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Words of Wisdom from Vanessa Schaefer

9 Dec

I was reading an interview with Vanessa Schaefer, a Greater Homewood Community Cooperation VISTA serving in Baltimore, MD about her year of service and I was struck by this response:

Every VISTA has a lot of ups and downs during their year. What was the toughest thing you had to deal with, and what/who got you through it?
The toughest thing I had to deal with was that early in my year, I was assaulted while in Washington, DC. Being in the midst of making new friends after having just moved alone across the country and started a new job, this added a whole other level of stress to the situation. What got me through it was making friends and pressing through the red tape to take advantage of the benefits AmeriCorps offers its members. Building a support system and utilizing the few resources you do have as a VISTA cannot be touted enough.
I think Vanessa’s resilience is amazing and I agree, a support system is the most important thing we can have as VISTAs. Support systems help you find new resources in the community and across the country whether you need vet bills or simply a free hug when times are tough.
And this might be one of the best pieces of advice anyone can give to a VISTA:
If you could say one thing to people just starting their year of service, what would it be?
Just go with it. It will probably be one of the strangest years of your life, and possibly one of the most difficult, but it’s definitely worth it and you’ll learn a lot. Keep your sense of humor and just go with it.
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VISTA Gives Ladies in Poverty a Lift

30 Nov

You may try to convince yourself that secretly telling people the color of your bra on Facebook is helping the world but this is a way better way to get the women in your life involved in making a difference. Sara Stout saw a problem and she thought of an innovative way to engage people to fix it.

From the Billings Gazette:

Certainly one of the most uplifting stories of generosity is the bra drive organized by Sara Stout, a Vista-AmeriCorps volunteer at The Hub, 515 N. 27th St. Recognizing that homeless women usually can’t afford proper lingerie, Stout started a campaign last month to collect bras for “ladies in poverty.”

As of this week, 1,300 bras had been donated, mostly brand-new apparel. Additionally, two national businesses have pledged to donate a large number of new bras to The Hub, according to manager Joe Chalupa.

The bra project drew great support from Montana State University College of Nursing students who helped publicize the effort and held health classes for homeless and seriously mentally ill women at The Hub. Some of the donated lingerie has already been distributed to women who use The Hub, more is in the Hub clothing closet and hundreds of bras will be donated to Project Homeless Connect, the annual Billings effort to reach homeless individuals throughout the community. Project Homeless Connect is set for Jan. 26 at the Shrine Auditorium.

Let’s give thanks for all those who give selflessly and generously in our community in so many ways.

Could ladies in poverty in your community use a lift? I don’t think the women in Billing, MT are the only ones who could use some VISTA power.
Thanks for the article @Illumin8Poverty!