32 dedicated summer VISTAs gave 9K+ hours of service this summer to make Austin greater

This summer, 32 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates joined UWATX to gather data, bolster services & increase outreach. Three months later, they’ve given more than nine thousand hours of service and accomplished quite a bit:


Hours of services our 32 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates gave to our community this summer

  • Implemented research-based math curriculum  in 17 preschool classrooms reaching over 230 preschool children

  • Assessed over 270 preschool children’s receptive language skills to establish baseline for on-going data collection

  • Translated more than 100 popular children’s titles to increase the Austin Public Library‘s bilingual youth collection

  • Facilitated over 20 youth programming events for the Austin Public Libraries

  • Assisted with bilingual preschool storytimes for more than 500 families

  • Expanded the Out-of-School-Time Mapping Study by surveying 133 for-profit and nonprofit agencies

  • Collected information about family resource centers and rural service providers to expand 2-1-1’s resource database

From working with our youngest and most vulnerable children to reaching out to rural counties to provide education about available services, the story of what our AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates did this summer goes well beyond numbers:

  • “After one event, I was approached by a parent and her young child. She expressed concern about not knowing how to provide a good book for her child who was starting first grade next year because she was not able to speak or read in English. I recommended some books and tried to provide some sense of encouragement. She was very grateful. The VISTA member in me, felt an even greater sense of pride to have been at the right place at the right time, considering the branch I was assisting at had no Spanish speaking help otherwise.” — Crystal Galvan, Bilingual Storytime Assistant VISTA for Success By 6

  • “By providing 211 presentations to our peripheral counties, we were able to help organizations become both more connected to one another and better known by people in need of assistance.  This side of the project really allowed me to understand the grassroots efforts necessary to create a strong network of services and resources.” — Leahanne Giffin, Financial Opportunity VISTA

My first instinct was to remind [the little boy] it was quiet time, but I paused – this was a boy that struggled to get past “3” when I began, but he counted “8” cars on his blanket.”

  • “As I sat in the classroom during nap time of my last week, I heard a little boy counting. While my first instinct was to remind him it was quiet time and ask him not to wake his friends up, I paused. This was a boy that struggled to get past “3” when I began, but he counted “8” cars on his blanket.” — Kali Fagnant, Success By 6 Classroom Assistant VISTA at St. James Episcopal School

To make this project possible, UWATX worked with the City of Austin, the University of Texas and AmeriCorps and connected to 12 nonprofit and government organizations to get quality services where they were needed.

“The summer project helped us create a system of recruiting, training and managing temporary staff to provide our nonprofit partners with the support they need to do even more and provide quality programs,” said Kaley Horton, Project Coordinator for UWATX’s Success By 6 program. “Now, we’re looking at how to leverage this system in the long-term.”

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