AmeriCorps VISTA Staci Robbins describes the great work she is doing with the Coalition for Compassion and Justice.
“Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ) is committed to providing vital services, education and advocacy for those living in poverty, leading to self-sufficiency and a fair and just community for all.”
The volunteers and staff members of CCJ work on a daily basis to not only meet the immediate needs of people in poverty; they also support them in their goal of self-sustainment. This full cycle of support is what ignited my passion to journey on a path of VISTA service with CCJ.
When I started my service as a volunteer coordinator almost 8 months ago, I quickly learned CCJ’s successful operation is largely due to their caring and dedicated volunteers. My supervisor had me start learning the ropes by volunteering in Open Door, our immediate need and feeding program. It was very overwhelming and rewarding at the same time as Open Door serves 150-200 people each day. Coming from a previous tangible results-oriented work environment, I wondered how I would ever be successful in this new venture. Over the course of the first few months, I watched our amazing volunteers – in all of our programs and realized that we cannot always do or be all things for our clients. The important thing is that we are present for them and that we do what we can, whether it is to listen patiently or to give them the smallest, yet greatest gift – a smile to brighten their day.
I help CCJ build capacity through my duties as a volunteer coordinator. I am responsible for recruiting volunteers for new and expanding programs so that we may serve more people in need throughout Yavapai County. I have built processes or best practices for volunteers to use during their service, so that there is consistency for our volunteers and clients each day. I have also created online volunteer communications, which includes a quarterly newsletter and an orientation manual for potential volunteers interested in our organization. We are now working on a comprehensive database that will streamline volunteer recruiting, scheduling and service hour tracking.
While not on the front lines of client service as a VISTA; my efforts in volunteer recruitment, retention and appreciation play a key role in making sure our clients have the best people possible taking care of their needs each day.
The next few months will be busy for CCJ, as we gear up for our Winter Special projects – Warm for Winter and Family Christmas events. Both programs are very important to our clients and very rewarding for our volunteers. We anticipate giving out over 500 jackets, blankets and sleeping bags to people in need during our Warm for Winter event. We will brighten the holidays for over 800 people with goody bags and toys. If you are in Yavapai County and would like to be a part of these amazingly heartwarming projects, please contact me and I will gladly sign you up!