Views from VISTAs: Updates from March 2020


Views from VISTAs: Updates from March 2020

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah, courtesy of Picnoi.

AmeriCorps’ Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) work to alleviate poverty by providing indirect service to their communities. Our afterschool VISTAs and the work they do are essential to the expansion of afterschool access for the children who need it most, especially in the fields of STEM, child nutrition, youth mentoring, and program sustainability.

Here’s what a few of our VISTAs have been up to during the past few weeks in response to COVID-19.

Gathering resources for educators, programs and parents

Dan Ristau, a STEM Ecosystem VISTA at STEMSTL, worked with his site to create a quick and easily accessible list of resources for teachers and parents to continue virtual learning at home.  They gathered resources with input from 25 partners and shared the resource document through their newsletter and Twitter account. This resource document is a pinned post on STEMSTL’s Twitter account with more than 1,300 views and more than 100 clicks.  In addition, the newsletter went out to more than 200 individuals with a 45 percent open rate. 

Jared Gould, an Afterschool STEM Expansion VISTA at the Alaska Afterschool Network, also gathered resources for families and afterschool program providers, which can be found here. These resources included information on COVID-19 symptoms and how it can be spread, combating stigma, guidance for afterschool programs, and how to talk to children about COVID-19. Jared received feedback from partners that these were helpful resources in this time of instability.

Collecting information to share about afterschool meals

Colleen Dorfler, an Afterschool and Summer Meals VISTA at OregonASK, has been gathering information about afterschool and summer meal access during this time. She attended the Multnomah County Summer Meals Workgroup Meeting, which is the largest county in Oregon. The meeting took place as COVID-19 was getting increasingly more severe, shifting the focus of the meeting towards discussing next steps with afterschool meals programs. Colleen has also participated in webinars such as “Creating Food Access in a Pandemic” and “Serving Meals during COVID-19: Out-of-School Time Partners”, which gave Colleen valuable information that she and her site plan to share with the programs that they work with.

Supporting the development of a Youth Development Emergency Relief Fund

Angel Cancino, an Afterschool Sustainability VISTA with the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence (AzCASE), helped to develop his site’s Youth Development Emergency Relief Fund. AzCASE will participate in Arizona Gives Day on April 7, an annual day of virtual giving for Arizona nonprofits. Angel is planning a day of resource and information sharing to support his site’s fundraising efforts. All funds raised on his site’s behalf on this day will go towards the Youth Development Emergency Relief Fund.

“This fund was established by AzCASE to support out-of-school time programs across the state as they respond to the impact of COVID-19 within our community. One hundred percent of contributions to this fund will be distributed to programs in need,” Angel shared.

Inspiring efforts to alleviate poverty and expand access to afterschool – and its benefits – are happening every day. Join the mission! Learn more about the AmeriCorps afterschool VISTAs and job openings near you.

Weekly Media Roundup: August 26, 2020

Where Atlanta Parents Turn When Children Can’t Do Online School at Home, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Georgia) Afterschool providers throughout Atlanta, Georgia are stepping up to provide safe, supportive environments for students to do distance learning while their parents are...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      08/26/20

Weekly Media Roundup: August 19, 2020

After-School Programs Adjusting to COVID-19 Challenges, Live 5 News (South Carolina) Several organizations in Charleston, South Carolina are finding creative ways to support students as the start of a new school year approaches. For example, the Metanoia Youth Leadership Academy will offer...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      08/19/20

Weekly Media Roundup: August 12, 2020

Safe Spaces: Back-To-School Options For Cleveland's Working Parents, Idea Stream (Ohio) This fall, when Cleveland schools open remotely, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio is planning to serve more than 500 students with enriching all-day, in-person programming. To do so, the Club...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      08/12/20

Weekly Media Roundup, August 5, 2020

The After School All Stars Program Provides Support for Both Students and Parents, WSFL-TV (Florida) When schools closed due the pandemic, After School All Stars (ASAS) quickly found ways to support students and families remotely, first with a virtual afterschool program and then with a virtual...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      08/05/20

Weekly Media Roundup: July 29, 2020

Prime Time Palm Beach Continues Programs, Lake Okeechobee News (Florida) When schools closed due to the pandemic, Prime Time Palm Beach County quickly created an online library where families could choose from more than 2,000 learning activities designed to help students discover new interests...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      07/29/20

Weekly Media Roundup: July 22, 2020

ACPS’s Summer Learning Classes Aid Coronavirus Learning Slump, Local DVM (Virginia) This summer, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) in Virginia are offering free virtual summer learning classes to all students to keep them engaged, academically enriched, and connected to one another....

BY: Magen Eissenstat      07/22/20

Weekly Media Roundup: July 15, 2020

Hoops and Homework Centers in Framingham Reopen with ‘Super Duper Excited’ Students, Metrowest Daily News (Massachusetts) When schools and programs closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Hoops and Homework afterschool program quickly pivoted to supporting students through...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      07/15/20

Weekly Media Roundup: July 8, 2020

Boys & Girls Club Delivers Camp For Kids, New Haven Independent (Connecticut) This week, about 60 students ages five to 14 started a six-week summer learning camp at the Boys & Girls Club of New Haven in Connecticut. Students are divided into small pods, wearing masks and practicing...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      07/08/20

Weekly Media Roundup: July 1, 2020

Learning Center to Have At-Home Learning Sessions, Meadeville Tribune (Pennsylvania) Each Monday through Thursday in July, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Mentoring Program in Meadeville, Pennsylvania will hold interactive, hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons online....

BY: Magen Eissenstat      07/01/20

Weekly Media Roundup: June 24, 2020

JCPS' New Summer School Program Offers Virtual Adventures, Big-Ticket Prizes, Courier Journal (Kentucky) Through the Jefferson County Public Schools’ online “Summer League” program, students in Louisville, Kentucky can explore new interests and keep their academic skills...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      06/24/20