October Monthly VISTA Round-up

Calendar Reminders!

 

When
Event Location
Friday, October 24
9 – 10:30 am
End of Year Training for November 2013 VISTAs Hartford Coffee Co., 3974 Hartford St., 63116

Upcoming Dates!

When
Event Location
Friday, November 14
9 – 10:30 am
Bulding Rapport with Rebeccah Bennett, Emerging Wisdom, LLC Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester Ave., 63110
CANCELLED
   Lunch and Learn at SLU Nutritional Services (Foodcorps) 3437 Caroline St., 63104

 

VISTA Bulletin Board!

 

From Theresa James | VISTA Outreach Coordinator | Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter

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     In honor of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in November, the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter is hosting a series of education “happy hours.” We are bringing in top researchers to provide information on cutting edge approaches to early detection and experts in care to provide insight to how we can best support folks living with Alzheimer’s today.

     For VISTAs simply interested in the topic or those of us interested in issues impacting seniors in our communities – I think this would be a great opportunity. Its $10. However, I’m sure that we can waive fees for such dedicated service members to getting things done.

     We have six education events total, but I think VISTAs may particularly enjoy the series occurring in St. Louis at the Hilton Frontenac.  Please RSVP to me at thjames@alz.org. For more event information, visit here.

Theresa

 

“A Visit to the Numerous ‘Fiefdoms’ of St. Louis County”

by Scott Shackford

     If you read only one more analysis of the state of government and policing in the St. Louis area today (besides this blog post) make it former Reason editor Radley Balko’s lengthy look today over at The Washington Post.
     Before delving into some of Balko’s observations, a somewhat relevant disclosure: I lived for nearly a decade in St. Louis County during my college years and I have family who still live there. I haven’t written much about St. Louis from a first-person perspective in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting for the same reason I haven’t written about Sanford, Florida, where I went to middle and high school, from a first-person perspective: Despite all my time there as a lower-middle-class white guy, I never ran in the same circles as my minority peers in these compartmentalized communities. I can’t even claim to extrapolate the kinds of things they went through. I don’t believe I ever even set foot in Ferguson during my entire time there.
     And that is partly what Balko’s piece, focusing on how communities in St. Louis County are balancing their books on the backs of their poor residents, is about. St. Louis is a compartmentalized-almost Balkanized-community. It’s segregated not just by race, but by class and a whole host of other signifiers. Googling “Where did you go to high school?” is a good way to understand the odd ways in which St. Louis’ culture manifests. I had a friend who spent most of his life in St. Louis County and had been downtown fewer times than I had been. The sports teams, toasted ravioli, and really bad pizza are all that unite the city.
Read the full article here.

 Perkins Loans and VISTA

 
If you are a VISTA with federal Perkins loans, you can get up to 15 percent of your original federal Perkins loan amount forgiven after completing a full-time term of VISTA service. To take advantage of this, you need to elect NOT to receive the education award; instead you can choose the end-of-service cash stipend. (Keep in mind you would need an original balance of more than $35,000 in Perkins loans for the forgiveness to total an amount greater than the education award.)
     You can get an additional 15 percent of your Perkins loan canceled if you serve a second year as a VISTA, and up to 70 percent of your Perkins loans canceled if you serve in the Peace Corps along with two years of VISTA service.
     If you elect to receive the end-of-service cash stipend, you will NOT be able to put your Perkins and other student loans into the standard national service forbearance. Often VISTAs in this scenario will place their loans into a hardship deferment. Finaid.org has an Economic Hardship Deferment Calculator to help you learn more about this program.
     With most Perkins loans, the interest that accumulates during your hardship deferment will be paid off by the U.S. Department of Education when your deferment ends. This policy may differ if your Perkins loans were issued by a state agency. In effect a hardship deferment is as valuable as the traditional national service forbearance.
     You cannot apply Perkins loans to the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program.

VISTA Spotlight!

