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Tapping the Community for Non-cash Resources: The AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Program

July 15, 2009

With the recent economic downturn, families and businesses alike are feeling the strain of limited resources. Nonprofits are no exception to this trend. While demand for the services provided by these organizations is increasing, donations are slowing down, and traditional sources of funding are becoming more and more scarce.

Luckily, not all resources are drying up; volunteerism is at an all-time high! In a strategic effort to address this increase in service, Volunteer San Diego is participating in a new California Volunteers AmeriCorps state program called the Volunteer Infrastructure Program (VIP). The VIP has placed 10 AmeriCorps members in 17 local organizations throughout San Diego County that specifically serve youth and families affected by the economic crisis. The 10 AmeriCorps members are working to help develop each organization’s capacity to recruit, train and place new volunteers. With sustainability in mind, the program intends to create a greater capacity throughout the community to tap into specific skill sets that will help the organizations provide service to the increased clientele base.

In times like these, we have to turn to collaboration and creative solutions to get by day to day. Developing a greater capacity to engage community members in meaningful volunteer service throughout the community will help us create and maintain a positive culture of volunteerism and service in our community and set a standard for creative cooperative solutions nationwide.

-Jared McCannell, Americorps Program Coordinator
Volunteer San Diego

Read what the VIP members have to say:

“I had been wanting to volunteer full-time, but I did not have the resources to do so. AmeriCorps provided me with that opportunity, and now I can do what I love, have my needs met, gain valuable experience, and benefit humanity–all at the same time.”

-Zaira Rodriguez

“Originally, my intention for becoming an AmeriCorps VIP with Volunteer San Diego was to test my skills and challenge myself in a proactive way in the community. Then, I realized that I would be ‘getting things done for America.’ Because of my desire to serve, I moved across the country from Indiana. My enthusiasm for volunteering continues to be nurtured by my involvement at my site agency eXcel Youth Zone.”

-Allie Chi

“I am excited to join the AmeriCorps VIP program at Volunteer San Diego because I believe in people coming together as a community to address their challenges, and I want to be a part of that by facilitating volunteerism in these challenging times.”

-Michael Kolbas

“I’ve been volunteering for almost 10 years and was looking for a way to inspire others to also volunteer. The AmeriCorps VIP program allows me to establish volunteer programs at nonprofit organizations in San Diego. Through these programs I, and future volunteer coordinators, will be able to reach out to hundreds of new volunteers and share our passions with them.”

-Nicole Ritchie

“Life is all about opportunities! In my life I’ve had many opportunities that were made available through volunteer and nonprofit agencies such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, Phoenix Valley Christian Center, Summer Youth Sports Programs and many others. Now, at this point in my life, I have a chance to give back. The AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Program offers me the opportunity to make a lasting meaningful impact on the service community.”

-Eddie Trotter

“I just relocated to San Diego from Greensboro, NC for the AmeriCorps VIP position. I’m really enthusiastic about community service, and I joined AmeriCorps to share my passion with the community.”

-Amanda Mitchell

“I recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. I am proud to be working with Casa de Amparo and Episcopal Community Services, which are two extremely valuable nonprofit organizations in San Diego County.”

-Jessica Hittelman

“I joined the AmeriCorps because I wanted to give back to the community.”

-Harmandeep Hira

“I love volunteering because of the relationships I get to develop with people.
With AmeriCorps, I am a Refugee Resettlement Volunteer Coordinator for Jewish Family Service, a nonprofit organization in San Diego responsible for resettling over 200 refugees per year, which primarily consist of Iraqi and Burmese individuals. I look forward to spring-boarding a ripple effect from my new position and contributing to the greater cause of helping one another.”

-Thomas Stein

I joined AmeriCorps after graduating from UCLA. A year of service with AmeriCorps allows me to give back to the community. Working with Rolling Readers and Junior Achievement is a great way to help youth see the value in education and to give them the tools they need to succeed.

-Arthur Tovar

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