Hello everyone! My name is Brooklyn Granowicz and I am a first-year VISTA serving at Char-Em United Way in Petoskey, MI. I am a Volunteer Coordinator here at Char-Em United Way, meaning that I recruit volunteers for community events, help bring together programs focused on early-education and encourage people to volunteer by giving them the resources in order to do so. I am new to the Petoskey area so I have really enjoyed being able to get to know the community and join the fight in ending poverty.
My first four months as an AmeriCorps VISTA have been very fast and eventful to say the least. Each month I select a volunteer in the community to interview and write an article about which is then published in the newspaper. This allows volunteers to get the recognition that they deserve and inform the community about what it is they do. I have had the opportunity to attend two different high school career days in order to support my community partner, Char-Em ISD, and talk to high school kids about the benefits of volunteering and in what ways they could get involved with the community. Char-Em United Way just finished up our fundraiser, “A Toast to Literacy", which was a great experience to be a part of. I did not realize how much work goes into planning for a fundraiser. We had to get volunteers, find sponsors, ask for silent auction donations, and promote the event along with many other things. Overall, the Mardi-Gras themed event went very well and was a lot of fun.
I helped organized a Literacy Corps, which is a group of volunteers that mentor, tutor and read to kids in classrooms or local libraries. I have also attended and helped out at three Quiz Bowl events. Quiz Bowl involves teams from local high schools who compete head-to-head to answer questions on various subjects. This is an awesome event to attend and you’d be amazed by how much these kids know!
A huge part of my position is supporting the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) Program. The DPIL program provides a book each month mailed directly to any child under 5 years of age in our two county areas. The program is free to families; our goal is to encourage early reading and literacy, which directly correlates to high school completion. This program is developing a love of literacy among our youngest neighbors. Our two fundraisers raise money to support the DPIL program so a large part of my position is keeping up with the program. I make sure kids are registered in the system and also deal with any problems with the program.
This position challenges me every day, but it has been worth it. I am starting to get to know the community more and truly feel like I am making a positive impact. I can’t wait to see what projects the rest of this year has in store!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!