As the year of service comes to a close, our AmeriCorps VISTAs set aside time to reflect on the challenges and victories of the past 12 months. For VISTA Gabe Hernandez, the last year has been a whirlwind of activity.
After finishing his undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, Hernandez looked toward joining Oregon Campus Compact to give back to his hometown community of Woodburn, Ore.
Initially he worked on the Woodburn Grow Your Own Teacher program - a partnership between Chemeketa Community College and Pacific University. The program focuses on increasing college access through mentorship.
Eventually the program piloted into French Prairie, Teach, Learn, and Grow mentoring. Hernandez described his role as capacity building – figuring out how to find mentors and promote the program.
Hernandez not only describes the experience as a success but he also sees potential for it to keep serving the community.
“This program has huge potential to serve Woodburn for years," Hernandez said. "Personally, I feel like there is support system behind it that wants to keep moving and improving."
He added that people in the Woodburn community are taking time off their summer breaks to make sure the next VISTA arrives ready to hit the ground running.
For Gabe, the Teach, Learn, and Grow mentoring provided resources for students that were sorely lacking in Woodburn. In addition, the program brought together the largely Hispanic population of students together with mentors who shared their backgrounds.
In addition to sharing stories and understanding, the mentors provided students with a framework to pursue higher education goals.
"It was very empowering, first couple of sessions they would be shy,” Hernandez said. “But toward the end, many of these students wanted to get on a path where they knew where they could get some help."
Hernandez knows the value of having mentors who can set one on the right path. He describes his AmeriCorps VISTA experience as one that gave him the same motivation that he was giving to the students in Woodburn.
He describes a stellar growth from learning professional etiquette to becoming a keynote speaker for the Crystal Apple Awards.
When Hernandez finished his undergrad degree, he knew that he wanted to go on to graduate school, but he was plagued by the feeling that he was not good enough to get his masters.
Hernandez credits his AmeriCorps experience with developing professional and leadership skills.
“[Oregon Campus Compact] gave the necessary skills to be confident to pursue grad school,” he said. Hernandez is returning to OSU to get his masters in the College of Student Affairs Program. He has also received an assistantship in the Center for Leadership Development that will pay for his tuition. His ultimate goal is to work with students of color at four-year universities.
As for the community in Woodburn, Hernandez said it is hard to leave the position. But he feels optimistic the program will continue to grow and give back.
“I see a bright future for the next VISTA coming in,” he said.
Letters of Intent Due Friday, January 31, 2014
Oregon Campus Compact is pleased to announce the release of the 2014-2015 Request for Proposals (RFP) for our AmeriCorps VISTA Program. This program provides campuses a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA Member to focus on capacity building of programs that alleviate poverty, most specifically by addressing educational disparities and inequity.
ORCC AMERICORPS VISTA MEMBERS WILL:
Linked below you will find the RFP for the VISTA program. Program Supervisor, Kendra Henry is available for application assistance.
ORCC Full-time AmeriCorps VISTA RFP (this is a fillable form, so please make sure to download the original)
UPCOMING RFP EVENTS & DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
Letter/Email of Intent to apply due to ORCC. Please state the number of VISTAs you hope to apply for in a brief (1-2 paragraph) summary of your project concept. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enter Access Code 421222, then #
Please RSVP to email@example.com
VISTA Project Proposals due to ORCC
Transitioning into high school is one of the most pivotal moments in a student’s education. Studies show success in ninth grade can predict the likelihood of a student graduating from high school.
To support students in Multnomah County, where the on-time graduation rate is just 64.7%, Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) partnered again this summer with Ninth Grade Counts, a collaborative of the All Hands Raised Partnership focused on the crucial summer transition, ninth grade. More than 20 nonprofits and schools districts, including ORCC, come together as a part of this effort.
For the past five years, ORCC’s Summer VISTA program has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service and Ninth Grade Counts to create a sustainable, positive impact. In 2012, a study by the Northwest Evaluation Association found that participants in Ninth Grade Counts stayed on track through ninth grade at higher rates and had better school attendance than non-participants. Partners believe these successes will contribute to increases in Multnomah County’s high school graduation rate.
The program also made an impact on the college students who were selected to serve as Summer VISTAs. Recruited from ORCC’s membership of colleges and universities, students deepened their understanding of pressing needs and gained hands on experience transforming the community. In addition, they discovered their values and passions and earned a living stipend and AmeriCorps education award to help pay for school.
"Working with [Ninth Grade Counts] has really impacted me a lot. It has actually made me rethink what I want to major in, in college,” explained one Summer VISTA. “Working with these kids and seeing the type of impact and change that I can make in their lives is an awesome feeling. It makes me feel as though I am really doing something in the community and in my life."
