion of being an engaged community member. He not only promotes service within the community by his work through Green Iowa AmeriCorps but regularly volunteers his time outside of work to raise awareness about needs facing our world with climate change and the environment.”

During his service, Brad personally took the initiative to raise the money necessary to make costly repairs to an elderly woman’s house which would have been outside the skills and abilities of Green Iowa to complete on their own. With the help of local community organizations and businesses, he was able to secure almost all of the funds necessary to complete the repairs. Brad also volunteers to help with events like Project AWARE and other local environmentally based projects.

To recognize his service, Brad will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring his dedication and efforts towards bettering the State of Iowa.

Thank you for your service, Brad!americorps_iowa_4in

Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

AmeriCorps Member of the Month April 2016

AllredAmeriCorps.jpgAngela Allred is being honored by Volunteer Iowa as the AmeriCorps Member of the Month for April 2016.

Angela is an AmeriCorps State member who serves with AmeriCorps Partners in Learning at Lincoln Elementary School, a Title 1 school located in Dubuque, Iowa. As an Academic Reading Tutor, Angela works with low-scoring readers to improve their confidence and uses different strategies to encourage improved academic achievement in her students.

Her work as an AmeriCorps service member combats low K-3 grade reading proficiency. She has tutored 97 students this year and 88 students in her previous term of service with Lincoln Elementary. Last year, Lincoln Elementary saw 76% of students who participated in the AmeriCorps Reading Program improve their DIBELS score from the fall to the spring. Angela is a dedicated advocate for service and encourages others in her community to volunteer at various events. She cultivates strong relationship with the families of children she serves and increases the overall level of family engagement, a strong indicator of future academic success for children.

Angela has a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and a Master’s in Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and is particularly interested in issues surrounding food justice. She has previously volunteered with the Troy Kids’ Garden in Madison, WI where she helped youth maintain a garden and prepare simple recipes.

To recognize her service, Angela will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds honoring her dedication and efforts towards bettering the State of Iowa.

Thank you for your service, Angela!americorps_iowa_4in

Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!

Thank You to Our VISTA Service Members!

This week is AmeriCorps week, which means that all across the county, current and former AmeriCorps members and their host organizations are coming together to celebrate the many individuals who have chosen to serve their country and community. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our VISTA’s for all of the amazing work they do throughout the state of Iowa!

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The Volunteer Iowa VISTA project places VISTA members with host sites all over the state focusing on Education and Veteran’s initiatives. Our VISTA’s work to create an environment where veterans are able to transfer military service into successful employment and independence, and economically disadvantaged students are provided the opportunity to achieve academic and personal success using indirect service and capacity building. Volunteer Iowa host sites are nonprofit organizations, government agencies and schools that provide daily oversight and guidance to address the needs of the 20150827_161005communities they serve. They work with VISTA’s to ensure that they are doing meaningful work with their time and service.Volunteer Iowa is just one of many VISTA programs in the state, and is happy to add its strength in volunteerism to make a better state for our residents.

For more information about the VISTA positions currently available with Volunteer Iowa, please check here or contact Volunteer Iowa VISTA Leader Monica de Melo Dreasher at Monica.Dreasher@iowa.gov.

Thank you to all of the AmeriCorps members, past and present, who have made the commitment to serve. Happy AmeriCorps Week 2016!

For more information about AmeriCorps Week, be sure to check social media under #AmeriCorpsWorks and #AmeriCorpsWeek or http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-week

AmeriCorps Member of the Month February 2016

Suzie Stroud 2016.jpgVolunteer Iowa is very proud to honor Suzanne Stroud as the Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for February 2016.

Suzie is an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Project Concern, which provides housing and homelessness prevention services to communities throughout Dubuque, Delaware and Jackson counties. During her time as a VISTA, she has developed and implemented systems for data collection, spread awareness about homelessness and poverty in Iowa, and built vital relationships within the communities she serves. Suzie has also recruited 46 volunteers to the agency who have collectively volunteered a total of 1,451 hours for Project Concern.

As a native of Dubuque, Suzie is devoted to giving back to her community and actively working to make it a better place in everything that she does. After her service, Suzie intends to pursue a master’s degree in Social Work.

In recognition for her service, Suzie will receive a certificate signed by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds commemorating her dedication to service and efforts towards bettering the state of Iowa.

Thank you for your service, Suzie!

Help us tell the story of AmeriCorps in Iowa! You can nominate someone for AmeriCorps Member of the Month by filling out this short survey:http://ow.ly/X1uRp. Please share the link and help us recognize the AmeriCorps members who are getting things done for Iowa!