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VISTA Alumni David talks about how AmeriCorps has shaped his career

My name is David Parziale and I was an AmeriCorps VISTA with Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters in Cottonwood, Arizona. My original focus was to help expand volunteer recruitment and community outreach efforts. During the course of my year, my project focus expanded to also include implementing new business practices to strengthen agency infrastructure. This included new practices such as implementing weekly staff meetings to developing new employee orientation and training plans to reduce staff turnover. I also helped YBBBS leverage Google Apps for Nonprofits which awarded the agency free access for hosting email, calendars, documents and more. I oversaw the data migration from the old email system to the new email system and developed a collection of training materials including a Google Apps User Guide. The transition to Google Apps allowed staff to increase productivity and collaboration.

Currently, I am the Program Coordinator for the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits AmeriCorps VISTA Program. I oversee and manage a statewide VISTA Program that prioritizes new VISTA projects that serve rural and non-metro communities. Currently, our program hosts over 20 VISTA members serving on projects in Yuma, Ajo, Tucson, Sahuarita, Amado, Pinetop, Mesa, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Cottonwood, and Flagstaff. I joined the Alliance near the beginning of 2013.

After serving as a VISTA member, I served a year as Team Leader with AmeriCorps NCCC. During each service year, I truly valued the impact AmeriCorps members can have on the community and the impact service can have on the member. My passion led me to continue to pursue a career supporting national service programming at a professional level.

I had many highlights from my year of service as a VISTA member. First, I am thankful for the many friendships I developed with my co-workers at my project site, in the community I served and my fellow VISTAs. I stay in touch with many of these folks still today. My year was not easy. My project had its ups and downs and serving in rural Arizona was a change of pace. The closest VISTA to me was about 30-40 minutes away in Beaver Creek. Professionally, the year provided me many opportunities to take on new responsibilities and strengthen skills as I overcame challenges. Personally, the year helped me step outside my comfort zone, connect with my community and discover what matters most.

VISTA presents you with the opportunity to challenge yourself, personally and professionally and become a stronger, more dynamic individual. It is up to you to step up to the plate.

[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 11, 2015 by Lloyd Weathers.

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