Gayla Carr

 
Service and Outreach Coordinator VISTA
Saint Louis University Center for Service and Community Engagement  
     If you haven’t met her, please say hello to Gayla Carr. This November 2013 VISTA is a native of Clinton, NC that came to Saint Louis after a stint in Changhua, Taiwan as an ESL Teacher.
     Gayla is serving at Saint Louis University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement as the Service and Outreach Coordinator VISTA. Her duties include connecting residential and academic learning communities to service, coordinating the Bright Idea Grants program, advising Greek Life on service and mission trips, advising SLU Dance Marathon, teaching iLEAD and coordinating large one-time day of service events. Currently, she is planning “Make A Difference Day,” the largest National Day of Service, connecting nearly 4,000 SLU students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents to over 150 community partners.
     Coming from a small town in southeast North Carolina, first and foremost, Gayla learned “that rural poverty looks very different from urban poverty. It strikes me how somehow poverty and privilege became silent neighbors, and the world kept going. Here in Saint Louis, however, people are not silent and it is inspiring. In Saint Louis, I have been surrounded by groups of committed individuals that have the power to create change in the world. My VISTA year has also helped me to grow as an individual and strengthen my professional skills. I now have a better understanding of how I am making a difference as an individual.”
     Theodore Roosevelt provides her favorite quote, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.” In her spare time Gayla likes to explore all the great free activities St. Louis has to offer, travel, read, hang out with her VISTA friends and binge watch Netflix. After her VISTA service Gayla’s plan is to find a nonprofit job in development, preferably in the Chicago area.
     Check out Gayla with a group of Greek Life students on a mission trip to the Appalachian Mountains over spring break, sitting on a porch they built for a family!

“How Millennials Are Reshaping Charity 

And Online Giving”

 by Elise Hu

This story is part of the New Boom series on millennials in America.
     Millennials are spending – and giving away their cash – a lot differently than previous generations, and that’s changing the game for giving, and for the charities that depend on it. Scott Harrison’s group, Charity: Water, is a prime example. Harrison’s story starts in New York’s hottest nightclubs, promoting the proverbial “models and bottles.”
     “At 28 years old, I realized my legacy was going to be just that. Here lies a guy who got people wasted,” Harrison says.
So he changed his story. Harrison volunteered to spend the next two years in West Africa. What he found when he first got to Liberia was a drinking water crisis. He watched 7-year-olds drink regularly from chocolate-colored swamps – water, he says, that he wouldn’t let his dog drink. Most childhood diseases in the developing countries he visited could be traced to unsafe drinking water, so everything changed for Harrison. He got inspired to start raising money for clean water when he returned to the states, but his friends were wary.
     “They all said, ‘I don’t trust charities. I don’t give. I believe these charities are just these black holes. I don’t even know how much money would actually go to the people who I’m trying to help,’ ” Harrison recalls.
     So his one cause became two: He started Charity: Water to dig wells to bring clean drinking water to the nearly 800 million people without access to it around the globe. But he also wanted to set an example with the way the organization did its work. “We’re also really trying to reinvent charity, reinvent the way people think about giving, the way that they give,” he says.
     Demographic change is a huge reason for rethinking this. With around 80 million millennials coming of age, knowing how they spend their cash on causes is going to be critical for nonprofits. And their spending patterns aren’t the same as their parents.
     “Our culture is changing pretty dramatically,” says Amy Webb, who forecasts digital trends for nonprofit and for-profit companies. “That sense of ‘I need to give out of obligation’ – I don’t know that it’s going to be around 20 years from now.” One piece of advice she gives on appealing to younger donors? Don’t even ask them to “donate,” because younger donors want to feel more invested in a cause. Choose a different word, with a different connotation: investment.
“It may seem something simple. It’s just semantics: donation vs. investment. But I think to a millennial, who’s grown up in a very different world, one that’s more participatory because of the digital tools that we have, to them they want to feel like they’re making an investment. Not just that they’re investing their capital, but they’re investing emotionally,” Webb says.
Read the full article here.

 

October Bi-weekly VISTA Round-up

Calendar Reminders!

