As this semester comes to a close, I have begun to look back on all that has happened since I began my VISTA year with New Orleans Outreach in July. (Its hard to believe that Im halfway done!) In doing so, I am thinking over the process of volunteer/service-learner intake, placement, and scheduling, and attempting to come up with a way to make the process sustainable following the departure of the AmeriCorps*VISTAs that our organization has had for the past five years.
When Betsy and I first began working with Outreach, our initial goal was to find a person or group of people to fulfill the role of volunteer supervisor at each school site. The initial thought was to find a long-term volunteer that was extremely dedicated and willing to put in a lot of time to fulfill this role. Although Outreach has a slew of dedicated volunteers, finding a person to fulfill this role would be quite a tall order, if you ask me. In rethinking the process, I am hopeful that many of the documents that I have created (and others that plan to create) will eliminate the need for a person to fulfill this role. Although I am aware that everyone at our organization has their hands full most the time, I am optimistic that if everyone took on a couple of easy tasks, that it would be very possible to manage volunteers with the amount of manpower that we already have. I have made request forms, templates for emails, and I have made edits to some existing documents that will hopefully make them easier to use. I am looking forward to going over these with everyone at the organization, getting their feedback, and hopefully implementing them as early as next semester if everyone is on board.
I am doing my best to create some resources and practical processes that I can leave with Outreach after my VISTA year is done, and I am hopeful that this will be a big step in achieving this goal.
- Allison Bakamjian AmeriCorps VISTA Member
Visit http://www.nooutreach.org/ to learn more about the Outreach program and volunteer opportunities in your area.