Fighting Poverty with Passion
It’s been a quiet month for me at Plessy. The programs that I’ve set in place have still been running strong so I spent time laying the groundwork for improvements for next semester and beyond. The remainder of this post is geared more toward future/prospective VISTAs.
One of the most important things we do as VISTAs is assemble a sustainability plan, which in my opinion should not only provide recommendations for the future but also detail exactly what we did and how we did it. The sustainability plan that I am creating will be crucial for the next staff member or volunteer(s) who take over my duties. My plan, at the moment, is to delegate the duties I have to various parents and staff members. That way, the expense of a full time employee is not needed, at least for the time being while we are small.
For the reading buddy program, for instance, one parent could recruit volunteers from universities, while another could recruit from the community, and another could keep up existing relationships with the current volunteers. The reading interventionist could supervise the volunteers while on-site while the school secretary handles the administrative paperwork. It is the job of the VISTA to plan the intricacies of such a framework so that the programs he or she implements are not dropped by the wayside. Confusion is the chief enemy of any organization (see the antonym of organization) and by anticipating it, you can set your organization up for long-term success.
Besides the sustainability plan, I also worked on intern recruitment. I’m happy to say that the internship fair for me was a huge success with two interns signing up and likely to start next semester. Additionally, two other interns heard about internships through the newsletter, and are also likely to start next semester. The point is, use the fair and the newsletter to your best advantage. Also, it never hurts to offer to meet an interested intern because a 15-minute chat is a far more effective recruitment tool than a 3-5 sentence blurb.
I hope you found these tidbits helpful and good luck in your service year!