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: June 10, 2020

Total Trek Quest Announces New Virtual Summer Program, ABC 13 (Michigan) Total Trek Quest engages boys in third through fifth grades in Grand Rapids, Michigan with afterschool programming focused on goal setting, social-emotional learning, physical activity and health education. This summer,...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      06/10/20

Weekly Media Roundup: June 3, 2020

Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito Youth Stay Active With Virtual Services, Encinitas Advocate (California) While in-person programming is suspended due to the pandemic, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sandieguito in California is offering tutoring, music classes and sports practice to keep...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      06/03/20

Weekly Media Roundup: May 27, 2020

L.A. School District Plans Star-Studded Summer Learning for Students — with James Cameron Teaching ‘Titanic’ and a Book Group with Alicia Keys and Others, The Washington Post This summer, students in Los Angeles will learn to draw and animate from the studio behind...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      05/27/20

Weekly Media Roundup: May 20, 2020

Burlington Provides Care at School — or at Home — for Essential Workers' Kids, Seven Days (Vermont) Afterschool staff and paraeducators are providing a safe, enriching learning environment for children of essential workers in Burlington, Vermont while schools and afterschool...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      05/20/20

Weekly Media Roundup: May 13, 2020

OCCA Develops “Art Kits” For 21st Century After School Program, The News Guard (Oregon) This school year, the Sam Case Elementary 21st Century Afterschool Program in Newport, Oregon partnered with the Oregon Coast Council of the Arts (OCCA) to facilitate four-week art classes for...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      05/13/20

Weekly Media Roundup: May 6, 2020

Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA Afterschool Program Makes House Calls, Augusta Free Press (Virginia) On Monday, the Staunton-Augusta Family YMCA Afterschool Adventure Club in Augusta County, Virginia delivered care packages to students. They included handwritten notes, sidewalk chalk, and materials...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      05/06/20

Weekly Media Roundup: April 29, 2020

YMCA to Finish '7 Habits of Happy Kids' Series Via Video, The Sentinel-Record (Arkansas) This year, the Hot Springs Family YMCA Successful Children Out-of-School Recreation and Education (S.C.O.R.E.) afterschool program in Arkansas has facilitated a social-emotional learning series...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      04/29/20

Weekly Media Roundup: April 15, 2020

After School Program Adjusting to Help Kids When There’s No School, (Iowa) While in-person programming is suspended due to coronavirus, the Spring Forward afterschool program in the Quad Cities region of Iowa has launched Spring Forward At Home. Through a partnership with...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      04/15/20

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...

BY: Marisa Paipongna      04/13/20

Weekly Media Roundup, April 8, 2020

With Coronavirus Shuttering Its After-School Program, South Reading Youth Initiative Sends Help to Students' Homes, Reading Eagle (Pennsylvania) At the South Reading Youth Initiative afterschool program in Reading, Pennsylvania, about 100 first and second grade school students receive...

BY: Magen Eissenstat      04/08/20