The Volunteer Road
We know that getting started with AmeriCorps funding opportunities can be challenging, so start here! Answer the following question to find out if your organization is eligible for AmeriCorps funding:
1) Is your organization a public or private nonprofit organization – including labor organizations, faith-based and other community organizations; an institution of higher education; a government entity within the State of Nevada; an Indian tribe; or a partnership or consortia?
2) Does your organization file as a 501c3, 501c4, 501c5, or 501c6 with the IRS?
3) Does your organization’s plan for utilizing AmeriCorps members address specific unmet community needs in the areas of disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and/or veterans and military families?
If you answered yes to all three of these questions then you may qualify for AmeriCorps funding! AmeriCorps state funding gives your organization the opportunity to hire AmeriCorps members to expand your program and your reach in Nevada.
How did their service experience impact their journeys? What doors will AmeriCorps open for you?
Yoana Chavez- From Stipend to Salary
Yoana Chavez served two terms as an AmeriCorps member in Winnemucca, NV, at the Frontier Community Action Agency. After graduating high school, serving her community as an AmeriCorps member at FCAA was a great opportunity to help her community while continuing her education at Great Basin College. When asked about her experience serving as an AmeriCorps member she said, “Joining AmeriCorps was one of the best decisions that I made! It was a great opportunity to get involved in the community and meet new people. AmeriCorps supports public service as well as education. After completing my contract hours with AmeriCorps I received an education award. This helped me so much in paying for my college classes for my Bachelors degree! I would definitely recommend AmeriCorps. Not only do they help with school, it’s also a great way to meet people and create lifelong friendships as well as give back to the community!”
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Nevada Volunteers certifies Immunize Nevada as a Service Enterprise
RENO|LAS VEGAS, February 21st, 2018 – Nevada Volunteers, the Governor’s commission on service, is pleased to announce Immunize Nevada has achieved certification as a Service Enterprise, testifying to the fact Immunize Nevada has effective volunteer management processes in place. As a certified Service Enterprise, Immunize Nevada leverages volunteers and their skills to strengthen organizational capacity, better deliver on the organization’s social mission, and offer the volunteer a more fulfilling experience.
Nevada Volunteers presented the Executive Director, Heidi Parker, the Service Enterprise certification on February 21st, 2018. Immunize Nevada is Nevada’s sixth certified Service Enterprise and joins the national network of only 340 organizations certified as a Service Enterprise.
“Committing to and completing the Service Enterprise process not only has created a culture of volunteerism throughout our entire organization, but it also positively impacted how our entire team approaches volunteer roles and responsibilities. From questions like “Is that something a volunteer can do?” to including them in tasks like project evaluation – we now look at all opportunities through a service-focused lens.” Heidi Parker – Executive Director
United States’ Presidents and National Service
Service to others is a core value of our country. U.S. presidents throughout history have been instrumental in creating the programs to support national service. This President’s Day, we remember presidents, starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt, and their contributions to National Service and AmeriCorps.
Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order on April 5, 1933 and created the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of his New Deal legislation in response to the Great Depression. This monumental initiative not only employed around four million young people, but also helped shape the national and state park systems we enjoy today. Some of the accomplishments of this program include, planting over 3.5 Billion trees, constructing trails and shelters in more the 800 parks nationwide and clearing and maintaining access roads. In 1942 when World War II began, the Civilian Conservation Corps was dissolved to utilize all resources for the war effort. Fortunately, this program was highly regarded among the public and eventually inspired the creation of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in 1992.
To develop and manage an AmeriCorps Program is a big decision. There are many factors to consider, but you shouldn’t let the below reasons deter you! AmeriCorps Programs bring dedicated community members to address real needs throughout Nevada. Nevada Volunteers is here to help you develop and implement a great program and give community members the ability to connect with your organization, your mission, and your community–creating a stronger Nevada.
1) We don’t have the capacity to manage a federal grant
The policies and procedures needed to manage federal grants strengthen organizations. Don’t have them in place yet? Apply for a planning grant. Nevada Volunteers will provide funding of up to $75,000 for your organization to spend up to 12 months developing these policies and procedures so that you can manage federal grants. During this time, you will attend Nevada AmeriCorps trainings specifically designed to improve organizational and program capacity, meet other AmeriCorps program directors from across the state, and work with consultants who understand AmeriCorps. You’ll come to the end of the year with the policies and procedures in place to run an impactful AmeriCorps program, and your organization will become much stronger in the process.
