Hello everyone! Wow, where has the time gone? I can hardly believe that I will be ending my 2 years of service in 3 weeks. I am so thankful for this experience and it’s exactly what I needed to grow personally and professionally. Since starting my service, I have been surrounded by great people that have taught me so much. My VISTA service has made me confident in my skills and leadership, and I feel ready for the next step. This experience has humbled me, and taught me to look beyond the salary of a position, and seek out how I can contribute to make a difference. I am looking to work in Higher Education and/or Nonprofit so if you know of a position I should take a look at, please reach out.
In my short two years of service, I feel we have accomplished a great deal at my host site, the Lenawee Community Foundation. I stayed busy working with VOLUNTEER Lenawee!, our county’s volunteer center. My first task was to research and find a new volunteer matching software. We ended our contract with Hands on Connect, and successfully switched over to GiveGab. Which saved our organization over $1,000 a year, and our agency participation on GiveGab is growing more every day. The users find GiveGab to more user-friendly, and more engaging. Our office also went through a move to a new location, which I assisted with. I took it upon myself to plant flowers, and put up seasonal decorations to help make our office more inviting to the public. In addition, I created an updated version of Lenawee County’s environmental scan, which is a document that contains an in-depth look at our county’s population and resources, which is very helpful when writing grants and assessing the community’s needs.
At our community partner, the Lenawee College Access Network, I played a critical role in building what the Network is today. I helped keep things moving during the transition in coordinators, which happened twice. I took on the TIP initiative, which included determining eligibility for all 12th graders in Lenawee County for the Tuition Incentive Program, and of the eligible students, getting them signed up to receive their benefit. This secured over 1 million dollars per year in grant monies for Lenawee County students, and the initiative is now self-sustaining as all Lenawee County Counselors are aware of how to secure these funds for their students. Additionally, I assisted in writing and receiving an implementation grant and gaining the support of all 12 of our school districts to support LCAN and provide a match for the grant to sustain the LCAN for another two years. I also helped create a new website to market LCAN to the public. Our college access network has gained some state and national attention and has become a model for new and upcoming college access networks.
With all the good work I have done over the past two years, I leave all my programs sustainable and in good standing. I believe passing the reins over to the new VISTA will be a smooth transition and I am excited to see how she can contribute to the organizations with her unique skillset.
I wish you all the luck and success on your future endeavors, and it was great getting to know each and every one of you! If I can ever be of any service, or you just want to keep in touch, please feel free to reach out to me on social media, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again for all your service and making positive change in our unsettled world. - Jim
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!