AmeriCorps-ButtonsEach June, AmeriCorps Alums, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and their partners celebrate #AmeriGrad through social media and online and through on-the-ground events. Up2Us Sports is proud to partner with AmeriCorps and CNCS on the VISTA program. During the 2015-2016 year, we placed 24 AmeriCorps VISTAs with Up2Us Sports member organizations plus four VISTAs and one VISTA Leader internally with Up2Us Sports.

Before the end of their term, we took some time to chat with six VISTAs – four of who will be returning for their second term, and two who are finishing up their second term. We asked them: What motivated you to serve for a second year of AmeriCorps VISTA?

Here’s what they said.

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Candace Burton
Asphalt Green Community Programs and Development Associate, 2015-2016
Up2Us Sports VISTA Leader 2016-2017

“I joined AmeriCorps VISTA for a second year because I had a great experience the first time. There is nothing like working at a nonprofit and seeing the long-term impact you can make in a year.”

 

Kathryn Esty
Up2Us Sports Research, Training and Evaluation Associate, 2014-2015
Up2Us Sports VISTA Leader, 2015-2016

“I am grateful for AmeriCorps VISTA for enabling me to be a part of Up2Us Sports, a fantastic organization doing meaningful work that is so important in the fight for poverty alleviation. What motivated me to serve a second term as the Up2Us Sports VISTA Leader was the desire to support every VISTA member affiliated with Up2Us Sports so they can have the best service experience possible, and graduate successfully having built capacity in the sports-based youth development community.”

 

David Fowler
Soccer Without Borders Development and Operations Associate
2014-2015, 2015-2016

“My VISTA experience with Soccer Without Borders has been incredibly rewarding, and I have grown a lot during my service. As the end of my first term was coming to a close, I knew I had so much more to learn from – and hopefully give back to – my organization that a second term was really a no-brainer!”

 

Jon Lee
Youth Run NOLA Development Associate
2015-2016, 2016-2017

“In serving a second year, I will bypass the learning curve experienced from year one. I know I will have even more of an impact by leveraging funds through grant writing, grant and donor management and crafting my development plan from the previous year, to ensure the long term sustainability of Youth Run NOLA.”

 

Dane Moist
Up2Us Sports Development Associate
2015-2016, 2016-2017

“When deciding whether or not to stay on for a second year, I thought about the initial interview with my host site and one question in particular: “Why do you want to work with this nonprofit?” I was able to answer it easily: “I want to work with this nonprofit because I want to create lasting, sustainable, and positive change in the lives of people.” Was I able to do this in one year? In some ways, yes. Will I be able to do this in two years? Definitely. Change that truly affects the outlook for underserved people positively is something that can’t be rushed and should be done with the utmost care – that’s why I needed to serve with AmeriCorps VISTA for another year.”

 

Sam Pastor
Up2Us Sports Monitoring & Evaluation Associate
2015-2016, 2016-2017

“I’m excited to serve a 2nd term with Up2Us Sports because this is an amazing organization where I feel supported and have the ability to grow.”

 

Neshat Yazdani
Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership Program Evaluation Assistant
2015-2016, 2016-2017

“What motivated me to serve for a second year with HLL was seeing my program in action during my first year as a VISTA.  It’s one thing when you hear about how a program works in theory and the impact it aims to have, but then when you see the program operating in real life, you realize that its impact reaches far beyond anything that you can measure in stats or explain in words – that’s why I chose to stay for a second year with HLL.  I am excited to see how the program grows in my next year here.”