Want to change the world? Apply to be a VISTA!

Become a VISTA member!
The Plantory, a Connected Community Fighting Poverty, is a project designed to support the sustainable growth and collaboration of organizations from different nonprofit sectors that are working to fight the causes and effects of poverty in Lexington, KY. In year one, we placed 14 AmeriCorps VISTA members with agencies around Lexington, KY. Those members committed a year of full-time service to support the growth and development of their host agency. They worked together to improve food access, housing, education, and economic development opportunities on a micro and macro level in Lexington. We are about halfway through the year, and the VISTA members and their sites have accomplished so much! Because of the success, we will be expanding this program in the coming year, and providing 21 AmeriCorps VISTA members. Ultimately, we hope that this project will result in robust interagency relationships and foster cross-sector collaboration so that we have a stronger, more unified and multifaceted approach to fighting poverty. What is VISTA? Americorps VISTA is a long-term volunteer program dedicated to fighting poverty in the U.S. Members dedicate a year of their life to build capacity at an organization and fight poverty in their community. VISTA members generally do not provide direct services, but instead focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities. VISTAs develop programs to meet a need, write grants, and recruit and train volunteers. What is our VISTA program doing? We currently have VISTA members placed at 14 organizations in Lexington. Our VISTAs are helping efforts toward housing/homelessness, improving education, fighting food insecurity, and contributing to the overall economic development of low-income communities. Our VISTA members have helped their organizations raise over $500,000, recruited over 100 new volunteers, and helped their organizations grow their partnerships in the community. VISTA member selections must be made by May 6, and our VISTAs will be starting on June 13. Please start thinking about potential VISTA members as soon as possible. We are available to help with the recruitment process. Click below to learn more about our open positions, or scroll to the bottom of the page to learn about our agencies and the work the members have been doing!

Contact The Plantory and ask for Krystal to get more info!

