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Accomplishment Spotlight: AmeriCorps National Member at Operation Homefront Builds Organization’s Volunteer Management Program July 27, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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Vincent Watson, a Call to Service Corps AmeriCorps National member serving with Operation Homefront, has spent his nearly complete service term revamping the organization’s volunteer management strategy, at a time of great change for the organization.

Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit organization that provides financial and other assistance to servicemembers and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront is evolving as requirements change for those service members that have been impacted by the war on terror. Draw downs in deployed personnel are bringing new requirements to OH to care for those who served and the families that support them. Operation Homefront has identified necessary organizational changes to respond to this new tempo. Chiefly, Operation Homefront is converting its network of stand-alone local chapters using the Operation Homefront name into a national network with central control measures and accountability. This conversion has made changes to many OH business processes necessary, including its volunteer management system. Serving as the organization’s volunteer coordinator, Watson has been at the forefront of this redesign.

In preparing for this shift in volunteer management strategy, Watson carefully reviewed current volunteer management processes against new desired outcomes. Among his considerations were supervision requirements, span of control, training needs, work space and support processes. Watson’s analysis has led to a number of management changes.

Among the changes that Watson identified and is now implementing includes elevating chapter volunteers to national volunteers and streamlining the content matter and knowledge base of those volunteers. This change in both supervision and training delivery will ensure OH delivery of consistent organizational messages across its various media. Another area for improvement is that of the client services representatives. These individuals, some of whom are volunteers and others staff, screen applications from and render financial assistance to servicemembers and wounded warriors in need. Like the communications volunteers, the CSRs now report to a single division in the national office, rather than to semi-autonomous chapters.

Furthermore, Vince altered the organization’s volunteer recruitment and enrollment processes so that prospective volunteers begin at the national level for application screening and document collection. Once cleared for service, those volunteers are then assigned by the national office to regional field offices for deployment.

Vince was the right individual for this heavy-duty assignment, having served for 27 years in the United Air Force in recruiting roles. That personnel management background provided Vince — and Operation Homefront — the high-order skills and experience necessary for re-designing OH’s volunteer management system.

Accomplishment Spotlight: AmeriCorps VISTA Member at Tennessee’s Community Assistance Corporation Helps Volunteers Rehabilitate a Home of Vietnam Veteran July 27, 2012

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Chelsea Hepburn, a Call to Service Corps VISTA member assigned to the Tennessee Community Assistance Corporation (TCAC), hosted a small group of volunteers and AmeriCorps members in rehabilitating the home of a Vietnam-era veteran. Hepburn facilitated local site arrangements for the volunteer crew comprised of a church group from Atlanta, Ga. Leading the service project were AmeriCorps members from the Appalachian Outreach AmeriCorps State Program. Two AmeriCorps State members from TCAC’s Making Veterans Priority program also contributed. Among their accomplishments, the volunteers installed a new roof and a new kitchen floor, cleaned and painted the garage, painted the bathroom and living room and hallway ceilings, and cleared the yard of brush. The project took a week to complete and involved over 10 volunteers.

Volunteering News to Use July 27, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Volunteering News to Use.
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Millennials as Volunteers

According to volunteermatch.org the millennial generation (20-35-year-olds) is thought to be “forcing the world to adopt scary new practices.” But Millennials are helping organizations all over to discover the potential of new technologies for creating impacts. The 2012 Millennial Impact Report showed 63 percent of Millennials volunteered for a nonprofit in 2011; 61 percent would share opportunities via Facebook; by a margin of more than two-to-one, Millennials who volunteer for nonprofits are more likely to make donations; and more than 70 percent said they have raised money on behalf of a nonprofit organization.

Millennials seem to be a great asset for organizations whether as volunteers, staff or board members. How do you engage this eager generation? Volunteermatch.org offers these tips:

  • Provide varied volunteer opportunities — Millennials are interested in a wide variety of volunteering and time commitments, from micro-volunteering opportunities to one-time volunteer events to group volunteering to leadership commitments.
  • Cast a wide volunteer net — Publicize your volunteer needs across multiple platforms and in multiple ways. Make sure your website and blog are mobile-compatible.
  • Show the impact — It’s imperative to show the difference volunteers can make for your nonprofit and for the world.
  • Thank them — Let your volunteers know in person the impact they’ve made, and say thank you.
    Millennials have high expectations and want genuine, authentic relationships with organizations. Nonprofits can learn to engage and serve their entire community better with the help of the millennial generation.

