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Former VISTA Project Site Prescott Unified School District and their Volunteer Program Success Story

The Prescott Unified School District’s Volunteer Program currently employs a Volunteer Coordinator on a 12 month, half time basis. The responsibilities of the Volunteer Coordinator are to recruit, train and place volunteers in positions throughout the district. The Volunteer Coordinator is also responsible for supporting district personnel to identify new ways to use volunteers to enhance the activities and services in the schools system.

    Between 2011 and 2014, the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) utilized the skills of two VISTA and two AmeriCorps members to strengthen and expand its Volunteer Program - VISTA members Kiley Charles and Geri Lester and AmeriCorps members Linmarie DiCianni and Linda Luegering . These members worked closely with PUSD staff and community members to increase their awareness and use of volunteers in the district. Annual Volunteer Recruitment Fairs were implemented to increase the public’s awareness of school volunteerism and connect community members with positions in the schools. Through the efforts of the VISTA member at that time, in 2014 PUSD began using an online system for volunteer applications, documentation and communication. This use of electronic records has streamlined the Volunteer Program processes. The VISTA member also developed an orientation and training program for volunteers to support their success in their volunteer placement.

      VISTA and AmeriCorps members were successful in demonstrating within the district that an effective Volunteer Program promotes family and community engagement in the schools and enriches the educational opportunities for all students. Consequently, the school district decided to commit to sustaining this VISTA project and created a designated position for a Volunteer Coordinator in the PUSD budget.

        The current PUSD Volunteer Program continues to build on the foundation established by VISTA and AmeriCorps members. Community partnerships developed by VISTA and AmeriCorps members are continuing and evolving. School personnel have increased awareness of the value volunteers can bring and are identifying an increasing number of volunteer needs and requests. The number of school volunteers continues to grow and community partnerships are increasing.

        [If you enjoyed this story and are interested in having a year of rewarding experiences with VISTA or AmeriCorps in Arizona click on the following link and sign up http://eepurl.com/beldJf ] 

        Published on March 10, 2015 by Lloyd Weathers.

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