volunteer coordinator

Community Development and Outreach Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Nicole Belanger
Program Start: 
9/2009
Program End: 
9/2010
Project Description: 

The VISTA member’s specific responsibilities will be to expand our outreach efforts and develop sustainable relationships and advocates for media reform, media justice, and independent community media, so that we can better fulfill our mission.

Our Community Development and Outreach Coordinator would significantly enhance our capacity to fulfill our mission of advancing media reform and media justice in the NY Capital Region and the economically disadvantaged communities directly surrounding our office at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. The VISTA member will have significant involvement in the community, collaborating with staff to develop and implement a volunteer program to support Media Alliance initiatives and strengthen our capacity to identify, attract, train and monitor dedicated volunteers who can help support our locally produced community media production and distribution, and expand our outreach efforts.

Goal 1: Expand our outreach efforts, coordinate volunteers, and develop sustainable relationships to further our mission.

Project Outcome: 

Our VISTA member Nicole Belanger definitely had significant involvement in the community, collaborating with staff to develop and implement a volunteer program to support Media Alliance initiatives and strengthen our capacity to identify, attract, train and monitor dedicated volunteers who can help support our locally produced community media production and distribution. She expanded our outreach efforts, achieving our goals.

Nicole Belanger outreached to other organizations and institutions, increased awareness of our community media projects, and assisted with coordination of our community programs—with the result of a greater community network with substantive relationships to our organization. As part of her VISTA work, Nicole compiled a community volunteer and outreach binder, with tasks and activities broken down into clear and efficient descriptions. The goal was to sustain her accomplishments. Although we could always use more support, this work does go a significant way to ensuring the longevity of the accomplishments achieved through our VISTA member Nicole Belanger’s accomplishments.

One interesting accomplishment beyond our proposed project is that Nicole organized a pot-luck and cooking crew. The wholesome meals and hospitality helped to build community—here, with a focus on “home sweet home” values! This is another accomplishment which will have longevity, and has helped in our community outreach. Our VISTA member also helped to frame our community arts and education projects as a valuable component of our community outreach, and we appreciate it!

L@TCH Program Developer

VISTA Name: 
Devon Smolca
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will build on relationships staff create with local school partners, community-based groups, non-profits, corporations and funders to develop strategies and resources (volunteers, computer donations and funding) for community technology adoption programs. Specifically the L@TCH home computer program which distributes computers to the families of K-12 students that are attending Baltimore City schools.

Project Outcome: 

The program has moved closer to becoming a sustainable model. We have a better idea of how schools can adopt the program with fewer resources from us. There is greater awareness of the L@TCH program, HEBCAC and CCTS in the community. Devon has helped HEBCAC expand their hardware resources to support the computer refurbishing center The program did not meet its objective of 500 systems distributed (331) We need to distribute 70 more system to meet adjusted goal. We will continue to engage schools around a model where they find the resources to underwrite the cost of the systems for their students, and engage teachers to use the educational resources installed on the systems, and use email more to communicate with families.

Impact Quote: 

Devon contributed greatly to the following outcomes: Three hundred fifty families took a L@TCH computer home during the 2010-2011 school year. Students in grades Pre K- 11th in six Baltimore City public schools. All the parents of these students attended one of the 20 Family Computer Workshops held to raise awareness to the responsibilities of having a computer with Internet access in the home and how to use technology to improve the home learning environment. Our L@TCH families have an average of three students per family which means these L@TCH computers have impacted almost 1,000 students. So far two schools are planning to continue the program in their schools and we have yet to meet with the other six schools.

CTC Program Building and Volunteer Coordinator

Organization: 
Technology for All
VISTA Name: 
Pete Rodriguez
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2005
Project Description: 

Goal 1: To help TFA further develop various policies and procedures related to services provided by the Mission Milby Community Technology Center (MMCTC)
Goal 2: To help TFA develop and train volunteers to use the system for receiving / distribution of donated computer equipment to CTCs in the Houston area.
Goal 3: To help TFA recruit and train volunteers to teach and run the Learn and Earn program at MMCTC.
Goal 4: To help TFA plan and implement a summer 2005 youth computer camp program at MMCTC.
Goal 5: To help TFA develop and maintain a curriculum repository on all materials taught at MMCTC and help train volunteers to maintain the system.

Project Outcome: 

Pete has worked extensively with our Learn and Earn Program. Over the past year and a half he has taught 12 classes and distributed over 100 re-deployed computers to underserved youth in the east end of Houston. Pete has also developed a new Learn and Earn Program with graduating seniors at Milby, Chavez and Austin High School. He will be starting our third class this summer. Through these two programs he has been able to increase our overall volunteer hours. This program is well received by the community and a welcome addition to the total program TFA offers.

Pete has managed our computer re-distribution program and completely overhauled the system. All reporting is now done on-line and in real time. He has also involved his student volunteers and our University of Houston Interns in the process. The most unique feature to the re-distribution program is the way Pete transfers knowledge to the recipients. The organization receiving the computers actually works with Pete and the volunteers in preparing their own equipment for their community technology center. In this way they have enough basic knowledge to keep their equipment up and running. To date Pete has re-distributed well over 300 computers and taught over 100 people in this program.

For the past two months Pete has put together an extensive summer youth program. (flyer available). We should be able to reach over 50 unique community youth ranging in age from new 7th graders to graduating seniors. The programs cover a variety of subjects. Pete has developed all the learning objectives for each course, developed a budget and schedule, and is in the process of recruiting students and volunteers. One of his key program partners is NASA. They have offered to put a second session under Pete’s leadership.

