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Accomplishment Spotlight — ALA VISTA Team Leaders Offer Observations on Recruiting Veterans into National Service April 30, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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The American Legion Auxiliary is fortunate to have two AmeriCorps VISTA team leaders assigned to the Call to Service Corps project. The leaders, Andrew Talbot and Sharon Riegsecker, took the initiative to learn more from our project members who served in the military.
The questions in the survey were designed to understand the veteran’s motivations for serving in both national and community service and solicit advice to better target recruiting efforts towards the veteran population. The survey was distributed by email in March 2012 and participation was voluntary.

All the members cited their commitment to serving the veteran and military community as their primary motivation for entering national service. Overall members rated their national service as valuable work experience and felt AmeriCorps and similar programs would be valuable tools to help veterans transition to civilian life. A few early conclusions were that organizations targeting veterans for recruitment should be sure and present the military and veterans focus of their projects front and center during recruiting efforts. Veteran-and-military-focused nonprofits should also seek to build relationships with pre-existing veteran’s support and community groups to build awareness of their efforts and reach veterans searching for career transitional experience.

Read the full results and conclusions at: www.nationalserviceresources.org/samples/survey-veterans-national-service-american-legion-auxiliary-call-service-corps

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Accomplishment Spotlight: VISTA Members at Still Serving Veterans Assist in Veterans Business Development Training April 30, 2012

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On March 20, Still Serving Veterans, the Women’s Business Center of North Alabama, U.S. Small Business Administration, Alabama Wounded Warriors, and the Alabama Career Center held a regional event to help veterans become entrepreneurs and business owners. ALA Call to Service Corps members assigned to Still Serving Veterans supported this employment-related event. For example, VISTA member Patricia Godsey was on hand to photograph the event and provide onsite support.

The full-day event, titled Empowering Our Veterans, included training classes in the morning and employer booths setup in the afternoon. The first entrepreneurship session gave knowledge about how to start, grow and finance a business. Secondly, those looking for a career were provided with human resource personnel from major companies in Huntsville. Professionals were available to review veterans’ resumes, provide information on understanding the mechanics of an interview, dress code expectations, and how to use web-based job search engines. The attendees also learned about networking and professional development. Veterans at the event could also visit booths that were setup by businesses and organizations wanting to hire a veteran.

Employers received guidelines for recruiting, hiring and managing a post-military workforce. For the veterans, business advisors and human resource professionals were available to answer questions and give individuals information as needed. A group of human resources personnel reviewed the resumes of the attendees. Embassy Suites, the host location, provided 20 computers with wireless printing access, which allowed resume changes to be made immediately.

To learn more about this event, visit http://www.stillservingveterans.org/wbcna_empowering_our_veterans0.aspx

Accomplishment Spotlight: VISTA Members at Operation Military Kids of Delaware “Purple Up!” for Month of the Military Child Observance April 30, 2012

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April is designated the “Month of the Military Child.” And with that designation, there’s no better time for Delaware residents to mobilize in support of the children and youth of their state who belong to military families. That mobilization took place April 13 at a statewide “Purple Up! Celebration” sponsored by Operation Military Kids of Delaware.

Military children and youth from across the state attended the celebration as well as public officials, small business owners, educators, volunteer coordinators, health and personal fitness trainers and community philanthropists. Military youth made arts and crafts and learned about the different countries to which their family member(s) may have been deployed.

In addition to the event itself, OMK of Delaware encouraged all Delaware residents to wear purple on April 13 as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. (Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military.)

Two American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps Members assigned to OMK Delaware, by way of Points of Light and the Delaware State Office of Volunteerism, were critical to the planning and execution of the Purple Up! Celebration. VISTA member Michelle Lee secured all of the food and raffle donations for the event. VISTA member Whitney Towns managed the celebration promotion, including securing local media outlet coverage of the event.

OMK of Delaware declared the event a great success that succeeded expectations due in large part to the efforts of the VISTA members! Most important, the participating children enjoyed themselves and felt very special that so many people in their community were interested in supporting them.

To learn more about Operation Military Kids please visit: www.operationmilitarykids.org

Member Snapshots April 30, 2012

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First lady Michelle Obama paid a visit to The Mission Continues in March to demonstrate support for the organization’s efforts to engage veterans in civilian service. ALA Call to Service Corps VISTA Member Nic Zevely, assigned to TMC, was on hand, and snapped this picture.

Lupi Rodriguez, an ALA Call to Service Corps VISTA member serving with Still Serving Veterans, was proud to represent SSV at a bill-signing event led by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL). Governor Bentley signed the state’s Heroes for Hire Act, which created a series of tax credits for Alabama companies that hire veterans.

AmeriCorps Week is an annual observance to recognize the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alumni by highlighting the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation every day. This year, AmeriCorps Week took place March 10 – March 18. This picture shows ALA Call to Service Corps VISTA Member Joshua Schrier, in service at American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters, working with children in a low-income community in Indianapolis as part of that city’s observance of AmeriCorps Week.

Member Profile: Meet Tyler Anger, Community Blueprint Network initiative at Veterans Innovation Center April 30, 2012

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Tyler Anger is an AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned to the Community Blueprint Network at the Veterans Innovation Center, through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps. In his assignment as a Community Blueprint coordinator, Tyler is responsible for development and implementation of topical content, support tools, project infrastructure and community decision-making structures and processes to execute the Community Blueprint in the areas of employment and behavioral health. Prior to joining the Call to Service Corps, Tyler held positions in online marketing with the Sponge Community Building Blog and Wells Fargo. Tyler worked with the Sage Mentorship Program, a student-run initiative designed to aid students in low-income elementary schools. Tyler holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. His father is an active duty member of the United States Army.

1. What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member?

I have always been a strong believer in the notion of civic duty, and I knew that I wanted to do some form of service work coming out of college. I was attracted by the broad range of programs offered by AmeriCorps, which essentially allowed me to choose an attractive area to live in as well as a service project that I felt strongly about. AmeriCorps’ strong national reputation also played a role in my decision to serve.

2. What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?

I grew up in a military family, and spent most of my formative years on military bases. I even attended a Department of Defense high school in Germany. My father is still an active duty member of the Army, and many of my friends from that high school are currently serving in the military. My sponsor organization, the Veterans Innovation Center, offered a way to improve a community to which I am still intimately connected, and which deserves substantially more support than is currently provided.

3. About what accomplishment from your service year are you most proud?

I am most proud of the completion of the promising practices component of the Community Blueprint. These promising practices are designed to provide communities throughout the country with the means to improve their support for servicemembers, veterans, and military families. I believe they will provide great value as the project continues to grow in stature.

4. What are your future plans after your AmeriCorps service year?

I plan to matriculate to law school in the fall of 2013. I have not yet decided what I will do in the intervening year.