VISTAs join UWATX to gather data, bolster services & increase outreach

This summer, more than 30 summer AmeriCorps VISTA members, the domestic version of the Peace Corps, are joining UWATX to help make Austin greater by collecting data, participating in outreach and providing support for our partners.

“This project is a true testament to what UWATX can do – we’ve brought together more than 15 Austin organizations to support a series of vital projects,” said Peter  Kretzschmar, Vice President of Strategic Programs at UWATX.

UWATX Summer VISTAs in trainingVISTAs will spend their ten weeks helping:

  • Provide bilingual story time at the Austin Public Library – In our work to connect families to community services, UWATX found a need for more library support in East Austin.  VISTAs will help create materials, translate and facilitate story time for families throughout the summer to fill this gap.
  • Create a first-of-its-kind survey of out-of-school time programs in the Greater Austin area – Currently, there is no comprehensive data on the availability or quality of programs for students outside of school. This research project would be a first step to get a sense of the landscape of services.
  • Teach early math activities at Success By 6 child care centers. To free up center staff for professional development and provide high-quality education, VISTAs will teach a math curriculum and serve as general classroom assistants. 
  • Assess language skills at Success By 6 child care centers – By assessing these skills early, UWATX will have a baseline to measure future progress.
  • Raise awareness about 2-1-1 – VISTAs will reach out to the top 100 referred agencies in the 10-county area to raise awareness about the UWATX Navigation Center.

In addition, some VISTAs will work on research and development projects including reviewing existing programs, locating grant opportunities and writing proposals for various nonprofits as well as supporting the City of Austin’s grant proposal process.

“We’ve been working with VISTAs since 2008. VISTAs have allowed UWATX to create, manage, and innovate unique efforts that would have otherwise been impossible,” said Kretzschmar. “This partnership with the University of Texas, the City of Austin and AmeriCorps  among so many others, is an exciting step forward.”


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