The Plantory VISTA Leader - FILLED
Bluegrass Green Source
Summary: The goal of this position is to implement an energy efficiency education program for low income residents throughout Lexington. Responsibilities: 1. Develop working relationships with other area nonprofit organizations who provide energy and/or housing cost assistance, and /or utility companies to identify individuals
who would benefit from in-depth energy conservation education. 2. Plan and promote a series of environmental workshops. 3. Plan and promote a two day teacher professional development workshop on energy. 4. Design a PR packet for use in presentations to civic organizations, neighborhood associations, and community leaders. 5. Plan and promote Bluegrass Greensource’s annual GreenFest event. 6. Create energy efficiency materials for distribution at community events. 7. Work with the Live Green Lexington Program. 8. Contribute to newsletters and the maintenance of Bluegrass Greensource’s website. 9. Assist with marketing Bluegrass Greensource/VISTA partnership by attending, speaking, and setting up displays at outreach events. MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS 1. 18 years of age 2. Bachelors Degree in related field 3. Driver’s License and dependable transportation 4. Pay attention to details 5. Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing 6. Ability to maintain records and prepare reports 7. Ability to meet deadlines 8. Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with Board members, employees, and all program participants Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferred
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Lexington
Through the power of volunteer advocacy, CASA of Lexington works to ensure that all victims of child abuse and neglect are given a chance to thrive in a safe, permanent home. CASA's trained and supervised volunteers provide an independent voice for children, one child at a time, by speaking for their best interests in the family court system. Responsibilities: 1. Assist in the planning, development and implementation of special event planning, fundraising and other development and outreach activities. 2. Assist with newsletter production. 3. Assist with researching and applying for grants and grant monitoring and reporting. 4. Assist with recruiting new volunteer advocates. 5. Assist in volunteer appreciation events. 6. Assist with presentations on CASA and development of new outreach materials. 7. Assist with general administrative duties such as copying, mailing, drafting letters, data entry, document production, maintaining spreadsheets, making deposits, etc. 8. Assist with the maintenance and organization of volunteer, staff, board member and general files. 9. Assist with entering volunteer, children and court information and statistical information into database system. Qualifications of VISTA Development Specialist position: Bachelors level degree or equivalent work experience required. Experience administratively, with special events and/or development activities preferred. Education and Experience:
 Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferred
E7 Center
The combined programs of E7 kids cafe and Our World in pictures is fighting together to combat the negative effects of poverty by providing direct social services and opportunity for substantial and lasting improvement in quality if life. Responsibilities: 1. Recruit, train and maintain volunteers at the tutoring program at WWB Elementary. Activities
 Recruit volunteers from Universities, civic groups, churches and community groups to engage with the children at the tutoring program at WWB elementary school.
 Create a system for coordinating volunteers and tutoring activities.
 Find a computer based software to log volunteers hours and send reminders. 2. Assist in building connections and setting up a fundraising plan for the
year. Activities
 Meet with key staff and board to plan out seasonal events for year.
 Build partnerships with local and cooperate businesses and organizations to assist in sponsoring events.
 Build a plan of action for the campaign/event.
 Recruit volunteers, manage implementation of the plan revise, and troubleshoot throughout the event. 3. Planning a secondary tutoring program on site, for Harrison Elementary School. Activities organization. Personal Qualifications: Responsible, organized, energetic, motivated, able to multi-task, engages with community partners well, driving passion to help decrease the negative effects of poverty and improve the quality of life for the people in the surrounding community. Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferred
Independence Place
Independence Place strives to be a vibrant and active advocate for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. Our core values include integrity, voice, and choice. These ideals encompass every aspect of our work. IP associates are held to the highest of standards in service delivery which in turn provides consumers with the greatest supports and advocacy in the state. Responsibilities: 1. Become familiar with the independent living movement, and the history of disability advocacy and policy in the US. 2. Create and maintain social media campaigns for grant programs, services and supports. This task also includes presenting at events and creating awareness for IP’s programs and supports to the community. 3. Maintain website information and donation software to track effectiveness. 4. Create and research potential funding sources including grants, fundraisers, and events that promote public relations with the community, as well as develop relationships with corporate sponsors. 5. Aide in creating one community event each month that provides awareness and opportunities for potential consumers to learn about IP and its mission. This includes educational programs, awareness activities, and public information distribution. 6. Work with Executive Director on advocacy that aides in fund development at the state level. 7. Perform all other reasonable and lawful
organization. Personal Qualifications: 
Responsible, organized, energetic, motivated, able to multi-task, engages with community partners well, driving passion to help decrease the negative effects of poverty and improve the quality of life for the people in the surrounding community. Education and Experience: VISTA members must meet the qualifications of the VISTA program. Experience working with people with disabilities, and knowledge of the work world are preferred. Ability to work as an effective team player is essential
Kentucky Student Environmental Action Coalition
The Kentucky Student Environmental Coalition (KSEC) is a network of students, student groups and young people across Kentucky who are collectively working towards environmental and social justice. This position will work with the KSEC State Organizer, volunteers, interns, and coalition partners to increase our organizational capacity, reach new audience, increase communication and webb ased interaction and increase the financial stability of the organization Responsibilities: 1. Identify and secure new grant commitments 2. Help to build and strengthen relationships with donors 3. Plan and implement grassroots fundraisers 4. Participate in community outreach and identifying new communities to engage 5. Codevelop and implement a strategic communication plan including working with various forms of media, managing social media and developing content for newsletters and blog posts. Requirements: 1. Full-time availability 2. Flexible hours including some weekends and evenings 3. Ability to do some one day travel 4. Regular communication with manager through weekly planning calls, meetings and reporting. 5. Commitment to social justice and antioppression
KVC Behavioral Health Care KY
