Volunteer Iowa Honored with Harris Wofford Award for Work on Youth Service
Volunteer Iowa has been selected as a winner of a 2022 Harris Wofford Common Good Award for our work as a Youth Service Zone grantee with Youth Service America. Volunteer Iowa was honored for their efforts to increase youth participation in service. This award is the highest honor Youth Service America gives each year and it carries significant prestige since it is named after one of our nation’s greatest public servants, Senator Harris Wofford. The award was presented virtually on Tuesday, August 9th. Click to watch the award ceremony.
Volunteer Iowa Awards $11.7 Million for State AmeriCorps Programs
Volunteer Iowa has awarded $9.18 million in grant funding received from AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and community volunteerism. Volunteer Iowa administers the AmeriCorps State funds to 21 programs statewide, including four new programs this year. These grants will support more than 800 AmeriCorps members in Iowa who will serve with nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations across the state. In addition, $76,000 has been awarded for two planning grants to support organizations interested in exploring and launching new AmeriCorps programs in the near future.
Programs across the state are currently recruiting AmeriCorps members to serve in the coming year. Iowa AmeriCorps members may be eligible to receive benefits including a living allowance, health care, childcare, and the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Visit AmeriCorps Iowa Programs to search and apply for AmeriCorps positions in Iowa. Visit the Volunteer Iowa website for additional details.
Iowa Afterschool Alliance and Volunteer Iowa Receive Grant to Support Afterschool Programs in Iowa
A longtime supporter of afterschool programming, America’s Service Commissions (ASC) recently announced that the Iowa Afterschool Alliance and Volunteer Iowa are among the five organizational partnerships selected to receive two-year grants to support the expansion or creation of afterschool programs in their respective states. Funding for these grants — a total of $340,000 — is made possible by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which is committed to supporting efforts that promote a just, equitable, and sustainable society.
Each grant is awarded to a collaborative partnership between a statewide afterschool network and a state service commission. A summary of how the funds will be used is listed below.
Iowa Afterschool Alliance and Volunteer Iowa
The Iowa Afterschool Alliance plans to use its grant funds to support afterschool initiatives, including programs serving high populations of low-income students, small programs, and underfunded programs — particularly those that have an emphasis on STEM education and creating access to high-quality STEM for all Iowa students.
For more information, including details regarding other state awards, visit the Volunteer Iowa website.
9/11 Day of Service
Join Iowans from across the state as we come together on September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance to complete service projects aimed at addressing needs within our communities. Through acts of service, we can transform the annual of remembrance of 9/11 into a day of unity and doing good and keep our promise to “never forget.” If you are planning a Day of Service activity, we encourage you to register your event with us. By registering your project, each organization will receive a kick-off kit with special content to help launch your day and promote continued service!
Looking for opportunities to serve? Visit Get Connected to find local volunteer opportunities and service day events.
Skills-Based Volunteerism Boot Camp
Get your organization ready to leverage skilled volunteers! Hosted by the Volunteer Centers of Iowa, in Partnership with Volunteer Iowa, the Skills-Based Volunteer (SBV) Workshop can help you bring skills-based volunteering to your organization. The five-part interactive virtual workshop sessions (September 22, 29, October 6, 13 & 20 from 10- noon) with homework that will jump-start your SBV program. Cost is $150 for SBV 101 webinar and 5-part series. Register today!
Engaging Youth in Service Training Opportunities
Volunteer Iowa is hosting two sessions focused on youth service. For organizations, join us as we discuss newly identified barriers to youth service. Volunteer Iowa and our youth volunteers continue to survey and hold focus groups on youth perspectives on service and we are eager to share our findings with organizations. After our share-out, we will transition to a discussion and have organizations share barriers they have experienced with youth service. We will work collectively to address these barriers and use the conversation to help shape resources and trainings Volunteer Iowa offers in the future. This session will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 13th at 10:00 AM. Register for this virtual session.
Youth and adult partners are invited to attend a training on “What’s your Why?” The session will lead participants (youth and the adults who work with them) through an exercise in identifying the issues that truly resonate for them - the problems, injustices, challenges that they feel a connection to, and for which they feel compelled to take action. Once identified, we will brainstorm the ways youth can get engaged in addressing the issues. Additionally, we’ll discuss the importance of meaningful service and discuss how even the smallest of acts make an impact will be held on September 11th at 6:00 PM. Register here.
Welcome New AmeriCorps VISTA Isidro Gonzalez
Isidro Gonzalez joined the Volunteer Iowa team on Monday, August 15 as the Service-Learning AmeriCorps VISTA. Isidro grew up in Boone, Iowa and graduated from Boone High School in 2017. He pursued his associate’s degree in Liberal Arts at DMACC, and plans to attend Iowa State University after his AmeriCorps VISTA service year to study linguistics and world languages.
