Hello, once again! This is Brian reporting from Volunteer Kalamazoo, where I am serving as a dual Volunteer Centers of Michigan (VCM) and LEAGUE Michigan VISTA with the Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA).
It has been a wild and crazy (but fun) month here at Volunteer Kalamazoo. The past month has seen four major programs through completion, beginning on March 27th with our annual fundraiser, Eat, Drink, Give and ending on April 22nd with our annual volunteer recognition and award ceremony, STAR (Sharing Time And Resources) Awards. While I did lend a hand at both of these events, it was actually the two service days sandwiched in between that took most of my focus.
As many of you reading this know, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) was on April 18th (I encourage those of you who are not familiar with GYSD to check out gysd.org to learn more about this world-wide day of service). I am happy to report that GYSD was a success and would like to recognize Volunteer Kalamazoo’s Youth Service Council on their hard work in making the day a hit.
The other major event was Spring Into The Streets (SITS), which I was actually given complete ownership of. This program is done every year in collaboration with Western Michigan University’s Office of Student Activities and Leadership Programs. This year SITS happened on April 10th. My role in SITS was to set up sites for students to register to volunteer and to manage the event on Volunteer Kalamazoo’s site. In all, I was able to set up over 530 volunteer slots with about a dozen organizations throughout the Kalamazoo area – which proved to be more than enough.
As if these two youth and young adult programs were not enough, my focus has also been on Volunteer Kalamazoo’s VolunTEENS program. VolunTEENS is a year-round youth volunteering program that has been around for 45 years, but for the past few years has only existed as youth tagged opportunities in our annual Guidebook due to staffing capacity. I have been working for the past few months to revitalize VolunTEENS, with plans for a summer kick-off to happen in June. Thanks to a grant from Allegra Printing, and with input from area youth, we have been able to create a new VolunTEENS logo and promotional materials. As part of the revitalization, I am also working on recreating the whole youth section of Volunteer Kalamazoo’s website. I hope to have the new youth pages online later this week.
Never a dull moment here, especially as I visit schools to promote the new VolunTEENS program and service learning. As the cold slips away and we truly transition into spring, I look forward to the extra time I will have with all the events of this past month over and done. I will need the time as I begin working on my Legacy Binder, to ensure all this momentum continues when I depart in August. Until then, wish me luck as I enter the final quarter of my service year strong!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!