This position is responsible for developing a plan for engaging community volunteers. Responsibilities: 1. Develop strategic relationships with groups or organizations that are required to do volunteer service. 2. Develop Volunteer Training Program. 3. Develop at least one organizational opportunity for volunteers. 4. Research and attend local events to learn about the work of other community organizations. 5. Create opportunities for collaboration with community organizations. 6. Plan meetings with community organizations to brainstorm collaboration opportunities. 7. Implement at least one activity with a community partner during the year. 8. Utilize community partnerships to plan a group focused on non-behavioral health needs of KVC Consumers. 9. Engage community in providing support for groups through fundraising event and/or grant opportunity. 10. Implement at least one group activity with consumers. Requirements: 
To perform this role successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Additional qualifications include:
 The ability to work independently within a team context.
Lexington Global Engagement
Lexington Global Engagement is a multilingual, multidisciplinary center where local residents and our growing foreign-born population celebrate cultural events, share an art gallery and befriend one another. Our center’s bilingual staff and interns assist businesses, researchers, care providers, emergency management and workforce developers to do effective outreach, to network, and to address the lack of urgently needed professional interpreters. Responsibilities: 1. Assist with development of curricula for new and ongoing programming, assist with surveys, data collection and reporting. 2. Conduct necessary research to support grant development for federal and state funds for programs. 3. Assist with applying for grant funding, monitoring, and reporting. 4. Assist with identifying, coordinating, and training committed, long-term community volunteers and advocates. 5. Assist with presentations about GLOBAL LEX including collection and dissemination of data reflecting the number of English Language Learners, number of languages spoken in Lexington, and accurate numbers of immigrant households. 6. Assist with the development of new outreach materials. 7. Assist with general administrative duties such as copying, mailing, drafting letters, data entry, document production, maintaining spreadsheets, etc. 8. Assist with the maintenance and organization of files and provide organizational support for the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission and committees including preparing agendas, minutes, etc. Education and Experience: Bachelors level degree or equivalent work experience required. Administrative experience especially in the public or non-profit sector preferred, as well as some knowledge and experience with grant writing and volunteer coordination. Bilingual/Multilingual applicants preferred.
Lexington Rescue Mission
Our vision is to restore hope and rebuild broken lives, which we do by building relationships with people, teaching skills, and providing guidance and support that will help them to develop their full potential. Responsibilities: 1. The AmeriCorps VISTA member will increase membership in the Mission Ambassador network by 30%, to have 75% of members actively engaged in their Ambassador role, and to raise $10,000 to support the work of the Lexington Rescue Mission. 2. The VISTA will do this by reaching out to groups that have donated in the past but do not have a personal relationship with us, following up with supporters who attend tours or special events, and attending church mission fairs, community fairs, and school fairs. Education and Experience: Bachelors level degree or equivalent work experience required. Administrative experience especially in the public or non-profit sector preferred, as well as some knowledge and experience with grant writing and volunteer coordination. Bilingual/Multilingual applicants preferred.
LFUCG Office Of Homelessness
The office provides planning, coordination, advocacy, and awareness about the changing needs of services for people experiencing homelessness in Lexington. Responsibilities: Complete development and deployment of OneDoorKy Coordinated Entry system for housing and homelessness in Lexington-Fayette, KY. Collaborate with providers/stakeholders to write publish processes and procedures for operation of coordinated entry. Develop and ensure incorporation of necessary intake questions and forms for coordinated entry into the Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS). Train providers and stakeholders on following coordinated entry processes and procedures. Develop and deploy processes for evaluation and continuous improvement of the OneDoorKy Coordinated evaluation and continuous improvement of the OneDoorKy Coordinated Entry system for housing and homelessness in Lexington-Fayette, Ky. Implement feedback loop system for review and feedback from OneDoorKy providers, participants and stakeholders to receive data and comment on effectiveness.
Use objective data and subjective feedback to evaluate and adjust the OneDoorKy system including technical, intake, referral, and other systemic changes. Ensure implementation of permanent process for continuous improvement that results in ongoing use, evaluation, and improvement of the OneDoorKy Coordinated Entry system in Lexington-Fayette, KY. End veterans' homelessness in Lexington-Fayette, Ky., by January 1, 2016.
Join with local workgroup to develop and implement system for identifying and tracking homeless veterans in Lexington. Implement process for coordinated intake and assessment of veterans and referral/placement with appropriate permanent housing program. Personal Qualifications:
Responsible, organized, energetic, motivated, able to multi-task, engages with community partners well, driving passion to help erase homelessness for the communities of Lexington. Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferre
Life Adventure Center
Life Adventure Center programs transform lives by enhancing growth, improving communication, and building resiliency for both individuals and groups, especially underserved youth through professionally supervised outdoor group challenges and shared reflection opportunities. Life Adventure Center engages, educates, and empowers our community to build respect, responsibility, and self-esteem through teamwork, communication, and environmental stewardship using hands-on learning in a natural setting. We fulfill this mission through our four main programs: Challenge Course, Equestrian, Environmental Education, & Outdoor Adventure. Each program, though vastly different from each other, all teach the same lessons echoed in our mission statement; they simply use different tools. Responsibilities: 1.The VISTA member will work toward the development of print collateral (such as an annual report with graphics, brochures, etc.), assist managing our social media, as well shoot, edit, and publish videos of our various programs. 2. The VISTA will also assist with the completion and population of a major website redesign project.
Mental Health Association Of Kentucky
Mental Health America of Kentucky (MHA-KY) is in need of a VISTA to assist in all aspects of the management and development of our organization. Duties will vary from day-to-day and throughout the year. However, the primary focus for the year will revolve around four areas. Responsibilities: 1. Fundraising. a. Conduct preliminary research on prospective corporate foundation and individual donors
 Coordinate productions and mailing of spring and year-end appeal letters.
 Develop and maintain media contact lists b. Develop strategies to encourage new or increased contributions
 Recruit sponsors, participants, or volunteers for fundraising events
 Update donor databases
 Design or produce materials such as posters, Web sites, or newsletters to promote, market, or advertise fundraising events and 65th anniversary of MHA-KY 2. Community Outreach and Public Relations:
