My name is Molly Swisher and I am serving at TrueNorth Community Services in Fremont. TrueNorth is run by a staff of over 130 employees and provides more than 60 programs to 63 Michigan counties.
The work I’ve been doing at TrueNorth has evolved a lot since the start of my service. The original plan was to provide my employment services through a series of workshops I created in a program designated as TEAM. Once I made the service available to the public I discovered that our clients lacked the time and resources needed to take advantage of TEAM in this format. Instead, I found my time was better spent working one on one with referrals provided by TrueNorth’s Self Sufficiency case managers. Because each person had different needs the assistance required was varied. Some clients needed job openings, others required a new resume, and sometimes they just needed a cheerleader to stay motivated. A woman I’ve been working with since April finally found a job and I am probably more excited about it than she is!
A large part of VISTA service is creating sustainable programs. When I learned that TrueNorth wasn’t going to have a VISTA next year, I had to abandon the TEAM program (which I was in the process of making more accessible) because there would be no one to continue these employment services once I depart in November. To address this I turned my focus to making resources that could be used by the case managers to aid their work. My current project is turning the workshops I designed into a dozen short videos that could be shown to clients. To do this I am creating infographic-esque graphics that will be combined with audio to hopefully make the information more interesting and memorable. It’s a long process, but I’m having a lot of fun!
My experience as a VISTA hasn’t been what I expected, but is invaluable none the less. As a typical millennial I found myself lost post-college with no clue of what to do next. CNCS, MNA and TrueNorth have allowed me to discover what I enjoy doing, what I’m good at, and what I wouldn’t do again, even if you paid me a salary that’s above minimum wage.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!