When
Event Location
Friday, October 10
9-10:30 am
 Community Organizing with Nancy Thompson, SLACO Executive Director
Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester Ave., 63110
Wednesday, October 15
11:30 am -12:30 pm
Lunch and Learn at Southside Early Childhood Center Southside ECC
2101 S. Jefferson Ave., 63104
Friday, October 24
9-10:30 am
End of Year Training for November 2013 VISTAs Hartford Coffee Co., 3974 Hartford St., 63116

 

Upcoming Dates

When
Event Location
Friday, November 14
9 – 10:30 am
Building Rapport with Rebeccah Bennett, Emerging Wisdom, LLC Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester Ave., 63110
Wednesday, November 19
noon – 1 pm
Lunch and Learn at SLU Nutritional Services (FoodCorps) 3437 Caroline St., 63104

 

Volunteer Appeal!

From: Christina Abood, Organizational Development Coordinator
Gene Slay’s Boys Club
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Good morning VISTA’s!

Is anyone going to Oktoberfest this upcoming weekend in Soulard? If not, you should! AND you should volunteer for the Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club beer booth! You will get in FREE and get to enjoy the festival afterwards! All you have to do is help serve beer! The spots we need volunteers for are the following:

October 10th
Shift 1 (3:00 PM – 7:30 PM)
Shift 2 (7:30 PM – 12:30 AM)

October 11th
Shift 1 (10:00 AM – 2:30 PM) – this is the least important shift to fill
Shift 2 (2:30 PM – 7:00 PM)
Shift 3 (7:00 PM – 12:30 AM)

October 12th
Shift 1 (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)
Shift 2 (2:00 PM – 6:00 PM)

This is an opportunity for you to really enjoy yourself and help out some amazing kiddos. Please email me back at cabood@gsbcstl.org or email jkane@gsbcstl.org to sign up or if you have any questions! Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity!

Have a great day everyone!

Christina Abood
(314) 655-9764

September Monthly VISTA Round-up

Calendar Reminders!

When
Event Location
Friday, October 10
9-10:30 am
 Community Organizing with Nancy Thompson, SLACO Executive Director
Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester Ave., 63110
Wednesday, October 15
11:30 am -12:30 pm
Lunch and Learn at Southside Early Childhood Center Southside EEC
2101 S. Jefferson Ave., 63104
Friday, October 24
9-10:30 am
End of Year Training for November 2013 VISTAs Hartford Coffee Co., 3974 Hartford St., 63116

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Mark Your Calendars!

You are invited to SLACO Regional Neighborhood Conference
Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM (CDT)
Clay Early Childhood Center
Harris-Stowe State University
3026 Laclede Ave.
Saint Louis, MO 63103
**There will be a discount given to VISTAs that attend. Please RSVP to Katie for more details. 

The annual Regional Neighborhood Conference is the premier networking and learning environment for neighborhood leaders and activitists in the St. Louis metro area. Those who attend will find ample time for meeting new people and learning about great ideas that can inspire a better neighborhood outcome. Participants will choose three workshops from among six tracks, including one series that…(check out the event website here).
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VISTA Spotlight

Laura Caldie

EarthDance Farms

Meet Laura Caldie. She hails from Southern Indiana and prior to beginning her VISTA year in November was living in Bloomington, IN. It was a happening college town that attracted her to its robust local food and sustainability scene after her college graduation. She is the Apprenticeship and CSA Coordinator at EarthDance FARMS, which allows her the opportunity to expose people to the importance of eating, buying and growing local organic produce. Her role is largely in administrative programming, with plenty of opportunities to dabble in event planning, volunteer leading, marketing, public speaking and community outreach.
Laura’s favorite thing about working at EarthDance is the energetic work culture and constantly learning more about sustainable agriculture, not to mention the invaluable skills gained by wearing several hats at a small non-profit. It has confirmed her desire to work in good food advocacy and shown her that re-examining how we feed ourselves is the best way to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

Activities that she enjoys in her free time include cooking, cycling, reading non-fiction, sewing, singing, camping, going to punk shows, planting, DIY crafting, making movies, dancing and general adventuring about. While Laura doesn’t have any firm post-Americorps plans, she is hoping her future will include a small town in the mountains toward the East coast. She is absolutely going to keep working in this field and may explore freelance videography, as well.

