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Accomplishment Spotlight: VISTA Member at American Legion Auxiliary Enhances ALA’s Collaboration with USO June 5, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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Sharon Riegsecker, an AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader, is completing her service term with the American Legion Auxiliary. Sharon led the organization’s effort to enhance its collaboration with the USO (United Service Organizations, Inc.) by producing a comprehensive action guide. The action guide will assist ALA’s state and local chapters and individual members in connecting their skills, interests and resources with USO programs.

The guide includes sections for contact information for who ALA members and USO centers should contact and when, detailed information on USO programs that align with the ALA Plan of Action, tools to assist with ALA department and unit impact reports, and a descriptive example of Auxiliary support of a USO program. Some potential joint activities include co-organizing joint service projects on days of national service, referring members and service users of each other programs; assisting ALA members in undertaking service projects through USO programs; contributing knowledge and advice for each organizations service programs; and contributing the purpose of the USO and ALA collaboration to our respective members to inspire local action.

The action guide can be found at : www.alaforveterans.org/resources/ala-uso%20action%20guide-lp.pdf

Thank you, Sharon, for leading this major project for ALA and the USO!

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Accomplishment Spotlight: East Tennessee Salutes Servicemembers and Veterans with VISTA Member Assistance June 5, 2012

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Chelsea Hepburn, an ALA Call to Service Corps VISTA member assigned to Tennessee’s Community Assistance Corporation (TCAC), played a vital role in organizing her sponsor organization’s salute to servicemembers and veterans. TCAC, in collaboration with the local business community, held the event on Armed Forces Day, May 19. The event took place in Cherokee Park in Morristown. The event began with an opening ceremony at the Citizen Tribune Jefferson Federal Amphitheatre, followed by live entertainment and numerous family activities. Activities included door, raffle and auction prizes; a Children’s Fun Zone; kid’s crafts; and face painting.  Live music entertainment was performed during the event as well. Exhibitor booths included military recruiters, veterans organizations, educational providers, employers, churches and nonprofit organizations. Special guests included local military and political dignitaries.  Chelsea’s role in this resource and service fair for the East Tennessee region’s military and veteran community included recruitment of sponsor organizations, selecting entertainment and event promotion with the local media.

Accomplishment Spotlight: VISTA Member at American Legion Auxiliary Encourages Action for Military Children for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day June 5, 2012

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May 9 was designated Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). ALA Call to Service Corps VISTA Member Laura Baim, assigned to American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters, encouraged local Auxiliary units utilize the day to bring awareness to the mental health needs of military children.

Laura prepared bulletins and newsletters to get the word out about what ALA chapters could do to participate in this day. Laura made best use of materials that a Call to Service Corps VISTA member serving ALA in 2009-2010, Nicole Knisley, had prepared to promote this annual observance. Laura used the prior materials to create her announcements. Laura also distributed the tool kit to ALA chapters.

ALA encouraged collaborations with Give an Hour, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and the American Art Therapy Association. If a unit or department was holding an event, it was encouraged that these organizations be invited to join it to build even more support for military children’s mental health needs. An explicit collaboration with the American Art Therapy Association was established for local units in order for them to get in contact with a local art therapist to ask for their assistance at events where an art project was going to be conducted. One idea for an art project was to depict whom the child’s hero was and write an explanation of why they chose that hero.

Volunteering News to Use June 5, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Volunteering News to Use.
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By Dru Secrest

Baby Boomers as Volunteers

Baby Boomers are more than just a bucket of wisdom; they are the volunteers you want at your organization! According to Independent Sector, “nearly all volunteers are [monetary] givers, and they give more than those who do not volunteer.” The working people, primarily baby boomers, are typically at the peak of their high-income years. So, you do the math!

Not only do baby boomers have the potential to become important donors, but they also “…show much greater growth in the number of hours that are given in total,” according to Independent Sector. Many of these baby boomers are on the verge of retirement, which leaves more time open for volunteering on a regular basis. Baby boomers can provide your organization with plenty of experience, dedication and monetary support, which is the key to the survival of any nonprofit organization.

Upcoming Days of Service — June

Flag Day: June 14 is the day to celebrate the birthday of the stars and stripes. On that day, we not only celebrate Flag Day, but we also celebrate the birthday of the United States Army. 1777 was the year the flag of the United States was adopted. Please take the week of June 11 or the day of June 14 to learn more about Flag Day by reading the Presidential Proclamation here. In addition, Flag Day provides Americans an opportunity for Americans to pay a patriotic salute to our servicemembers and veterans by performing acts of service in their honor, or for their benefit.

Member Profile: Meet Pauline Perry, AmeriCorps Member at Operation Homefront June 5, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Member Spotlight.
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Pauline Perry is an AmeriCorps National member assigned to Operation Homefront through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps. In her assignment as a human resources specialist, Pauline is responsible for assessing and improving Operation Homefront’s human resources practices, including recruitment policies and procedures, position description development and employee file management. Pauline holds a Master of Arts in community counseling from St. Mary’s University, and a Master of Arts in human resources and management. Pauline is a veteran of the United States Army.

What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps member?

I was motivated to serve as an AmeriCorps member because I knew the value of serving and I knew I could gain a plethora of new skills and valid civilian experience. In addition, I knew I could gain tremendous satisfaction that comes from helping others. Lastly, earning the Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to further my education was also a valid bonus.

What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?

AmeriCorps provides an incredible opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of those around me who are serving this great country. I am a retired 22-year veteran who loves giving back. For me, giving back to our wounded warriors and military families through Operation Homefront is a great honor. After retiring from the military, I attended graduate school at St. Mary’s University where I started serving military servicemembers and their families through the Family Life Center Counseling Services, which was funded through a TRIAD grant. The motivation to choose Operation Homefront as my sponsor organization was pretty simple; Operation Homefront is one of the leading national charities supporting our families of servicemembers and wounded warriors. Changing the quality of life for our warriors is a great honor because I care and I am willing to serve those who first serve us. Moreover, to me, all our efforts here at Operation Homefront are what life is all about. It’s about turning out the light at the end of the day and knowing that my time was not wasted. It’s about knowing the actual enjoyment that comes from making sacrifices for what I believe in. Most importantly, it’s about surrounding myself with people who feel the same way. My hope is that others will have the opportunity to gain the same satisfaction.

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

My proudest moment at Operation Homefront was seeing the smile on the employees’ faces when I started the Raffle/Morale Program during the Christmas holiday. Everyone was excited and looked forward to winning a small prize with much enthusiasm. It made coming to work fun every day.

What are your future plans after your AmeriCorps service year?

My future plan is to take my Licensed Professional Counselor examination and seek a career opportunity serving with the military.