Accomplishment Spotlight: VISTA Member at HandsOn Jacksonville Organizes Service Projects for Community Members to Give Back to Veterans July 5, 2012Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
Jessica Fowler, an AmeriCorps VISTA member assigned to HandsOn Jacksonville and the Community Blueprint Network through the ALA Call to Service Corps, has been feverishly organizing and promoting opportunities for community members of Jacksonville, Fla. to serve and support military families and veterans in their area. For each event, Fowler recruits volunteers, promotes the project and provides logistics support.
Even though her VISTA service started in February, Fowler has already mobilized more than 280 volunteers to complete over 1,100 hours of volunteer service and touched the lives of over 600 military and veteran connected individuals in need. Fowler reports that many of the volunteers enlisted said they were thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the military community and they had wanted to do so for so long, but they just didn’t know how. Examples of service projects that Fowler has organized include:
A May 13 project with K9s for Warriors, where 12 volunteers spent three hours bathing service dogs in training and cleaning up the dog yard. These dogs will eventually be placed with servicemembers and veterans who suffer from PTSD, TBI and other wounds of war. For this project, Fowler enlisted an active duty Coast Guardsman as the on-site leader. The volunteers also had the opportunity to meet the current K9 class of wounded warriors and personally thank them for their service and sacrifice.
An April 14 project at the Allied Veterans Center, where 22 youth volunteers planted a garden. The Allied Veterans Center is a transitional housing and reintegration program for post-9/11 veterans. The volunteers spent four hours digging, planting and mulching to help give the facility a ‘welcome home’ feeling. This project was the first official project for one of HandsOn Jacksonville’s newest volunteer groups, Teens for Veterans. The volunteers were joined by the Allied Veterans Center staff and some of the residents throughout the project. While the residents thanked the volunteers for their hard work, the volunteers were thanking the residents for their service to our country.