AmeriCorps week is here and Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation (TMPF) is ready to celebrate. The leadership at TMPF believes in the true power of National Service and what AmeriCorps does for our community, which is why they chose AmeriCorps as the best way to grow our Student Stewards Program.
The Student Stewards Program at TMPF gets kids excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subjects through hands on experiential outdoor adventures in local parks. Our AmeriCorps members have helped thousands of students steward our parks through citizen science, which is certainly something to celebrate in my book.
As if that wasn’t enough to celebrate, raising $100,000 per year in matching funds is an annual challenge that luckily our community supports. Our community has come together through local grants, donations, and sponsorships to ensure this valuable program continues. Without your support we would not be able to impact so many children.
Nevada Volunteers is proud to announce the second certified Service Enterprise (SE) in Nevada, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association (TRTA) that achieved certification on June 6, 2016. While the Tahoe Rim Trail Association has always been a volunteer-centered organization, they began the Service Enterprise process in the summer of 2015 with the goal of strengthening their volunteer practices. Going through the Service Enterprise process required the staff to pause and reflect on practices, regardless of if they were working well, to see if they could be strengthened to better leverage volunteers.
The Service Enterprise process teaches organizations how to calculate Return on Volunteer Investment (ROVI) and then requires staff to calculate ROVI for the organization and each program. TRTA staff noticed in their ROVI that the free-guided hikes program, while utilizing volunteers didn’t have a high return on investment. TRTA made adjustments such as making sure every guided hike has an educational component through which participants learn useful skills and knowledge. This added educational component assured TRTA the effort made by volunteers in offering the program is also strategically aligned to help them meet their mission.
Stephanie D’Arcy and Valerie Gillette, of the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum, jumped for joy as they accepted the Service Enterprise Certification from Nevada Volunteers on March 28, 2016. They are the first certified Service Enterprise (SE) in the state of Nevada and among only 210 nationwide. A week before receiving the certification, Mat Sinclair the Executive Director, Stephanie D’Arcy, the Visitor Services Director, and Valerie Gillette, the Volunteer Coordinator, sat around their conference table with the SE Certification team from Nevada Volunteers and discussed all they accomplished in the past eleven months since they began the SE process. The Discovery Museum staff made huge strides in incorporating volunteers at all levels of the organization and embedding the change into their culture.
The Discovery Museum began their Service Enterprise journey last spring and as a result of the Service Enterprise process, incorporated new SE strategies into their volunteer program and organization. They refined the process for bringing volunteers into the organization and supporting them throughout their time at the museum. They added information to the volunteer handbook and expanded and improved the volunteer position descriptions. Because of the new strategies, the Discovery was able to recruit more skilled volunteers and find volunteers that fit the roles they needed.
Walking into the offices of Volunteer Services at Washoe County School District (WCSD), the first thing you will notice among the close desks and cubicles are the smiles of the staff and the volunteers that work with them. It hasn’t always been this way though. There was a time when the offices of the people in the department were in multiple buildings, some blocks away from one another, and the grinning faces weren’t so apparent.
A couple things have changed that brought these positive vibes to the office place. Volunteer Services moved to a new office building in March of 2015; now all the staff are located in one place. They also started the process to become a certified Service Enterprise. A Service Enterprise is an organization that leverages volunteers across all of levels of the organization through a facilitated change process that creates positive changes for the staff and the culture of an organization. This change process is about more than volunteer engagement, it builds capacity by incorporating volunteers into every area of the organization.
A reflection on the power of volunteerism
by Amber Martin-Jahn Executive Director Nevada Volunteers
Last week I spoke at our 13th Annual Governor’s Points of Light Awards. What an inspiring event! At the morning reception honoring all the finalists I was awed by the ability of these individuals and organizations to transform volunteer service into good for their communities.
The finalists and award recipients re-affirm that volunteerism is powerful. It is powerful and it is good for Nevada.
Volunteering is also a purposeful act. It is a choice. At some point each of the finalists, individuals and organizations decided to take action and that action resulted in a power of good for Nevada. It might have started as a little spark of wanting to make a difference, or wanting to change something and today it is something so much bigger, something deserving of recognition, something that is powerful.
Volunteerism is powerful and it is good for Nevada. But what is it that moved each of these finalists to get involved?
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