Monthly Archives: June 2013

Siobhan – Kent Youth Program

On a rainy, Pacific Northwest Thursday afternoon 15 students, CRB volunteer Janet, partners from World Relief Kent, and I visited the Green River Community College (GRCC) campus in Auburn, WA. When we arrived at Green River our students were immediately struck by the verdant vegetation enveloping the campus. We traversed small gray pathways in a sea of green until we reached the Zgolinski Welcome Center.

As we entered the building we were greeted by one of GRCC’s Career Counselors, Josh Staffieri. Josh arranged a room in the Welcome Center for us to sit and listen to three encouraging and passionate members of the GRCC “family,” as they put it. AmeriCorps VISTA Marwa Almusawi, took the time to explain her background, her struggles, as well as her triumphs. She also spoke to our students in English and Arabic. Students Gabrel, from the Phillipines and Hani, from Somalia, also presented their stories to the students gathered. They spoke to students about the challenges of coming to a new country, learning a new language, and achieving their academic goals.

A highlight of the presentation occurred during Hani speech. She presented in English while a Karen student from Burma translated into the Karen language, and shortly thereafter, Marwa would translate into Arabic. It was truly powerful to see and hear the diversity of the room; people from all over the world in pursuit of better education… it was a magical thing!

After our youth asked the GRCC students questions about college life, we toured the campus. Students were able to see the facilities, like the Lindbloom Student Center, and classrooms. We visited one particular classroom in which GRCC students were running air traffic control simulations in a state-of-the-art control room. It was fantastic!

CRB would like to thank Josh Staffieri, who was an integral part of organizing the program and we are very appreciative of his assistance. We would also like to thank the three presenters, Marwa, Gabrel, and Hani for sharing wise words of inspiration. Last but certainly not least, thank you to volunteer tutor Janet and World Relief intern Chelsey for helping us keep our students safe on the trip.Image


Brie- East African Community Services

How has your assignment morphed during your service? Do you foresee any of your current activities changing?


After months of accidentally saving documents to my desktop or even to the wrong, it’s once again time to re-organize my files.  The only problem, is that in the last few months, my job has been slowly morphing away from the VISTA Assignment Description (heretofore referred to as the VAD) that was given to me at the start of my term.  As my organization changes, and as I settle into the position, my job description has begun to change.  In the beginning, when people asked what I do, I would tell them: “I’m a grant writer.  I write grant applications for my organization so the organization can get money.”  At the time, that was true: grant writing was pretty much all I did, and also pretty much all that I knew how to do.  The part of my VAD about writing a Fundraising Plan, procuring in-kind donations, running a program, writing budgets, and maintaining the whole organization’s list of contacts frankly scared me a little. 


Since then, both I and my organization have grown in really positive ways.  EACS has hired a part-time Resource Development Director, which has taken off some of the weight of the largest grant proposals.  I have seen countless amazingly informative Webinars on everything related to non-profits, been to multiple trainings all across Seattle, worked with visionary mentors to make large strides in my administrative capacity, and just given the age-old college try to projects I previously thought were above my ability.  Now, it’s my fourth time overseeing the hiring process for a new intern/position, and I’m helping the  Executive Director and the Board of Directors plan the Strategic Development Plan meeting to ensure EACS’ strategic progress.  I have become both the Resource Development Coordinator, and the “Strategic Initiatives Coordinator,” which is the VISTA project that will replace mine at the end of the year.  I have even had an offer to be hired on as a part time staff person after my AmeriCorps term ends.


But still, the question remains: how do I organize my computer files?  Do I organize them by which grant or what type of resource they are, or do I organize them in regard to which project or initiative they pertain to?  This question of where my job title begins and ends will have to be sorted out as my position continues to morph, especially if I am to be hired on in after the term ends. 

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Cordelia – Project Update

For the past few months, I have been working on a job readiness curriculum for JFS’ newly arrived clients.  While the curriculum is still very much in the development stage, volunteers have started to test out finished lesson plans with our clients.  After so much time in the planning stages, it’s exciting to begin to transition into implementing the program.   I’m looking forward to continuing to develop the curriculum, as well as being able to hear and incorporate feedback from our clients and volunteers.