October 2016 AmeriCorps Member of the Month ~ Stephanie Alanis

picture-of-stephanie-alanis-10-2016

“AmeriCorps is a great opportunity that has helped me get involved with my community. AmeriCorps has helped me get out of my comfort zone for the better, as well as given me the chance to meet wonderful people along the way.”     Stephanie Alanis

Buena Vista County has approximately 50% of its youth fall into the category of “at risk” because of their economic means or because of their cultural membership. Stephanie leads our Clover Kids initiative, the K-3rd grade 4-H program, through Iowa State University Extension & Outreach – Buena Vista County. She has led 4 – 6 hours sessions of Clover Kids in 3 different locations of Buena Vista County.  Through Clover Kids, Stephanie has been able to reach approximately 100 K-3rd graders with hands on STEM activities. She is employing the Pint Science curriculum through the Science Center of Iowa. Youth have had significant increases in their interest in Math and Science as a result of their participation in Clover Kids.

Stephanie has led a couple of different service initiatives in her 3 months of service. First, she has partnered with Key Club at Storm Lake High School to find volunteers to help with the delivery of Clover Kids at Storm Lake Elementary School. She has also been organizing a service project with TLC, our local canine shelter, that will offer a series of service opportunities with the kick off being Global Youth Service Day.

Beyond Stephanie’s AmeriCorps duties, she has been involved with many volunteer opportunities. In a formal setting, Stephanie volunteered with Key Club for elementary after-school programs and early dismissal educational events. She also is a very observant community member who contributes where needed. A couple of recent examples include Stephanie’s efforts to raise funds for the funeral expenses of a 4 year old child lost to a freak virus. She also noticed that the volunteer fire department had been spending a significant amount of time in training and delivered cookies to support their efforts.

Stephanie has a desire to continue her education and pursue a career in early childhood education. She has had experience in a classroom setting and has enjoyed the opportunity to explore informal education through 4-H. She is currently enrolled at Iowa Central Community College in Storm Lake and upon graduation, plans to complete her degree at Iowa State University. Stephanie is an active community contributor and will continue to serve her community in formal and informal ways when she sees a need she can fill. Youth, animals, and public service employees are all areas she is committed to serving.

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Stephanie has been able to accomplish during her year of service. To recognize her service, Stephanie 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.

 americorps_iowa_4inHelp 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 September 2016

Congratulations Hannah Buettner!

Hannah Buettner

For over 60 years, the Cedar Rapids Public Library has been promoting literacy initiatives. The library has a long tradition in the community, but is also on the edge of something greater. With two world-class new libraries opening in 2013, the library is a vibrant community hub. With a new strategic plan that focuses on “Investing in Young Minds,” we are further developing our reading programs designed for K-12 students, including the summer reading program. Hannah’s goals as a VISTA member in our program include: increase the participation and completion rates in all programs, develop and implement systems to better track participant data, research the “reluctant reader” and design programs to engage these readers, expand on the volunteer opportunities for the reading programs, research potential opportunities for additional reading programs, and develop outreach initiatives to promote library programs and resources in schools with higher percentages of students eligible for free/reduced-price lunch.

Hannah’s position at the library is focused on K-12 education initiatives. Her goal has been to increase accessibility to library programs, materials, and resources for those in poverty. Hannah has developed a kids coding programs and expanded it to add a summer coding class. These programs have been entirely developed by Hannah; she has also done a thorough job of documenting her classes and even preparing a volunteer to take her place as the instructor. Hannah has also been very active in launching the Summer Dare program. She continued to work with the planning committee and has been active in promoting summer literacy programs to schools, daycares, and summer camps. Her work has allowed the library to reach over 3,000 youth. This May, Hannah connected with 11 local schools to coordinate promotion of the library’s Summer Dare program to almost 2,000 elementary students as part of the community’s Days of Caring event. Her work set the stage for community volunteers to present skits and information about the library’s summer reading and learning program and activities. Hannah has also worked with training staff and volunteers for the Summer Dare. She worked closely with the YA Librarian to produce video trainings to support the in-person trainings she’s conducting on the library’s new summer reading website. Finally, Hannah served on a committee to develop and host the 2016 Leaders in Volunteerism conference in Cedar Rapids. She helped develop the program for the day, run the registration table, and coordinated all of the catering. Over 35 volunteer managers from the area attended the conference.

Hannah has participated in community service events as part of MLK Day. She has also worked with other community volunteers with Day of Caring and the Summer Dare outreach programs. She also speaks positively and proactively about service and her AmeriCorps experience

After her term is completed at the library this July, Hannah will remain in the Cedar Rapids area working for a local theatre company. She has expressed interest in continuing to serve the community.

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Hannah has been able to accomplish during her year of service. To recognize her service, Hannah 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.

americorps_iowa_4inHelp 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 September 2016

Congratulations Hannah!Hannah Buettner

Hannah  Buettner is being honored as the Volunteer Iowa AmeriCorps Member of the Month for September 2016.Thank you for the valued service you provided during your year of service (2015-2016) to the Cedar Rapids Public Library.  Hannah’s story will follow…

Volunteer Iowa is excited to recognize the work Hannah has been able to accomplish during her year of service. To recognize her service, Hannah 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.

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!