Impact Quote: 

Pete is a real friend to the youth of our community. Through the Learn and Earn program Pete gets to know the youth, and then he takes it a step further. Pete spends additional time with these kids and becomes much more than just a teacher, he also becomes their friend and mentor. I believe Americorp Vista, through people like Pete, is making a real difference in the lives of these and other underserved youth. This extra effort has also been a key component in the development of an extensive summer youth program. Pete has been able to use his relationship with these kids to customize a program that really has the kids exited.

Marketing and Outreach

VISTA Name: 
Ashley Cross
Program Start: 
9/2004
Program End: 
9/2005
Project Description: 

Install, maintain and troubleshoot a wireless network of 30 laptops, the Mobile Lab, by November 2004

Increase the number of youth served by the CLC from 500 to 600 (a 20% increase) by the end of the VISTA term, with the addition of the Mobile Lab Project.  We may surpass this target number by recruiting Camino Nuevo High School youth, who can earn elective credits for participating in the MLP.

Create job descriptions and train 2-4 technologically advanced high school interns to teach younger CLC participants.

Public and private sector resources will enable the project to continue after the VISTA member leaves.

Create a manual of procedure on how to update the website after VISTA member leaves.

Recruit local college volunteers to work with high school youth on developing the HOLA Fun Zone (HOLA’s youth website).

Project Outcome: 

HOLA’s AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, Ashley Cross, has been an amazing addition to Heart of Los Angeles Youth (HOLA). You need only visit our new and improved website to see the many ways that she has made a tremendous impact upon the organization. At www.heartofla.org you will see updated stories and press releases which Ashley designed and published. She also designed and formatted a link for point of donation opportunities, as well as a merchandizing page featuring HOLA cards designed by our youth. HOLA has received close to $3,000 in donations through our website to date, which funds can be directly attributed to Ashley’s efforts. We also received a $50,000 grant that came through our new and improved site. Please take a look at the home page and the articles included on the site, which Ashley was responsible for designing and formatting. Ashley was able to recreate on our web site the entire article about HOLA, including photographs, which was published in “La Opinion”. She was responsible for creating the Special Events page and many of the stories and pictures throughout the site. At the same time, we have been able to hard copies of the PDF articles from the web site to form an integral part of HOLA’s press packet. Ashley’s contribution to the HOLA website is only one very critical part of how she’s expanded the capacity for our organization.

Ashley succeeded in refurbishing the 30 laptops ahead of schedule, but the organization encountered some unforeseen obstacles in procuring battery packs, a wireless router, wireless cards, and most importantly, a space to accommodate the Mobile Lab Project. Thanks to Ashley’s research, these were obtained during the last quarter of her term. While these challenges were being addressed, we added the new goal of increasing the capacity of HOLA’s development office through the overall improvement of the website, which Ashley undertook with great efficiency and success.

The Mobile Lab Project is now slated to be unveiled in March or April of 2006, a successful culmination of Ashley’s research and development efforts. Batteries, cards and a router have been obtained, and funds have been secured for the build-out of the new Teen Center.

Impact Quote: 

Ashley’s ability to accomplish tasks quickly has greatly enhanced HOLA’s public image, giving a much-needed dynamic quality to the website, much to the organization’s benefit. Because she finished the Mobile Laptop Project in such a timely manner, HOLA was able to gain additional financial support from national companies towards launching a new Teen Center. Ashley successfully adapted to the new goals as they evolved during the year, and she was able to complete the tasks set out for her before the end of her contract. Fortunately for Heart of Los Angeles Youth, Ashley’s next post will be as a full-time staff member. She joined HOLA’s staff as the Bridges After School Manager and Volunteer Coordinator on September 19, 2005.

CTC Program Building

Organization: 
Big Bend Community College
VISTA Name: 
Victoria Bravo
Program Start: 
9/2004
Program End: 
9/2005
Project Description: 

Victoria concentrated efforts this year on stabilizing community computer class offerings to reach adult community members in Mattawa, Royal City, and Othello. The first half of her term was spent generating community computer classes, developing more classes in each community, and training volunteers through Central Washington University (CWU) GEARUP. The second half of the term was focused on expanding that interest to self-study and home use, and to continue the access to learning. During the course of the year, over 130 users were involved in introductory computer classes and intermediate level classes. Students logged roughly 1400 user hours. Among other things, these classes built community capacity, strengthened a cadre of volunteers, and led BBCC to develop partnerships and open new computer classes in Mattawa, Royal City and Othello that were geared to second language learners.

Project Outcome: 

Victoria refined and implemented a second language (Spanish) curriculum that was used in the computer classes. She based the curriculum on research done with a variety of programs working with second language students. CWU GEARUP linked with Victoria to provide work study students to teach computer classes in the three communities. CWU recruited bilingual campus students who then taught the computer classes under the guidance of the VISTA program. One of the CWU GEARUP program objectives is to increase knowledge and awareness of post secondary education for the families with children in these three communities. Increasing the family’s access to technology is a link to their literacy growth and improves success in school. Victoria also developed a strong relationship with the RECA Foundation in Kennewick and continued to link community members to the foundation so they could purchase refurbished computers at a low cost for their home use. We have learned that real progress for most students is dependant on computers in the home. Victoria was able to get computers into many of the student’s homes in Royal City and Mattawa and to help them keep these computers working. The computers are geared more towards families and give kids a basis for learning. They have security in place to prevent major problems from occurring to the operating system. The major drawback in these computers is that they do not allow changes to the system and prevent use of the internet. However, as a beginning computer for families, they are perfect because they aren’t susceptible to viruses as they become more comfortable with the computers, they can later invest in one that is Internet ready. In the meantime, Internet access and ESL software remains available in the community labs.

Impact Quote: 

Victoria has been able to build upon the foundation that was established by last year’s VISTA member to continue the development of dynamic, active technology centers. She is an enormous asset to both the organization and the communities in which she has demonstrated her talent and good will.

Transmission Project