Amanda Howard is the Parent Workshop coordinator for AmeriCorps VISTA in the Waynesville R-VI School District.
Hometown: Waynesville, MO
Education: Currently working towards a degree in Advertising and Public Relations
Family: One six year old daughter Jay'Merie
What do you like about volunteering for AmeriCorps VISTA? The main reason I like my work is because it gives me a greater opportunity to help others. It makes me feel good to use my skills for the benefit of others. Doing something you enjoy that has a positive impact on others is the best feeling.
What do you do for AmeriCorps VISTA? I am the Parent Workshop Coordinator. I coordinate various workshops that support the needs of parents in the Waynesville R-VI School district. These workshops cover many topics including parenting and relationship workshops to disaster preparedness.
What have you learned about your community through AmeriCorps VISTA? I've never quite realized how diverse the needs of people in this community are! And there are so many people in this community who go above and beyond to satisfy those needs. A lot of the work done is thankless and goes unnoticed , but you can be sure that if a problem arises, someone will do something about it. It makes me very proud to work amongst such big hearted folks.
How is working/volunteering for AmeriCorps VISTA different from other positions you have held in the past? Working with AmeriCorps VISTA has been an adventure. On more than one occasion I have found myself feeling apathetic due to project complications, lack of resources or just plain exhaustion. When you sign up for AmeriCorps VISTA you commit yourself to the program 24/7. I have never held a position like this before. However, there are moments I experience that remind me of what I'm doing and why I decided to do it in the first place.
Why did you decide to work for AmeriCorps VISTA? I've always enjoyed working with people. I originally thought a Hospitality profession would be best suited for me, but after volunteering regularly with the Head Start program I decided to try work in a non-for profit environment. AmeriCorps VISTA seemed like the best route to take. It would give me hands on experience and help me to determine if this was the right field for me. I can happily say that is! In this position I have had many opportunities to explore my talents and even learn new skills. And the money for school isn't half bad!
What are you most proud of from your time spent as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member?
I've been given the chance to do a lot of marketing for our program. I'm very proud to represent AmeriCorps VISTA at job fairs and various community networking meetings. I'm a chatter box if you will and its great to put my "powers" to good. Im also very proud to be able to work alongside people who have experience and are willing to pass along helpful tips and useful information. Its a wonderful experience.
About AmeriCorps VISTA
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 40 years. Waynesville VISTA members serve full-time for one year at the Waynesville R-VI School District or nonprofit community organization.