 In coordination with MHA-KY, create a strategic outreach plan
 Responsible for coordinating presentations to various community groups.
 Proactively build and maintain positive relationships with local referral sources and organizations within the community.
 Identify opportunities for enhancing MHA-KY community relations
. Development of marketing materials on stigma, recovery and mental
illness 3. Free Clinic:
 Maintains operations of clinic.
 Informs MHA-KY of any issues with patients, staff or physicians that are beyond their comfort level or are questionable.
 Input/maintains physician schedules
. Personal Qualifications: 
Organized, responsible, able to manage multiple task once, engages with community members well, has a driving passion to serve the surrounding community.
New Life Day Center
The New Life Day Center is a one-stop daytime alternative to the streets where persons affected by extreme poverty and homelessness can seek help and refuge.The services of the New Life Day Center directly address the barriers of housing, shelter, jobs, transportation, substance abuse, and mental health care identified in the University of Kentucky 2013 Social Services Needs Assessment. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 - 4:00 pm and relies on volunteer staffing.
Opportunity Workshop of Lexington
OWL provides a variety of services that assist individuals in overcoming barriers, such as mental and physical disabilities or prior incarceration, to achieve their vocational and personal goals. This most often is done through OWL’s focus on employment. We offer hands-on skills training, skills certifications, paid on-site work experience, life skills coaching, vocational assessments, job coaching, job readiness classes, job placement, and more. Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Marketing CSC program to other agencies, businesses, and other potential referral sources
. Maintain training curriculum for CSC program; assist with the development of the training curriculum for other customer service operation centers
 Determine appropriate and varied instructional methods to ensure understanding of materials by all types of adult learners
. Acquire or produce all training materials, including handouts, manuals, DVDs and PowerPoint presentations and related equipment
. Train all new and current customer service trainees in eligible status
 Coordinate needs-analysis activities to determine customer service skill and knowledge requirements. Work with departmental management to create individual training plans for all customer service trainees and report their progress
. Coordinate training conducted by other staff members to ensure consistency, accuracy and thoroughness
. Develop and conduct tests to measure trainee progress and to evaluate training effectiveness
. May be required to support or perform internal audits.
The Plantory
The Plantory hosts an innovative and energizing coworking hub that fosters collaboration and nurtures growth for positive, passionate, and community-minded businesses and nonprofit organizations. We are seeking a VISTA member to support our growth through fundraising, marketing, and organizational development. Responsibilities: 1. Support fundraising efforts. Develop a donor database and outreach systems. Develop a donor relationship system. Identify new donors. Support fundraising through events and programming. Develop and execute a campaign strategy for the Good Giving Guide Challenge. Work with the grants committee to identify, write, and submit grant proposals. 2. Support marketing efforts. Help with programming outreach. Engage with potential new members. Table at community events. Develop and manage a social media calendar. 3. Support member organizations in growing their infrastructure and sustainability. Develop organizational policies, work with our team to develop strategic plans, support other organization's fundraising, and assist in their capacity-building efforts.
The Race for Education
Through academic development programs, tutoring, internships, financial literacy training and scholarships, the Race For Education provides opportunities for educational success for young people with significant financial need and academic challenges, with the ultimate goal of making sure students are successful in life and become an asset to their community. Goal: Increase access and awareness to programs for low income students and their families for academic success 1. Work with schools to identify eligible students and get them enrolled in the Starting Gate afterschool literacy program. 2. Compile and track monthly data on enrolled Starting Gate students and their families. 3. Identify barriers to participation. 4. Prepare materials to be distributed to families (newsletters, field trip information
5. and family engagement opportunities). 5. Work with students and introduce families to the Individual Learning Plan Goal: Assess capacity assets and needs and engage stakeholders on development 1. Enhance and expand community partnerships. 2. Plan and assist in the execution of family engagement activities. 3. Plan and assist activities around national holidays. 4. Research and write grants that will benefit the students and families served. 5. Solicit and generate in-kind and cash resources. 6. Plan, assist and partner in fundraising activities
Increase awareness and support of the program from schools, libraries and other local educational agencies General support: 1. Research and draft letters. 2. Develop a newsletter. 3. Participate in educational fairs, open houses and community meetings. 4. Recruit volunteers, including interns, from donor base and local universities.
Radio Eye
Radio Eye is a radio reading service for those who are unable to access the printed word. We broadcast the reading of current newspapers, magazines, health materials, grocery ads, and much more, offering greater independent living to people who are blind, visually impaired, or physically handicapped. RESPONSIBILITIES: Conduct annual listener survey
 Work with current staff to recruit, manage, train, and schedule volunteers in Louisville and Morehead
. Research and contact organizations that serve the visually impaired and/or print disabled community, focusing on Lexington, Louisville, and Morehead. Attend outreach events such as health fairs, and give talks on Radio Eye at meetings of community organizations. QUALIFICATIONS:
 Strong organizational skills, highly motivated, able to multi-task in busy office. Excellent oral and written communication skills.
 Must be able to work with staff and a large pool of volunteers in daily activities. Proficient at Microsoft Office software (especially word).
 Able to learn computer software and broadcasting equipment related to radio programming.
 Associates or Bachelor’s degree preferred, or equivalent work experience.
 Able to empathize with blind & print-disabled persons who need help to access printed materials
ServeLexInc
The Reading Room at the Black and Williams Neighborhood Center is an effort to put books into the hands of children in a low socioeconomic status community in an effort to increase their exposure to and love of good literature, increase literacy skills, and ultimately affect their academic and life-long success. And working to increase access to early childhood education by training parents and in home caregivers to better prepare children for school. With proper training and motivation, parents and caregivers will successfully bridge the gap between home and school, prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond, become advocates for their children, and engage more effectively with the school system once their children matriculate. RESPONSIBILITIES: Developing a training program for volunteers Recruiting and training volunteers from the community