For further information, view http://blogs.volunteermatch.org/engagingvolunteers

Member Profile: Meet Jason Kennedy, AmeriCorps National Member with USA Cares July 27, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Member Spotlight.
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Jason Kennedy is an AmeriCorps National member assigned to USA Cares through the American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps. Kennedy assists veterans with accessing employment and financial assistance resources and services. Prior to joining the Call to Service Corps, Jason held positions in the Kentucky National Guard and the United States Physical and Fiscal Office Central Issue Facility. Kennedy holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice. He is working toward a Bachelor of Social Work. Jason is a veteran of the Kentucky Army National Guard. He is a member of American Legion Post 114 in Elizabethtown, Ky.

What motivated you to serve as an AmeriCorps member?
I have been in the military for over eight years now. I have served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as after several natural disasters within the United States, which include Hurricane Katrina. I had heard about AmeriCorps through a friend of mine, my brother and sister-in-law. I am currently completing my last year with the military and I have been looking to my future. I am a student at Western Kentucky University in the social work program. My goal is to get my degree and then use that degree to work with servicemembers. I feel that there would be no one better to work with a servicemember in a social work setting than a soldier who has been there, where they have been before. I saw an opening with USA Cares and I couldn’t think of a better experience for what I want to do with my future than to work with AmeriCorps and USA Cares.

What motivated you to choose your sponsor organization?
USA Cares is a nonprofit veterans organization designed to help post-9/11 veterans. It is a nationwide organization with a lot of credit to its name. I was immediately thrilled at the thought of being able to assist other veterans all over the United States. I would be able to give back to my brothers-and-sisters-in-arms. It is also a great name to be able to put on a resume once I do get my degree. The experience has been amazing and I have learned so much in my time with this great organization.

About what accomplishment from your year of service are you most proud?
There are too many accomplishments to pick one. I have had the chance to work with some amazing people. The work that is done here literally changes people’s lives. The greatest feeling that I have had since being here was when I was able to assist my first veteran. I didn’t think much about making a simple car payment for an Afghanistan veteran. It didn’t hit me what an impact that I had had on this servicemember’s life until I received an email from the servicemember a few days later thanking me for what I had done for him and his family.

What are your future plans after your AmeriCorps service year?
After AmeriCorps, I plan to take the skills and knowledge that I have received and apply it toward pursuing and finishing my goal of obtaining a Master of Social Work and working with veterans.

Announcements July 27, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Announcements.
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Welcome New and Renewing Call to Service Corps Members!

The American Legion Auxiliary is pleased to welcome three new members into the ALA Call to Service Corps. These members entered full-time, full-year service through the AmeriCorps National program, with service starts in July 2012. Welcome aboard!

  • Christine Friis (National), Operation Homefront
  • Deborah Hoselton (National), Operation Homefront
  • Kristine Maurer (National), Operation Homefront

Also, The American Legion Auxiliary congratulates a Call to Service Corps member who has re-enrolled in the VISTA program and the C2SC for a second term. Tyler Anger (VISTA) has accepted a service assignment as the Call to Service Corp’s VISTA Team Leader.

Thank You for Your Service!

The American Legion Auxiliary wishes a fond farewell and best wishes to the following members who completed their service in July. Thank you for your gift of service to your sponsor organizations and to the military and veteran community!

  • Stephanie Bennett (VISTA), The Mission Continues
  • Patricia Godsey (VISTA), Still Serving Veterans
  • Guadeloupe Rodriguez (VISTA), Still Serving Veterans
  • Nick Zevely (VISTA), The Mission Continues
  • Tuere Williams (VISTA), Veterans Innovation Center

Recruitment Period Open for Call to Service Corps Assignments

ALA and various organizations participating in the ALA Call to Service Corps Consortium are currently recruiting for AmeriCorps National and AmeriCorps VISTA members. The organizations currently seeking AmeriCorps National members are Operation Homefront and USA Cares. Organizations seeking AmeriCorps VISTA members are Blue Star Families, Give an Hour, Still Serving Veterans, Student Veterans of America and The Mission Continues.

Please encourage individuals interested in a national service opportunity to apply to a Call to Service Corps position. Direct them to the service opportunity listing section of www.AmeriCorps.gov and enter “Call to Service Corps” as a topic term in the advanced search feature.