The Summer VISTA program leverages smart, young people with fresh ideas to serve the community. ORCC is motivated to foster the next generation of thoughtful, educated, committed leaders and to prepare them to solve Multnomah County and Oregon’s most complex problems. ORCC supports this vision by connecting students to their communities and by deepening their understanding of critical issues so they're prepared to lead as future decision makers and mentors.
To learn more about ORCC and how to become an ORCC campus member, contact Josh Todd, ORCC Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.406.3570.
To learn more about Ninth Grade Counts or the All Hands Raised Partnership, contact Jeanie-Marie Price, Vice President of Communication at All Hands Raised, email@example.com or 503.234.5404.
As students begin to settle into their classes, ORCC’s AmeriCorps VISTA members are getting comfortable in their new role as service-learning ambassadors on campuses. This year, ORCC welcomed 23 members at 18 colleges, universities, and community organizations, as well as one VISTA Leader at ORCC. Members were selected from an unbelievably competitive pool of local and national candidates. They come to the team with incredible experience, passion, and drive, and ORCC is excited to see them feed their unique talents into their projects.
Throughout the year, team members will embody the mission of AmeriCorps VISTA by working to alleviate poverty. By mobilizing campus and community resources, the VISTAs will generate, develop, and implement ways for the campus to reflect on the root causes of poverty and work towards solutions with the community.
The VISTAs will spend the next year focused on developing poverty related service-learning opportunities. They will accomplish this by building relationships, managing service events, coordinating programs that engage students in service, and increasing the level of civic engagement on their campuses. As their work unfolds, ORCC is excited to see them inspire change and get things done!
Meet Our AmeriCorps VISTA 2013-2014 Team!
The end of August marked the end of the term of service for Oregon Campus Compact’s (ORCC) 2012-2013 full-time AmeriCorps teams. Throughout the year, 22 AmeriCorps Retention Project and VISTAs worked with 14 colleges, universities, and community partners to develop mentoring programs for at-risk students, and to increase the capacity of campuses and communities to fight poverty.
Their success is measured not only by what they accomplished on campuses, but also by their individual and collective spirit of service. ORCC is honored to have worked with the members and excited to see how they impact communities in their future pursuits. We look forward to staying in touch and thank everyone for their service and commitment.
In one year, the AmeriCorps Retention Project and VISTA teams:
A year with the team in photos
Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) welcomes back the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM) as a campus member. Previously a member in 2002, NCNM has renewed its membership to join ORCC’s shared commitment to strengthening higher impact education and community-engaged learning.
NCNM educates and trains physicians, practitioners, and pre-professionals in the art, science, and research of natural medicine. NCNM’s two mottoes, “We are community” and “We are what’s next,” are embraced by students, faculty, and staff alike. The informal slogans reflect both NCNM’s dedication to inclusion and belief in the future of natural medicine. They also demonstrate the school’s commitment to educating students who are intelligent, motivated, and skilled to make the world a better place. By developing caring and knowledgeable practitioners, NCNM students are contributing to the health and well-being of patients, and improving the primary care landscape in America.
To strengthen this work, NCNM is taking advantage of the ORCC membership benefit to host an ORCC AmeriCorps VISTA member. In September, NCNM will welcome ORCC AmeriCorps VISTA, Hannah Foreman, who will work to develop a sustainable volunteer internship program for NCNM’s community clinics, which will provide health care at affordable rates to some of the region’s most vulnerable populations.
Through the volunteer internship program, interns will be recruited and trained to welcome clients to the clinics, as well as to provide front line resources and referrals to local health programs to help patients who suffer from poverty and poor health. Hannah will create partnerships with allied health programs and implement a training and assessment agenda for student interns.
ORCC is excited to start the school year with NCNM, along with ORCC’s membership of 18 colleges and universities that are committed to deepening the public purpose of higher education. Research has shown students who volunteer have higher GPAs, are more likely to graduate, and are more likely to stay engaged in their community after graduation. In partnership with NCNM, ORCC is building community-engaged learning and service to help bring coursework to life and engage students with the needs of their communities.
For the fifth summer, ORCC is hosting 34 AmeriCorps Summer VISTAs to serve Multnomah County school districts and community organizations. VISTAs will support educational summer programs that ease ninth graders’ transitions into high school.
The Summer VISTAs were recruited from ORCC member colleges and universities to provide students with meaningful summer work and to engage them with their community. “Serving as an AmeriCorps member is a great opportunity to gain professional experience and to help decrease educational inequality in my community,” said Monica.