 Managing and evaluating volunteers. Working with BCTC and/or FCPS librarians to develop an organizational and shelving system for the books in the YRR Training volunteers in book organization, including vetting of new inventory Overseeing staffing of the YRR and working in the YRR as needed Develop programming for the YRR
 Promoting the YRR in the Georgetown neighborhood Working with neighborhood stake holders and others on the YRR board to promote the YRR to both volunteers and participants Promoting the YRR to the wider community to encourage donations of high quality Researching and applying for funding through various sources Developing partnerships with community stakeholders Special Qualifications:
Bi-lingual (Spanish and English) would be very helpful.
Seedleaf
Seedleaf exists to increase the amount of affordable, nutritious, sustainable produced food to people at risk of hunger in Lexington, Kentucky. Responsibilities: Recruit volunteers for a variety of tasks. Assist with volunteer training. Document areas of effectiveness and report on these areas to staff and stakeholders. Tell Seedleaf's story. Educate the public about Seedleaf's accomplishments. Create mechanism for project evaluation. Identify potential partnerships with other area organizations and individuals. Use our website and other outlets to post photos and reflections about Seedleaf events. Solicit photos and stories from other volunteers and participants. Cultivate and document pool of testimonials and positive feedback. Educate the public about Seedleaf's accomplishments. Meet with classes, groups, and individuals interested in Seedleaf's work. Spend time tabling and passing out literature at public events. Write press releases to announce milestones and accomplishments. Create mechanism for project evaluation. Research grantors and foundations--determine what these organizations have funded in the past. Compare level of community involvement to programming of other similar organizations. Attend trainings, events, and volunteer opportunities offered by partner organizations. Use social media tools to notify public about trainings, events, and volunteer opportunities offered by partner organizations. Assist Seedleaf staff with building and maintaining these relationships. Identify local grants and foundation funding that may be a source of revenue for Seedleaf's general or programming funds. Personal Qualifications:
Responsible, organized, energetic, motivated, able to multi-task, engages with community partners well, driving passion to help increase food production for less cost for families communities in Lexington. Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferred
South Eastern Medical Interpreters Association
The South Eastern Medical Interpreter Association provides continuing education opportunities and a forum for medical interpreters and translators to exchange ideas and experiences. SEMIA supports medical interpreter training in order to facilitate access to health care and other fundamental services for limited-English proficient and marginalized communities. Responsibilities: 1. Assist in the planning, development, and implementation of special events, fundraising, and other community outreach activities. 2. Assist with newsletter production and association mailing list. 3. Assist with researching and applying for grants, grant monitoring and reporting. 4. Assist with identifying and recruiting new volunteer advocates and training volunteers. 5. Attend and assist with reporting and setup at monthly board meetings. 6. Assist with presentations on SEMIA and development of new outreach materials. 7. Assist with general administrative duties such as copying, mailing, drafting
letters, data entry, document production, maintaining spreadsheets, making deposits, updating webpage and AMO, etc. 8. Assist with the maintenance and organization of tax information and general files. 9. Assist with scheduling bilingual fluency exams for community members wishing to enroll in the Bridging the Gap medical interpreter training certificate program. 10. Accept/manage payments for interpreter trainings and professional development opportunities. 11. Assist with yearly surveys for volunteers, partners, and members. 12. Serve on the planning committee for annual medical interpreter conference. Qualifications of VISTA Language Access Outreach Specialist position: Bachelors level degree or equivalent work experience required. Bilingual/Multilingual applicant preferred. Experience in networking, community building, volunteer outreach, with special events and/or administrative duties preferred.
TWEENS Nutrition and Fitness Coalition
Tweens is designed to ensure that Lexington youth (5-18 years old) have access to healthy choices everywhere with efforts of reducing childhood obesity. Responsibilities: Organize Community Teams to run Fresh Stop Markets Develop Farmer Networks to procure local produce. Coordinate Food Justice Workshops a popular education model of food justice
o support workshop participants to document and share their own food stories Work with Fresh Stop Market Community Teams on Communications, Event Organizing, Skills
Development, and Team Building Document new iterative Fresh Stop Market processes Recruit New Community Team members and Community Partners Implement media strategies to promote Fresh Stop Markets (Design Fliers, Social Media, website, emails REQUIRED SKILLS/ABILITIES Experience as community organizer Ability to coordinate among multiple stakeholders Outstanding interpersonal skills Strong time management skills Ability to receive direction and feedback Organizational skills Passion for local food, community, justice, and health Program assessment Event Planning/Coordination Education and Experience:
Bachelor’s degree and one to three years of related experience is preferred
International Book Project
International Book Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes literacy, education and global friendships by sending over 200,000 books annually to schools, libraries, churches, community organizations and Peace Corps Volunteers throughout the developing world and in the United States. The International Book Project launched the Books as Bridges program in 2007 as a response to the need for higher reading levels and greater cultural awareness in Kentucky. In this program, local classrooms are partnered with overseas partner classrooms, providing a unique opportunity for students to learn about foreign cultures while sharing their own. Just as our founder Harriet Van Meter would have liked, Books as Bridges students develop friendships with their pen-pals and become more excited about writing and learning, especially with assignments related to their international peers. Students are encouraged to act on their compassion and design a project that they can execute themselves, such as writing persuasive letters on behalf of their pen-pals to local businesses for school supply donations or organizing book drives for International Book Project shipments. These service-learning projects benefit both the international recipient and the local classroom by creating an environment for sharing and learning. Responsibilities: The VISTA will be overseeing the Books as Bridges program for International Book Project by facilitating communication with Kentucky teachers and school administrators, organizing domestic classrooms to host book drives and volunteer at International Book Project, and assisting the Executive Director with transitioning management of the program to a future staff member. The VISTA will also be asked to grow our local donation program by maintaining current recurring partnerships with Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Habitat for Humanity, as well as attending outreach events to find more ways that the International Book Project can have a positive impact in the Lexington community. Finally, the VISTA will work with the warehouse manager to streamline sorting and packing processes as the International Book Project undergoes an assessment to evaluate the efficiency of our warehouse operations.  

