I’ve been talking a lot about our Volunteer Maryland Coordinator Program and, as much as I could go on (and on and on and on), I want to shift gears a bit. See, now that October is here, we’re getting ready to launch into our next big thing – VISTA. Each fall we accept applications from organizations that are interested in becoming partners through our VISTA program. This Friday, October 14, we’re holding the first in a series of information sessions about the VISTA program – and I’m pretty excited.
See, I was a VISTA member years ago and know what a great opportunity it is for both the members and the organizations that host them. When I came to Volunteer Maryland a few years ago, it was to work with our new VISTA program. We’re now in our fourth year and have put some great structures in place to support our VISTA partnerships.
The VISTA program has allowed us to round out the ways we can partner with organizations in Maryland. Through VISTA, our members work to build organizational capacity with the overarching mission of eradicating poverty. Poverty eradication is an ongoing struggle in Maryland and beyond. Nelson Mandela said “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” VISTA members and the organizations that host them embrace the idea that poverty can – and will – be overcome. What continues to be exciting are the many ways people choose to work toward poverty eradication.
We partner with organizations that are working toward poverty eradication through community development, education, providing healthcare or job training to the underserved, and many other ways. Our VISTA members serve for one year behind the scenes of these organizations, helping them meet their missions; they serve in resource development, marketing and technology, or evaluation. They research and write and put systems in place so the organizations can grow stronger, serve more clients, and help more people out of poverty.
It’s pretty amazing service. Volunteer Maryland began our VISTA program in 2007 and we’re still looking for great organizations to partner with us on the fight against poverty. That’s what the next couple of weeks are about – finding those organizations. So, if you have a moment, please spread the word. We’re looking for organizations that would like to host a VISTA member for one year, beginning in summer 2011. We have four free information sessions coming up to learn more about the process and applications are due November 19. You can see all the details about the information sessions here and access the application here.
Hope to see you at one of our sessions this month!