Hello fellow VISTAs,
I am Bianca Butler, a first year AmeriCorps VISTA for MNA Civic Engagement. I am currently serving at Ferris State University in the Career Service/Volunteer Center, which is located in Big Rapids, Michigan. It is about 45 minutes to an hour away from Grand Rapids. Big Rapids is a small town; the majority of the population is college students. I work closely with Ferris to help increase the number of available volunteer opportunities and to establish a stronger community bond between Ferris and Big Rapids. I think that serving in the Big Rapids area was a perfect opportunity for me, since I recently graduated from Ferris State University and did not have to relocate.
School has recently started back up, and things have been hectic because of Bulldog Beginnings (Welcome Back Week) and Homecoming Week. When I first began as a VISTA, I had to jump right in and prepare for the Town Hall meeting that was approaching. It was my responsibility to make sure that everything was in place and to confirm which non-profit organizations could attend. During this meeting, it was my job to see what kind of assistance each organization needed and how I could be of help in meeting their needs. This past month itself has been very busy.
I work on service learning projects for the Honors students by facilitating some of the events. I feel comfortable working with Ferris State University students, professors and staff. The first project that I worked on was the “Day of Service & Learning.” This project was started in 2014 so that Honors students can engage in a community service experience. In addition, it allows Honors students to build relationships with community partners and provide large numbers of volunteers with the opportunity to help their community. This project takes place throughout the month of September. Next year, this project will be moved to the Career/Volunteer center so that all students on campus will be able to participate. The name itself will be changed and called a “Day of Caring.” My supervisor and I will help transition this program and make necessary adjustments.
I am very excited to work on my other projects as well, and cannot wait to see what else is in store for me. Good luck to all of you!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!