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VISTA members, 2015
VISTA's 2015
Bluegrass Greensource
Bluegrass Greensource offers a wide range of resources and education to schools, community groups, businesses, local governments and citizens throughout central Kentucky that promote energy efficiency. Bluegrass Greensource’s VISTA member Olivia Oakley is working on implementing an energy efficiency education program for low income residents throughout Lexington. As a VISTA, she is working closely with organizations that offer energy, weatherization, and/or housing assistance to identify gaps in services as well as to target those individuals who would most benefit from in-depth energy education. Olivia Oakley1

       Oliva Oakley

E7 Center/Repairers of the Breach
Repairers of the Breach, Inc. serves as a fiscal agent and governing body for two local grassroots nonprofit projects: E7 Kids Café formerly East Seventh Street Center, and Our World in Pictures. As such, the agency's mission statement is a combination of its two programs: to combat the negative effects of poverty by providing direct social services and opportunity for substantial and lasting improvement in client quality of life. E7 Center/ Repairers of the breach’s VISTA member Tanya Roodhouse is working to further strengthen the infrastructure and sustainability of the E7 Kids Cafe by improving the volunteer training and management system, and working closely with staff to increase effectiveness of programming supported by the volunteers. Tanya Roodhouse is engaging community involvement in program design and implementation, identifying and designing programs to address community needs, using community input, marketing the program to the target population and various publics, maintaining records and data relevant to required reporting and evaluation procedures, developing a monthly report documenting the status of the program for board meetings research and secure grant funding in alignment with mission, goals, and strategic plan, soliciting funds from individual and corporate donors, working on conducting an annual fundraising campaign, coordinating volunteers, and designing and implementing related learning experiences. Tanya Roodhouse

Tanya Roodhouse

LFUCG: Office of Homelessness Prevention
The office provides planning, coordination, advocacy, and awareness about the changing needs of services for people experiencing homelessness in Lexington. The Office of Homelessness Prevention & Intervention has taken the lead in Lexington to improve collaboration and seek new and innovative solutions for homelessness. Along with the creation of this office, the city of Lexington allocated $500,000 in FY2015 and has committed to annual allocations of $750,000 beginning in FY 2016 to support implementation of approaches that seek to prevent and reduce homelessness.