ORCC’s Summer VISTA program leverages smart, young people with fresh ideas to serve the community. One benefit to this approach is that we connect college students and recent grads with rising ninth graders to talk about college—what it’s like, why it’s important, and how to access financial resources. Since our Summer VISTAs are often closer in age to ninth graders than teachers and parents, they’re able connect with the students in a unique way to prepare them for high school and beyond.
ORCC is proud to have recruited talented Summer VISTAs from its statewide membership of colleges and universities. We’re motivated to foster the next generation of thoughtful, educated, committed leaders and to prepare them to solve Multnomah County and Oregon’s most complex problems. We support this vision by connecting students and young professionals to their communities and by deepening their understanding of social justice issues so they're prepared to lead as engaged, global citizens.
The Summer VISTA program is a partnership with All Hands Raised (formally the Portland Schools Foundation), the Corporation for National and Community Service and ORCC. Through this program, the partnership addresses low high school completion in Multnomah County, Oregon where just 64.7% of students graduate high school on time.
Recruiting potential Summer VISTA candidates from ORCC member campuses is just one benefit of being an ORCC member. Not a member? Learn more about becoming a member by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters of Intent Due Friday, January 11, 2013
ORCC is pleased to announce the release of our 2013-2014 Request for Proposals (RFP) for our VISTA and Retention Project AmeriCorps programs. These programs provide campuses a full-time AmeriCorps Member to focus on community engagement and service-learning initiatives that alleviate poverty (VISTA) and build mentoring programs for underserved youth and college students (Retention Project).
ORCC AMERICORPS VISTA MEMBERS WILL:
ORCC Full-time AmeriCorps RFP (this is a fillable form, so please make sure to download the original)
The Retention Project ORCC RFP Resource Guide 2013-2014
VISTA ORCC RFP Resource Guide 2013-2014
UPCOMING RFP EVENTS & DATES FOR YOUR CALENDAR
Letter/Email of Intent to apply due to ORCC (send to email@example.com)
Enter Access Code 421222, then #
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
VISTA and Retention Project Proposals due to ORCC
The impact of natural disasters can destroy communities. To repair damages, response efforts must know how to efficiently lend support, resources, time, and energy. Take a look at these resources and learn how to mobilize your campus and community to make responsible contributions to relief efforts.
Resist the urge to make quick decisions before truly understanding how to be helpful. As community needs are assessed, volunteer opportunities and partnering organizations will be identified to lead the recovery. Be patient as these assessments are made. Do not self-deploy, this may complicate first responders' efforts and create unnecessary dangers.
Register Your Interest to Volunteer
When volunteer needs are identified, organizations will mobilize volunteers in their database. Make sure you’re connected with these organizations to learn more about deployment opportunities.
Rebuilding Vermont; Community Engagement in Disaster Preparedness and ReliefBy: University of Vermont
Learn how the University of Vermont created a service-learning class (in less than a week) to support recovery from Hurricane Irene in 2011.
By: Pennsylvania Campus Compact
Prepare your campus to respond to disasters by utilizing this resource. The manual covers topics such as emergency management, community partnerships, and service-learning.
Donate In-kind Donations and Materials
National Donations Management Network is a virtual portal that allows companies and individuals to offer support during disasters. Access the portal to contribute financially, send in-kind donations, and to give skills and time to organizations active in the disaster response.
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is a forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle to help disaster survivors and their communities.
Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) has partnered with 14 Oregon colleges, universities, and community partners to host 24 AmeriCorps Retention Project and VISTA Members across the state.
Ten AmeriCorps Retention Project Members will develop mentor programs to match college student mentors with at-risk college student and youth mentees. The programs encourage high school completion and degree attainment by utilizing service-learning to provide academic enrichment and college exposure to disadvantaged, at-risk mentees.
Fourteen AmeriCorps VISTA Members will bring together campus and community stakeholders to address issues of poverty. By mobilizing resources, they will generate, develop, and implement ways for the campus and community to reflect on poverty and work toward solutions together.
ORCC AmeriCorps Members met last week to officially celebrate the start of service. They’re inspired by the work of the 2011-2012 AmeriCorps teams and motivated to make an impact in Oregon.
Cumulatively, the 2011-2012 teams
Motivated by the belief that students have the power to change the world, ORCC activates higher education toward student participation in civic life. As the only statewide organization working with private, public, four-year, and two-year institutions, ORCC embraces its unique position to strengthen Oregon’s narrative of service and leadership.
ORCC will release the AmeriCorps Retention Project and VISTA program Request for Proposals for the 2013-2014 service year in mid-November 2012. If you’re interested in learning more about ORCC, applying to host an AmeriCorps Member, or becoming an ORCC campus member, contact McKenzie Miller, Communications Coordinator at email@example.com or 503.406.3572.