A quote by Brenda Schoepp that Laura feels brings home the gravity of why we need to create a more just food system is, “Once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”

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“Silent crisis: 1 in 5 American kids is poor”

By John D. Sutter, CNN
 
Editor’s note: John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion and creator of CNN’s Change the List project. Follow him on TwitterFacebook or Instagram. E-mail him at ctl@cnn.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)
 — I know, I know, I know. There’s enough bad news in the world. You don’t want to hear any more of it from me. But #sorrynotsorry. I’m here to bombard you with another catastrophe that isn’t making headlines like Ebola and ISIS: the astounding rate of child poverty in the richest country in the world.

Don’t get too panicked, though, because this is a crisis with tangible solutions. Twenty percent of American kids live in poverty, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau, which considers a family of four living on less than $23,624 to be poor. The United States actually has the second-highest rate of child poverty in the rich world, according to a 2013 report from UNICEF. Only Romania fares worse.

But after chatting Tuesday morning with Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which publishes the helpful Kids Count reports on child poverty and funds solutions, I’m left with the sense that this is a slow-drip crisis that can be stopped. [read the full article here.]

September Bi-weekly VISTA Round-up

Calendar Reminders!

When
Event Location
Friday, September 12
9 – 10:30 am
  Volunteer Management with Rick Skinner, VP – United Way of Greater St. Louis Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester, 63110
Friday, September 12
6:15 pm
9/11 Day of Service with The Green Team from The St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium Employee Entrance
404 S. 8th St., 63102

Happenings!

StL Service Alliance

On September 4, The St. Louis Service Alliance Network hosted a happy hour for current AmeriCorps, Teach for America, City Year, VISTA members and alumni at Alpha Brewing Company. Check out all the fun the more than 40 attendees had celebrating service.

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Mark Your Calendar!

Come join St. Vincent Greenway Inc. for its 3rd Annual Jazz on the Greenway event on Saturday, September 13, 2014 (12 – 4 pm) in Ruth Porter Park. There will be live musical and dance performances, bike workshops, kid’s activities, and a farmer’s market. See event details on the following flyer:  Jazz on the Greenway

August Monthly VISTA Round-up

Calendar!

When
Event Location
Friday, August 29
9 – 10:30 am
OSOT for August VISTAs Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester, 63110
Friday, September 12
9 – 10:30 am
Volunteer Management with Rick Skinner, VP – United Way of Greater St. Louis Mission: St. Louis
4366 Manchester, 63110
Friday, September 12
6:15 pm
9/11 Day of Service with The Green Team from The St. Louis Cardinals
Busch Stadium Employee Entrance
404 S. 8th St., 63102
Wednesday, September 17
noon
Lunch and Learn at St. Louis Area Agency on Aging [SLAAA] 1520 Market St., Room 4086, 63103

 

September 12 – An Exciting Day to Be a VISTA

Hi VISTAs,
We have a big day planned for you on Friday, September 12, 2014. The Corporation for National and Community Service has several events that they would like accomplished in September and in order to be mindful of your busy schedules we are going to knock everything out in one day.
To kick off the day please meet at Mission: St. Louis (4366 Manchester Ave. 63110) for your monthly training. This month we will discuss “Volunteer Management” with Rick Skinner, Vice President of Volunteering from the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
Immediately after the training we will retake The Oath of Service to help celebrate the 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps. http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps20#pledge-anchor.
That evening, in order to have a service event for the “9-11 Day of Service” you are all invited to volunteer on The Green Team for the St. Louis Cardinals. You’ll get into the game that evening for free and are asked to walk up and down the aisles in between innings collecting recycling from the fans. It should be a great combination of fun and service!
Next Wednesday, a follow up email will be sent out providing further details for the day.
Your VISTA Cruise Director,
Katie Bench
StL Service Alliance
The St. Louis Service Alliance Network will be hosting a happy hour for current AmeriCorps, Teach for America, City Year, VISTA members and alumni at Alpha Brewing Company.
We would love to see all of you on Thursday, September 4th for food, drinks and an opportunity to meet others involved in service.
Join the Facebook Event for more information.
When:   September 4, 5 – 7 pm
Summary:  Join us for $3 Red Ales, 1/2 price growlers and free food.

Free Services

The clinical staffs of University of Missouri – St. Louis’ Center for Trauma Recovery and Community Psychological Service have offered free trauma and counseling services to those affected by recent events in Ferguson.  Community Psychological Service also will be working with the Association of Black Psychologists to offer free psychological first-aid/crisis intervention to the Ferguson community. Please take advantage of this service as you deem necessary and share the information with friends and family members who may be in need of this type of assistance. Call (314) 516-5824 to arrange an appointment.