Lexington Fayette County Urban Government’s Office of Homeless Prevention VISTA member is Samantha Chanda is working to support the many ongoing initiatives in the Office of Homelessness Prevention by researching community perspectives, supporting program design, developing program materials, helping with training development for program implementation, supporting evaluation systems, developing partner relationships, and sharing data and outcomes with the community and media.

Samantha Chanda

Samantha Chanda

Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition
Healthy Choices Everywhere is an initiative designed to ensure that Lexington youth (5-18 year olds) have access to healthy choices everywhere they live, learn, and play in order to reduce childhood obesity. Building on the strong foundation the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition has created over the last five years, Healthy Choices Everywhere includes three initiatives. TWEENS VISTA, Maya Price is helping grow partnerships, conducting community research, and educating the community about these programs through events, materials, media relations, and promotional efforts.  

Mya Price

Maya Price

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lexington
Through the power of volunteer advocacy, CASA of Lexington works to ensure that all victims of child abuse and neglect are given a chance to thrive in a safe, permanent home. CASA’s trained and supervised volunteers provide an independent voice for children, one child at a time, by speaking for their best interests in the family court system. The majority of the families served by CASA are living at or below the poverty level. Therefore, providing a CASA to the children and helping the families overcome the economic instability they face can help break the cycle of child abuse and neglect. Our project largely focuses on capacity building which will be achieved through awareness, outreach and increased financial resources to allow expansion of services to more abused and neglected children helping us bridge the gap to the children currently not being served by a CASA. CASA’s VISTA, Israel Cook is working to generate funding for an additional Volunteer Manager to supervise 30 additional CASAs and provide advocacy for an estimated 75 abused and neglected children to help break the cycle of abuse and neglect. Israel Cook

Israel Cook

FoodChain
Food Chain's mission is to reconnect people with their food through hands-on education and demonstration of innovative, sustainable, indoor food production. FoodChain is a 501(c)3 that was founded in the fall of 2011. Our mission is to reconnect people with their food through hands-on education and demonstration of innovative, sustainable, indoor food production. To this effort, we constructed the state's only indoor commercially scaled aquaponics system in 2013, growing and harvesting both tilapia and greens for human consumption in a formerly abandoned bread factory in downtown Lexington, KY. FoodChain's VISTA, Anne Preston, working along side FoodChain and striving to provide this low income population, along with that of our surrounded Census Tracts which have correspondingly high rates of poverty and low performing schools, with needed educational programming on new and approachable methods for growing and preparing fresh foods by growing FoodChain's current educational and demonstrations capacity with a volunteer network and corresponding resources. Anne is contributing added manpower and resources that allow FoodChain to expand the reach for nutritional access and literacy as well as help to stimulate success in students' school performance and participation. Anne Preston

Anne Preston

Lexington Rescue Mission
Our vision is to restore hope and rebuild broken lives, which we do by building relationships with people, teaching skills, and providing guidance and support that will help them to develop their full potential. Lexington Rescue Mission is proposing a Community Connection Project, and its goal is to expand the scope and depth of our relationships with local churches, schools and civic groups, and ultimately, to increase in-kind and cash donations and recruit volunteers to fight poverty.   Lexington Rescue Mission VISTA is Elizabeth Burton. Elizabeth is meeting with current church, school and civic group supporters to update them on how their support is impacting lives, discuss upcoming plans and give them opportunities to further support our organization. Elizabeth is also helping to identify prospective supporters, with the assistance of the development team, and reach out to them for an introductory meeting. In addition to these meetings, Elizabeth will maintain contact with churches, schools and civic groups throughout the year by thanking them for their gifts, participating in church mission fairs and volunteer fairs, speaking to small groups, and hosting a luncheon for church liaisons. Elizabeth Burton1

Elizabeth Burton

New Life Day Center
The New Life Day Center is a one-stop daytime alternative to the streets where persons affected by extreme poverty and homelessness can seek help and refuge. The services of the New Life Day Center directly address the barriers of housing, shelter, jobs, transportation, substance abuse, and mental health care identified in the University of Kentucky 2013 Social Services Needs Assessment. New Life Day Center’s VISTA is Allen Gilbert. Allen is assisting with development of a process for evaluation of the clients who have been consistently at the Center to identify additional or modified programming that would support their transition to a stable lifestyle off the streets. This is particularly important for improving our understanding of the barriers that are preventing long-term clients from moving out of poverty and life on the street. 20150814_145548

