VISTA Impact Stories
United Way of Central Kentucky Community Engagement VISTA, Ashley Tiemann, coordinated a week long Day of Action event that occurred June 19th-25th. Day of Action is a United Way initiative that engages community volunteers in meaningful ways that tie back to national and local goals to advance the common good in education, income, and health. United Way of Central Kentucky’s week long Day of Action’s goal was to recruit hundreds of volunteers for a region-wide week of service benefitting all types of nonprofit agencies, schools, and churches. This year Ashley partnered with 11 agencies throughout Hardin, Grayson, LaRue, and Meade Counties. She utilized new and established networks to recruit 85 volunteers. Volunteers completed various tasks such as painting curbs in a town square, packing and distributing food to needy families, or sprucing up landscaping. Volunteers served over 253 hours making a financial impact estimated at $4,117 and benefitting over 300 families and individuals.
United Way of Central Kentucky Housing & Homelessness VISTA, Tim Garren coordinated Hardin County’s first ever H-Count. Although the primary focus of the H-Count was to gather data from the county’s impoverished citizens, Tim collaborated with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland to provide 30 pounds of fresh produce, milk and eggs to 115 families – a value of $6440.00. He also partnered with 23 health and human services agencies to set up informational booths for community members to visit. His efforts netted the completion of 114 surveys that will be analyzed to determine paths forward in the fight against poverty in the communities United Way of Central Kentucky serves.
USA Cares, Grant Manager/VISTA Leader, Darla Brown, received a $125,000 grant from Delta Dental. The grant award will be split with $50,000 of the funding used as sponsorship for the organization’s annual gala. The remaining $75,000 will be utilized to support programming. Darla also generated 9,889.36 in in-kind advertising through her Google AdWords account in June. Finally, since the beginning of this project year in September 2015, she has increased USA Cares’ Twitter followers by 2,392.
Breckinridge County Schools Preschool Program VISTA, Nancy Lucas, recently organized a science festival appropriately named “The Touch Feely, Messy Mucky Science Festival. She collaborated with the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville to bring the event to the Hardinsburg Elementary School gymnasium where 125 preschool students were bussed in to attend. The festival is designed to engage and educate students on messy science through chemical reactions, sensory play and experimentation. Students learned about making observations, asking and answering questions and working collaboratively. Students traveled through 5 experimentation stations where they made Oobleck, a mixture that reaches a state that is liquid and yet is solid too! They made sand dough, sugar slush and slime. They experimented with excellent explosions, using Alka-Seltzer, baking soda and vinegar and also explored chromatography, separating individual colors from black markers. The event was very successful thanks to Nancy’s coordination efforts. She was even able to secure the Oobleck recipe for some of the teachers in attendance! http://www.exploratorium.edu/science_explorer/black_magic.html
Community Health Clinic’s Expansion VISTA, Martha Farmer, has a unique story. Before becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA she was a patient at the free clinic she now serves. As an ambassador for the clinic and United Way of Central Kentucky (UWCK) she has shared her story, in her voice, to countless community members. She’s lent her voice to radio spots and commercials, galas, board meetings, committee meetings, campaign meetings, and is featured on UWCK’s website and Annual Report. Martha’s servant spirit has inspired so many because she describes, with great courage and humility, how the Community Health Clinic saved her life! During her speaking engagements she often says, “Sometimes you just need to be humble and ask for help.” Her commitment exceeds expectations on so many levels and our community benefits every day that she serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA!