VISTAs end their term, move forward to new beginnings

Our Americorps VISTA volunteers have been with us for a year and done some amazing things. Now they are on to bigger and better things, but they’re not going too far.

Kaley Horton, VISTA for UWATX’s Success By 6 program, has been focused on our Play To Learn project: a strategic initiative to bring high-quality services to Austin’s most vulnerable children at local libraries and other accessible neighborhood locations.

“I could quickly tell from my interactions with partner agencies and people from the community that United Way was something exceptional, something special – I was proud to be a part of it,” said Kaley.

This year alone, Kaley ensured that 55 families completed this 8-week program. Because of Kaley’s successful leadership and grant funding from Samsung, she will continue to manage this project beyond her VISTA service, helping 200 families complete the program.

Steven Olender spent a year managing the Youth Program Quality initiative, a part of our Target Graduation program that works to address the need for quality standards in out-of-school programs. Working with more than 50 organizations, Steven coordinated more than 80 assessments of afterschool and summer programs that serve youth and 23 related trainings.  Steven also researched, analyzed and wrote the 2012 Early Care and Education Survey and assisted in teaching the Volunteer Project Leadership class at Webb Middle School, part of our Target Graduation program.

“I’m incredibly proud to come to work every day at United Way because we bring together community members to address not simply the symptoms of poverty, but to work for long-term, sustainable solutions,” said Steven.

Continuing his efforts on behalf of UWATX, Steven is joining the Resource Development team as a Campaign Associate.

In a short amount of time, Steven and Kaley have not only embraced the vision of UWATX, they have shaped it. We are grateful for both their measurable and immeasurable contributions and are happy they will continue to support a greater Austin!


About our participation in the VISTA Program:

Since 2009, United Way for Greater Austin has been the proud recipient of volunteers from the Americorps VISTA program. The program is a national service initiative designed specifically to fight poverty, and these volunteers dedicate themselves full-time to supporting the programs that serve our children and families throughout the Austin area.

Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, about 6,500 members are placed nationally each year to build capacity of organizations fighting illiteracy, fostering economic development, and otherwise assisting low-income communities. These individuals receive a very modest living allowance to tackle very large issues one year at a time.

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