Allen Gilbert

CHES Solutions Group
CHES Solutions Group VISTA is Nu’u Faletufuga is working closely with CHES staff to develop media materials, marketing tools, and trainings to educate the community about health outcomes and youth success. CHES provides evaluation and measurement services to non-profits attempting to meet requirements for program continuation and capacity building. In addition CHES develops and implements staff training in social services, residential programs for youth and in domestic violence prevention. Nu’u is helping CHES grow their capacity and outreach by supporting public education about data and analysis, particularly in our social service and health department evaluation services. Nu’u is also assisting in developing media outlets and relationships to extend the range of our services to agencies and organizations. Nu'u Faletufuga

Nu'u Faletufuga

International Book Project
International Book Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that promotes literacy, education and global friendships by connecting people and cultures, and sending over 200,000 books annually to schools, libraries, churches, community organizations and Peace Corps Volunteers in the United States and throughout the world. Although the reach of the International Book Project is international, The International Book Project VISTA, Charla Hamilton, is focusing on the development of two local programs. Those programs are the Local Donations Program and the Books As Bridges program.Charla is promoting the local side of both programs by facilitating communication with Kentucky teachers and school administrators, organizing domestic classrooms to host book drives for local donations and volunteer at International Book Project, and developing a transition training to shift management of the program to a future staff member. Charla is working to grow our local donation program by maintaining current recurring partnerships with Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Habitat for Humanity, as well as attending outreach events to find more ways that the International Book Project can have a positive impact in the Lexington community. Additionally Charla will help evaluate the efficiency of our operations and develop improvements in our plans to increase our effectiveness. headshot

Charla Hamilton

 
LFUCG: Farm to Table
Bluegrass Farm To Table strives to grow our local food economy by supporting food-related agricultural development and by improving access to healthy, local food in the region. The VISTA with Bluegrass Farm to Table is Grace Carson and she is to working to grow the local food economy and work to increase access to healthy, local food for more Lexingtonians. Grace is assisting the Local Food Coordinator with economic development activities related to building capacity for local food producers and connecting them with the appropriate market channels. Specific activities may include: facilitating grower meetings; facilitating meetings with processors, distributors, and buyers; and attending other meetings and conducting research related to growing the local food economy in the Bluegrass Region. Grace is also working with community stakeholders to continue to explore the feasibility of this project, grow partnerships, conduct community and project research, and fundraise for the project. Grace Carson

Grace Carson

Seedleaf
Seedleaf exists to increase the amount of affordable, nutritious, sustainable produced food to people at risk of hunger in Lexington, Kentucky. As a small organization with only 2 staff members, Seedleaf has been able to have a big impact by supporting over 35 community gardens and compost sites throughout Lexington. Seedleaf has been working on a volunteer program to help grow the reach of their work as they expand to other areas in Lexington. Seedleaf’s VISTA, Katherine Spears, is helping grow the capacity of the volunteer program to support this growth.             Katherine is helping with expanding and enhancing the number of volunteers, improving methods of communication (particularly online and social media), improving tracking systems, improving training systems, and growing relationships with colleges and universities to improve the number and frequency of students and faculty members volunteering. To help recruit additional volunteers and grow Seedleaf’s capacity, Katherine is also helping with story-telling to share the message and work of Seedleaf and the impact of Seedleaf volunteers. Katherine is assisting SeedLeaf with growing partnerships, and developing a new grant-based fundraising plan to support the work of volunteers and Seedleaf as a whole. Lastly, Katherine is helping evaluate community and volunteer involvement in program design and evaluate program effectiveness. Katherine Spears

Katherine Spears

 
Network VISTA Leader - The Plantory
  The Plantory VISTA Leader is Shannon Baker who is helping support the incoming VISTA members and helping the Plantory develop a strong, supportive program. Shannon is helping plan and lead trainings, working with engaging and retaining VISTA members, working to develop leadership opportunities for members, offering job training and placement support, helping plan and develop service projects, and is providing general member support. Shannon is working with the Plantory’s executive director, Anglea Baldridge and the Plantory’s AmeriCorps VISTA program director, Krystal Atkinson.

Shannon Baker

Shannon Baker

 
The Plantory
Vanessa Vanessa is helping us launch a pilot summer computer camp for neighborhood youth. The camp provides each student with a free computer, and utilizes free online software to train them in basic computer skills, coding, and provide professional development. Graduates receive preference for paid internships with nonprofits. In her role as a VISTA, she is working on program development, volunteer recruitment, training, and management, program fundraising, and community engagement. Raised in Lexington, she is well-versed with our community's history and helps us engage with more effectively through the computer camp and beyond.