My role as VISTA Leader requires me to act as a sort of Jack-of- all-VISTA-Needs, meaning I’m involved in our VISTA recruitment, retention, and program support. At OCC I’ve learned how to be a storyteller (those Corporation for National and Community Service monthly stories!), liaison, listener, big-thinker, event planner, and training developer. It’s the diversity of opportunities available here that have made this a VISTA term of growth and gladness. Looking back on my first year of service, the most impactful element of my work was supporting an engaged VISTA cohort—we came together for trainings, retreats, and happy hours and all that coming together, kept us together. Our program had 100% retention for the 2015-2016 term. Doing the work of overcoming poverty requires a network of support.
This year’s service term is off to a promising start: our VISTA cohort has grown from eight members to 11. This includes 5 returnees and 6 first timers. The 2016-2017 C2C VISTA cohort is an amazing collection of individuals who have joined VISTA with plans to make a lasting impact on their respective campuses. I’m excited to see the personal spin each of our VISTAs puts on their program and how C2C will have made one more obstacle to success disappear from our campuses.
My time at OCC has been transformative—pushing me to envision that my VISTA work will be life-long—a commitment to service, community, and the power of people has been formed here. I know this final VISTA year will complete my journey from service member to engaged citizen!
Written by Ava Carvour