VISTA Bulletin Board!

From Gayla Carr, Service and Community Outreach Coordinator VISTA – Saint Louis University, Center for Service and Community Engagement
——————–
Hi Katie!
I was hoping you could pass this information along to our umbrella. We want to make this year’s “Make A Difference Day” on October 25 the largest one yet, so we are hoping to have more sites. VISTAs can pass this information along to whoever needs to see it at their agency. If a VISTA agency is not interested in participating as a service site, they are still more than welcome to participate in this national day of service as a volunteer.
Here is an overview of the day:
Hello Community Partners,
It is that time of year again, where Saint Louis University and the Center for Service and Community Engagement begin to plan for “Make A Difference Day.” You are receiving this email because you have either participated as a project site in the past, or because you have indicated interest in participating as a project site this year.
Thank you for your interest in participating. SLU’s “Make A Difference Day” is a national day to celebrate service and bring our community together. Last year, almost 3,600 SLU students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents assisted at more than 140 non-profits, schools, churches, and homes. Attached you will find the project form. If you remain interested in participating in “Make A Difference Day,” please fill out the form and tell us a little more about the project that our students will be engaging in with you this year.
If possible, please return the form no later than Friday, August 29th to carrgc@slu.edu or fax it to (314) 977-4449. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, as I am serving as chair of the “Make A Difference Day” committee this year.
We look forward to working with you!
Gayla Carr

Career Insights!

   with 

Catherine Nkonge, MSW, MEd, PLPC
Hazina Counseling

Catherine Nkonge
As an introduction to our new VISTAs and a re-introduction to our veteran VISTAs, Catherine Nkonge is a Career Counselor that helps provide advice to our members via a monthly feature.
What’s on Your Mind?

In the last article I talked about the importance of knowing what criteria the interviewer is using to evaluate the interviewee. When the interviewee has a good understanding of what this is, they will be more effective in aiming at the target.

I have written several articles so far with the goal of addressing various issues pertaining to career development concerns you may have. I am not sure if I am effectively aiming at the target: Your career development needs and concerns.
So I am requesting you to take two to three minutes to email me specific questions you may have pertaining to your career or career related concerns. This can include a topic you might be interested in. I want to be more relevant in addressing what matters to you. I will respond to your question individually and to address the larger audience.
Email your questions to nkongek@hazinacounseling.com.
I look forward to hearing from some of you. If interested, please contact me for individual consultation.
 
“Passion, Excellence, Experience and Insight for Your Career Aspirations”

VISTA Spotlight!

   Monica Zawicki

Mission: St. Louis Marketing and PR VISTA

DSC04615
Meet Monica Zawicki, a second year VISTA from Wheaton, IL. Monica spent her first year as a VISTA at the Northern Illinois Food bank in Geneva, IL.  Monica came on in July 2014 as the Marketing and PR VISTA at Mission: St. Louis, where as part of the Communications team she manages social media, e-mail marketing, gathering and telling stories and all around communication needs of their programs. Two invaluable things she has learned during her service include a deeper understanding of poverty and how to work effectively in a non-profit. She hopes this year will bring greater knowledge about how non- profits can leverage social media to engage and mobilize communities. Monica is enjoying St. Louis and understands there is lots to do to build up the city, but appreciates the connectivity of its non-profit community.
Monica spends her free time laughing with friends and going on adventures. She makes sure to always keep her creative juices flowing, like her current crochet project of granny squares (her second). Monica’s favorite quote is from Carl Sagan, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”

August Bi-weekly Round-up

Mark Your Calendar!

 

When

Event

Location

Fri., Aug. 1,9-10:30am On-site Orientation and training [OSOT] for July VISTAs St. Louis University Center for Global Citizenship, Seminar Room
Wed., Aug 20,noon Lunch and Learn at Connections to Success  3000 Little Hills Expressway, Ste. 102 St. Charles 63301
Fri., Aug. 29,9-10:30am OSOT for August VISTAs Mission: St. Louis 4366 Manchester, 63110