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April 2018
AmeriCorps Week 2018 Service Day  |  Service Site Spotlight  |  Know Your VISTAs
AmeriCorps Week 2018 Service Day
Families in Transition VISTA members gathered in the State House after a morning of direct service at local nonprofits. Pictured from left to right: (back row) Shannon Fitzpatrick, NH Department of Education; Maggie Shope, Families in Transition; Ian Russel, Granite State Independent Living; Nicole Smith, Families in Transition; and Katie Lusa, Arts in Reach; (front row) Evan Davis, Families in Transition VISTA Program; and Tarah Bergeron, Families in Transition.

AmeriCorps Week is our annual opportunity to celebrate all things AmeriCorps and thank all of our past and present service members for their hard work; this year AmeriCorps week ran from Monday, March 12, to Friday, March 16. The week ended with a day of service where our Families in Transition (FIT) VISTA members spent the morning serving at Girls at Work, CityYear, and New Horizons. In the afternoon we all gathered at the State House with the rest of New Hampshire's service members for speeches by: Governor Chris Sununu; Representative Mary Jane Wallner from District 10; Gretchen Berger, Executive Director of Volunteer NH; Shireen Tilley, CNCS State Program Director for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont; first year AmeriCorps member,  Meghan Christie, from Lakes Region Conservation Corps; second year AmeriCorps member speaker, Jessica Hylek,  from City Year; AmeriCorps VISTA member, our very own Evan Davis; and AmeriCorps Alumnus Charles Caldwell. Following the event, our service members were taken on a tour of the State House where they had the opportunity to learn a bit more about the political history and the uniqueness of New Hampshire.
Site Spotlight: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Conor Murphy
Communications Assistant VISTA
Court Appointed Special Advocates
Pictured: Conor Murphy

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Hampshire is a statewide nonprofit organization that recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers who advocate in court for children who've been abused or neglected by their parents. There are more than 500 volunteer advocates around New Hampshire who make sure these children's best interests are being represented during court proceedings, but there is always a need for more volunteers to help carry the caseload. Especially now due to the influx of cases caused largely by the state's addiction epidemic.

There is one AmeriCorps VISTA serving at CASA this year. Conor Murphy began serving in November as the Communications Assistant VISTA, and works on a variety of projects. When CASA has fundraising events Conor helps with planning, promotional efforts, and works directly with the Director of Development to create materials to present to potential sponsors. Thus far, Conor has greatly enjoyed her time spent with CASA and is looking forward to what the rest of her service  year has in store.


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Know Your VISTAs!
Melaney Brown
Program Development VISTA
Arts in Reach
Pictured: Melaney Brown

Why did you choose to become a VISTA? Why did you choose to serve in New Hampshire?
I kind of fell into a VISTA position. My intern supervisor knew the Executive Director of Arts in Reach (AIR) and introduced me to the organization. I loved the organization and the position that they had open was a VISTA position. I knew I liked New Hampshire from school and was happy to find a job here, though I think after this winter I am ready to go somewhere warm!

What is your role at your host site? What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I work on recruiting teens for programs, improving documents for programs, staff/volunteer orientation and recruitment. I also attend every program session, some weeks that is a twice a week and others it is every day. 

What drew you to your particular position and host site?
I thought taking a year long VISTA position in program development would give me great professional experience in the nonprofit program field. Through volunteer work and internships throughout college I realized that working in nonprofit programs was what I wanted to do for a career. By the end of my VISTA term I will have a solid year testing out my potential career path. I am so happy to have taken this position.

Do you have any post-VISTA plans or goals? How do you think your time as a VISTA will help you achieve these goals?
I want to go into nonprofit programming, my end goal is to be a program director at a nonprofit that works with children and teens. I think my time as a VISTA will help me get a position like this because I will have a year of developing teen programs.

What Advice would you give to someone considering becoming a VISTA? 
DO IT. Make the leap, this will be a great year of professional and personal development.

Maggie Shope
Special Events and Fundraising Coordinator VISTA
Families in Transition

Pictured: Maggie Shope

Where did you go to college/what did you major in?
I attended Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in beautiful Berks County, PA! I graduated in the spring of 2017 with a dual major in Business Management and Marketing.

Why did you choose to become a VISTA? Why did you choose to serve in New Hampshire?
During my college career, I had the pleasure of interning with a nonprofit organization. My experience as an intern ignited my passion for nonprofit work. I found value in knowing my work was a small piece in a picture much larger than myself. After I graduated, I wanted to expand on this experience. VISTA allows me to grow my professional skills, gain a better understanding of poverty, and serve my community!

What is your favorite part about being a VISTA?
I love being a VISTA! My favorite part is having the opportunity to work with so many experienced supervisors and VISTA members. Having the opportunity to work with individuals with different backgrounds and experiences has helped me grow in my position.

Do you have and post-VISTA plans or goals? How do you think your time as a VISTA will help you achieve these goals?
After my VISTA year is complete, I would love to find a job in the nonprofit development. VISTA has helped me grow professionally and I am confident this experience will bring me closer to achieving my goal!

Do you have any fun hobbies or hidden talents?
I love to hike and be outside! I actually worked at Yellowstone National Park for a period of my life. It was an amazing experience!

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The Families in Transition VISTA Program is part of the AmeriCorps VISTA National Service Program and is sponsored by Families in Transition. VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) are charged with fighting poverty through capacity-building projects in government and non-profit organizations.

Families in Transition-New Horizons provides hunger relief, emergency shelter, safe affordable housing, and supportive services to individuals and families who are homeless or in need, enabling them to gain self-sufficiency and respect. 

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Families in Transition-New Horizons
122 Market St Manchester, NH 03101 • 603.641.9441 • •

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