Prior to his AmeriCorps VISTA service, Isidro worked as a library assistant at the DMACC Boone Campus. He also worked as a direct support professional with Easterseals Iowa, providing respite and supported community living services. From October 2021 to June 2022, he served with AmeriCorps NCCC Pacific Region. He served on a team working on environmental service projects across California in collaboration with the California Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They created and maintained trail systems, removed trash from natural spaces, implemented wildfire prevention methods, and assisted the California BLM with their mission to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Isidro says, “I loved my experience with AmeriCorps NCCC, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve.”
In his free time, Isidro enjoys biking, hiking, rollerblading, reading, playing piano, studying languages and singing. He also likes to play video games, stream TV shows and watch YouTube videos. “I absolutely love science and space, so Kurzgesagt and Melodysheep are my favorite YouTube channels,” Isidro adds.
“I’m thrilled to be serving with Volunteer Iowa and I look forward to making lasting impacts on youth service-learning initiatives in the state of Iowa,” Isidro states. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Summer AmeriCorps VISTA Wrap Up
The Volunteer Iowa summer AmeriCorps VISTA program is a fantastic chance for organizations hosting VISTA projects to be able to strengthen their organizational capabilities and complete time intensive projects. As the summer VISTA program comes to an end, the Volunteer Iowa staff reflect on the activities and incredible accomplishments of our 17 AmeriCorps VISTA summer members and what they’ve completed over their 10- week terms of service. The summer, as we all know, is always a whirlwind time that really begins as quickly as it subsides. We had a great cohort of summer members from various organizations which included NAMI South Central & Southwest Iowa, Please Pass the Love, Volunteer Iowa, Disaster PrepWise, and ArtHaus. Along with the flexible time-commitment of 8, 9, or 10 weeks, they had the chance to do something incredibly impactful for their local communities. As one summer VISTA member stated, “AmeriCorps is a wonderful experience for everyone. I think it gives someone a great idea of what a job in that area could be like, while helping out others in the area. I feel volunteerism leaves people with a feeling of having done something good for someone else.”
Summer AmeriCorps VISTA members were empowered to engage with their communities and aid in the creation of new initiatives that will leave long lasting effects for community members which resulted in over 7,000 hours of National Service. Anyone interested in hosting a VISTA member is encouraged to reach out to the Volunteer Iowa VISTA Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how the VISTA program can help elevate your organization and initiatives. We look forward to next summer as we continue to grow opportunities for our programs to get things done!
Service in the News
- 100 volunteers needed for Northwest Iowa RSVP pen pal program
- Get to know your avian neighbors and explore Iowa City parks on Green Iowa's Neighborhood Bird Walks
- Volunteer Iowa awards grants to state AmeriCorps programs
- Students volunteer to clear invasive plants from the North High School Rain Garden
- Iowa Afterschool Alliance, Volunteer Iowa receive 2-year grant
- Volunteer Iowa holds listening session in Creston
- Passing the Baton: Adams passes AmeriCorps Member position to Holiday
- Multiple opportunities for volunteering in Cedar Valley
Current Volunteer Iowa and AmeriCorps VISTA Openings
Volunteer with us! Find volunteer opportunities with Volunteer Iowa: http://volunteeriowa.galaxydigital.com/agency/detail/?agency_id=34447#agency-carousel
- Volunteer Iowa seeks a detail-oriented volunteer to assist with improvements to the statewide Get Connected database. This database provides the ability for individuals and groups across the state to find and register for meaningful volunteer opportunities and improves the ability for nonprofits and organizations who are in need of volunteer assistance to have those needs met. The volunteer will ensure the information contained in the database is up-to-date, create resources to ensure usability of the site, and develop a promotion plan to reach organizations and individuals who could benefit from the service. This opportunity can be completed virtually and scheduled at the volunteer’s discretion. To learn more or sign up, visit: http://volunteeriowa.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=725864
Current AmeriCorps VISTA openings in Iowa: https://www.volunteeriowa.org/volunteeriowa-vista-recruitment
- September: National Preparedness Month
- September: Hunger Action Month
- September 5: Labor Day (Volunteer Iowa office closed)
- September 6: National Read a Book Day
- September 11: 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance
- September 20: National Voter Registration Day
- September 28: National Good Neighbor Day
- October 5: National Do Something Nice Day
- October 10: World Mental Health Day
- October 22: National Make a Difference Day
- October 27: National Civics Day
- October 30: National Speak Up for Service Day
Looking for a way to give back? Visit Get Connected today to find volunteer opportunities. Organizations can post volunteer opportunities on Get Connected as well at no cost.