Hi, my name is Neil Anderson. I am one of the VISTAs serving at the Char-Em United Way in Petoskey. At the current moment we are getting ready for our annual Toast to Literacy Fundraiser which takes place on February 6th. This event helps to raise money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, a program that provides free books to children from birth to age 5. This year’s fundraiser is vital as the program has grown considerably in the last year and now provides books to approximately 50% of the eligible children in our area.
Toast to Literacy is an event that involves the entire community. We have a committee that has representatives from area businesses like Castle Farms (a special event facility in Charlevoix), as well as people who are just excited to have the program in our area.
We are also beginning the process of planning for another large fundraising event, Instant Wine Cellar. This is a fundraiser to support our Volunteer Connections website. This website is an effort to streamline the process of helping volunteers find sites, as well as for volunteer sites to find and communicate with volunteers.
Outside of our big events I have been working on improving the efficiency of my host organization by combing through the reports of our grant recipients. I will be looking for inaccuracies and reporting to my supervisor with recommendations on what we track from those organizations. This is in an effort to have a better understanding of how our grants are making an impact.
I am also doing research on indicators of success for elementary, middle, and high school students. This is for a committee that is interested in improving the lives and abilities of students in our area.
Finally I am working with a collection of people who are interested in decreasing poverty in our area, through our Poverty Reduction Initiative. I specifically provide data analysis for the group.
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!