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Volume 5, Issue 8 August 2015

The VISTA Verse

Families in Action—Why Volunteering Matters Page 5

In this issue:

Meet our new VISTAs! Pages 3 and 4

A VISTA Leader’s Legacy Page 2

Very Valuable VISTA: Kendra Wilson Turn Around Bikes Northern Colorado Youth for Christ Page 6

July Orientation — VISTAs Now In Service!

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Pictured, left to right: Lyn Davis, VISTA Leader; Simone Champagnie, Jobs of Hope; Jonathan Basso, VISTA Leader; Fran Babrow, North Colorado Health Alliance; Krista Nyce, RISE; Diana Rawles, Connections for Independent Living; Alex Gaylord, A Kid’s Place; Grace Fullmer, Poudre Learning Center; and Cassy Westmoreland, United Way of Weld County Community Impact.

What Do VISTA Leaders Do? By Lyn Davis

One could ask that question to Jon Basso, who recently ended his VISTA service at United Way of Weld County VISTA Project. Jon had been a VISTA at The Arc of Weld County, then accepted a Leader Position. I watched him for six months (my term began in February) and realized what I wanted to aspire to: Giving. Jon gave of himself every moment he was around people. Around also meant online, on the phone, or however Jon communicated. I saw the quiet side of Jon as he worked at his computer, and we all saw the livelier side of him, cutting up, or just enjoying himself with others. If you needed something, you’d call Jon. He never ignored a call...he answered the phone and listened...then gave a little more of himself. We all wish Jon a continued happy stay in Colorado, and maybe we’ll hear that he climbed every 14er in Colorado with ease.

VISTAs and Agencies Lyn Davis— VISTA Leader, United Way of Weld County Cassy Westmoreland— Collective Impact, United Way of Weld County Sean Carlson — Community Impact, United Way of Weld County

Marielle Grenade-Willis — Brigit’s Bounty and Brigit’s Village Angelina Calantjis—The Success Foundation Kendra Wilson — Turn Around Bikes, Northern Colorado Youth for Christ Diana Rawles—Connections for Independent Living

Abigail Yeagle —High Plains Library District Foundation

Fran Babrow—North Colorado Health Alliance

Grace Fullmer—Poudre Learning Center

Alexandra Gaylord—A Kid’s Place

Simone Champagnie—Jobs of Hope

Krista Nyce —RISE

Kristina Sandquist — Sunrise Community Health Center

Alex Garcia—Rural Communities Resource Center

Introducing the July VISTA members Grace Fullmer, Poudre Learning Center

Grace Fullmer hails from the high desert of Prescott, Arizona. She holds a BS in Environmental Biology, and two minors in Spanish and Chemistry from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, but feels most of her knowledge came from the many adventures had and people met all over the world. After a three year break, she is excited to be back in Colorado, working for the Poudre Learning Center as the InSTEM outreach coordinator. She hopes to grow into her career goals through this VISTA term, while joining the fight for outdoor education and experiences! Grace enjoys exploring the mountains in all ways possible (hiking, climbing, skiing, breathing J, etc.), yoga, reading, and travelling.

Diana Rawles, Connections for Independent Living

Diana is from Indiana via Chicago where she graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in chemistry and religious studies.

She is currently applying to medical school, a process which is both terrifying and exciting. Diana had never visited Colorado before she moved here and is loving of the nature, the view of the stars, and the great people she’s found here. She is excited to be joining the United Way of Weld County VISTA Project and the Greeley community. Her work with Connections for Independent Living will be primarily marketing and volunteer recruitment, with some

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Fran Babrow, North Colorado Health Alliance

Simone Champagnie, Jobs of Hope

An East Coast native, Simone comes from New Haven County, Connecticut. She graduated in 2013 with a degrees in Psychology and Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counseling. Simone has experience helping domestic abuse survivors and victims, those in the criminal justice system, developmentally disabled, and those with cooccurring disorders. As a Vista, Simone works to expand Jobs of Hope, a small non-profit dedicated to training and mentoring men in the community who have arrest records or have dropped out of high school.

As a native Midwesterner, Fran is excited to reside in a place with a slightly more diverse landscape. Having graduated from Tulane University in December of 2014 with a B.S. in Public Health and Psychology, she is very excited to get out into the community and bring her education to life. During her VISTA year, Fran will be working with the North Colorado Health Alliance, an organization dedicated to addressing health as a single, complex condition and addressing each diverse facet, embracing a more holistic approach to wellness. She is looking forward to getting to getting to know a new community and being involved in the provision of services she deems to be essential to a healthy and happy population. In her spare time, Fran can be found running around Greeley, falling off the rock wall at the rec, or curled up in the corner of The Blue Mug with a good book (or occasionally a good Netflix series).

Introducing the July VISTA members, continued Krista Nyce, R.I.S.E.

Krista is excited to begin her new position as a VISTA at RISE, a small organization dedicated to both immediate relief and a long term impact with the folks they work with. She is eager to learn, grow, and be a part of an organization she admires. Having grown up on the east coast, Krista is thrilled to embark on new adventures in Colorado, exploring, hiking, and visiting iconic spots. She grew up in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and went to college at a small University in a small town by the mountains of Virginia, which are just hills compared to the Colorado mountains she has encountered. As a part of RISE, Krista will work with marketing and media, fundraising efforts, and will particularly focus on helping to build a sustainable and dependable volunteer force.

