Jonel Persinger: Americorps* VISTA from a Site Supervisor perspective

As an AmeriCorps VISTA supervisor, I have witnessed literal miracles as needs have been met for our non-profit agency.  Most non-profits during these tough times are running on low fumes: lack of funding, staff support, community connections [as they are going through tough times too], and program structures being compromised by increasing demands while resources remain shallow.  In short, we are all doing more with less.  I first became introduced to AmeriCorps VISTA through the suggestion of a fellow agency about 3 years ago and what an amazing adventure it has been.   Upon registering, I not only inherited great program support, but I shared in a fundamental passionate mission—the war on poverty.

Both of my VISTA ‘s that I have been privileged to work with have been sharp, creative, energetic women.  As each stepped across the threshold of grant wonderland, recruitment/retention challenges, and radical program changes, they grasped the vision of the mission quickly and securely.  Out in the field they’ve loved influencing the community to also see the vision of AmeriCorps and Volusia Literacy Council.  Monies have been raised, partnerships established, fundraisers ‘funded’ with in-kind donations and gifts, community awareness cultivated, volunteers recruited and recently,  financial and workforce literacy birthed [two new programs].  Can I go on?  Yes, I could go on about the programs that have led to a stronger, brighter program—at the very least I will say, we would not be where we are today without them.  Thank you ladies!!

I must give outstanding credit to the overseer of the VISTA program for our state, Florida Literacy Coalition.  They are an amazing support system to the program and the challenges we face.  Through state collaborations, training in the mission, navigating through paperwork [and SO MUCH more]—WHEW! All I can say is, “I am ‘SO RELIEVED’ they are there for us!”  I literally feel I could call them at 2am and they would be there.  [Don’t worry FLC, I’ll try not to make a habit of it.]  They too share the passionate mission and through that passion they hold us little Community Based Organizations’s all together through their grant leadership, program encouragement, resource provision and most importantly keeping us on time with our quarterly reports.  😉  (Can I do the text wink here?)

It has been an honor to supervise the VISTA program and my heart is full of the deepest gratitude for those who provide and serve in AmeriCorps.  I stand by their commission of the war against poverty with unfailing faith.  Each person who has the privilege of being a recipient of their services has been awarded a great opportunity to change their life and move forward toward their dreams.  We need you AmeriCorps VISTA and we cannot thank you enough for the difference you make: one mission, one program, one incredible life at a time.

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