By the Waynesville R-VI Community Resource Office
Special to GUIDON
A team of eight AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates have completed service projects in the communities of Waynesville, St. Robert and Fort Leonard Wood.
With the goal of making a positive impact in their community, the VSA team partnered with several community organizations. The team also had the goal of completing projects within the six focus areas of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which include disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures and veterans and military families. Community organizations provided a different style of service project that allowed the VSA team to meet the needs in all six areas, while also having the opportunity to experience personal, professional and team growth.
VISTA member Chase Den Dekker coordinated and facilitated the projects with community organizations, as well as led the team, which was comprised of Jessica Santos, Megan Craven, Halle Craven, Evangeline Metzger, Neil Albrecht, John Sneed, David Sneed and Skyeler Crutchfield.
At the Pulaski County Community Organizations Active in Disaster, the team completed projects that assisted the organization with disaster response preparedness, such as inventory and organization of their equipment and supplies.
At the Good Samaritan of the Ozarks Waynesville Thrift Store, the team helped to make the store more organized, stocked the shelves with new donations and assisted with recycling.
The team helped the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau complete a big marketing project, processing materials to promote tourism in the area.
“The tourism and hospitality industry relies on strong partnerships to ensure the economic success of a destination. We greatly appreciate (the) team volunteering,” said Beth Wiles, executive director of the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.
At the USO, the team cleaned and organized the main room, game room and computer room. The team assisted the Waynesville Senior Center with lunch preparation, equipment room organization, food inventory and organization and cleaning the center’s garden. The team was also invited to stay to help with Bingo Day.
At the Waynesville Animal Shelter, the team helped clean kennels, organize the food room and take the dogs on walks.
The team also assisted with preparation for the new school year at Pick Alternative School by building a library and painting student bathrooms.
“Without the amazing efforts of the VSA team this summer, the Pick library would never have been ready for the start of school,” said Amy Cogdill, coordinator of alternative education.
The team also completed projects assisting the VISTA programs of Snack in a Pack and the Waynesville Community Garden.
“Our summer associates were able to accomplish a wide variety of tasks during their brief period of service. We are so glad to have this opportunity to provide this assistance to our community. We appreciate the many groups and organizations that partnered with us in order to provide these service opportunities for our summer members,” said Courtney Long, Director of Community Resources.
The Community Resource Office is a grant-supported department of the Waynesville R-VI School District that manages district volunteers, AmeriCorps school tutors, Club TIGER Afterschool Program, Snack in a Pack Program, College and Career Readiness, Service Learning, and more.