Cassy Westmoreland, United Way of Weld County Collective Impact

Cassy Westmoreland is a native of Northeast Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia with Bachelor’s Degrees in Social Work and Psychology. Cassy has always had a passion for helping those experiencing homelessness and spent her senior year of college as a case manager at a shelter in her community. Since then, she has been interested in homelessness from a policy perspective and working to create sustainable community programs. She is currently working as an AmeriCorps Community Impact VISTA at United Way Weld County. After this year, she plans to obtain her Masters of Social Work and continue working with community wide efforts that address poverty alleviation.

Alexandra Gaylord, A Kid’s Place

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Alexandra Garcia, Rural Communities Resource Center, Yuma, CO Economic Development

Alex arrived here from Santa Paula, CA, beginning a year of service in the August recruitment. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her volunteer work, she chose to work with seniors, feeling that they could offer her different perspectives of life. Alex is the first of four VISTAs who will be serving in Northeast Colorado. In Alex’s words, “I am on a journey to find what truly inspires me to be able to positively impact the lives of people and the environment.”

Originally from Seattle, Alex attended the University of Washington and graduated with her B.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations back in 2012, before signing onto her first year as an AmeriCorps volunteer. Since then, her passion for travel has only grown, and after a couple of years on the road she finally made her way to Colorado. She’s excited to learn how she can translate her VISTA service into a positive year, full of growth, at A Kid’s Place! Aside from travel and AmeriCorps, Alex also loves camping, biking, great (or terrible) puns, all things Seattle, the oxford comma, reading, writing, and social media marketing. At A Kid’s Place, she will be expanding the Darkness to Light Program, increasing volunteer outreach and retention, and assisting with marketing, event promotion, and donor development.

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Families in Action By Ashley Boyer

From Friday, August 14, to Sunday, August 16, the Arc of Weld County, Arc of Larimer, ACL of Boulder, and the Arc of Colorado teamed up to put on Families in Action, an amazingly successful annual event to give children with disabilities and their siblings alike a fun-filled weekend while parents attended advocacy training at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO. Among all the activities to choose from (swimming, arts and crafts, tie-dying, dinosaur bone hunt, basketball, soccer, tennis, the list goes on!), children got the chance to learn about the Fort Lupton Police Department as well as the Estes Park Fire Protection District. The children crawled all over the police car, spoke through the walkie-talkies, and even made hand and foot prints to emulate how policemen might catch criminals. They got to climb in, out, under, over the fire truck, watch a fireman put his uniform on in no time flat, take pictures, and sit in the driver's seat! Not only did the Fort Lupton Police Department and the Estes Park Fire Protection District make for some fun activities (we had children bursting at the seams awaiting their arrival!), but they created an environment for children to feel more comfortable with police and firefighters so that in a case of emergency they won't hesitate to seek out the correct people. This year was an absolute blast and we cannot wait for Families in Action 2016! Special thanks to the following VISTAs (past and present) who were absolutely amazing: Jon Basso, Sean Boyle, Melanie Falvo, Cecily Hahn, Rose Kinane, Diana Rawles, and Cassy Westmoreland. You can find all of the pictures from this year's event online at the Arc of Weld County's Facebook page. Like us, check them out, tag yourselves! Any VISTA wanting to learn more about this event or interested in participating in FIA 2016, contact

Important dates in September: September 11 — Commemorative Day of Service Brigit’s Bounty, Frederick, CO September 25 — Monthly Meeting—Connections for Independent Living

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Very Valuable VISTA Kendra Wilson

Check out our new VISTA banner!

Turn Around Bikes Northern Colorado Youth for Christ Why are you passionate about your agency's mission?

I'm passionate about Turn Around Bike's mission because I believe in it 100%. We, as Americans, often focus on new technology and fail to see the value and utility in "outdated" inventions. Bicycles are not only cheaper than cars in initial cost and maintenance, they are also a great way to stay active and get exercise. Most of our bike recipients live in extreme poverty and lack transportation and community access. For these individuals, a bike provides transportation, freedom, and a sense of empowerment.

The VISTA Verse

For more information contact Christina McKasy | VISTA Coordinator United Way of Weld County 970-304-6168 814 9th Street | PO Box 1944 Greeley, CO 80632

Check us out on Facebook! Click here:

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? As of now, I would like to become a foreign service officer. If that changes, which it might, you'll be able to find me in the non-profit sector or the mess that is American politics. What is one thing could you not live without? Idealism. It may be unrealistic, but I'd rather work to achieve the best possible outcome than settle on a lesser vision. Also, my runners (running shoes). Running is, and will always be my first love.

What are your favorite hobbies? Running, bicycling, reading, bumming around coffee shops and being overly caffeinated. If you had a "theme song" that played whenever you walk into a room full of people, what would it be? “Will you be my girl?" by Jet. Always gets me pumped up. I'm not confirming this, but there's a possibility that I sing this song loudly and dance whenever it comes on in my car. If you could live in any sitcom, what would it be? Orange is the New Black. What do you plan on accomplishing after your VISTA year? Immediately after my VISTA term, I plan to travel solo overseas for six to eight months. After returning to the U.S., I would like to work for the federal government and attend grad school.

Christina McKasy, United Way of Weld County VISTA Program Coordinator, poses beside the newest addition to VISTA marketing. The banner will stand tall at career fairs, VISTA presentations, and other community events.

Vv august 2015  

United Way of Weld County VISTA Project news from August, 2015

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