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City of Cedar Rapids Community Outreach and Engagement VISTA

Volunteer Iowa
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The City of Cedar Rapids, IA seeks a full-time Community Outreach and Engagement VISTA to expand organizational capacity to equitably engage community members. Located in east Central Iowa, Cedar Rapids is the state’s second largest city with approximately 135,000 residents. The VISTA member will play an integral part in the development of new volunteer engagement processes and services, including a pilot Snow Buddy Program. Additionally, the VISTA will implement strategies to support municipal age-friendly, climate action, and neighborhood planning efforts along with other outreach and engagement projects and processes.

Service Activities

The Community Outreach and Engagement VISTA will develop and implement effective community engagement strategies to connect residents with City opportunities and inform City programs and initiatives. The VISTA member will support a more inclusive and walkable community through the development of a pilot Snow Buddy program for vulnerable populations and establish procedures for winter walkability assessments. The VISTA will expand the development of the Municipal Volunteer Program and public outreach, engagement, and tracking though several planning initiatives, including the Climate Action Plan, Neighborhood and Area Plans, and Age-Friendly Action Plan. Engagement and outreach efforts will have a strong focus on vulnerable populations. There is potential to gain geospatial information system (GIS) skills to support these initiatives. The VISTA will develop volunteer and engagement tracking procedures and gain volunteer management experience.

Community Need Addressed

US Census (ACS 2015-2019 estimates) show 11% of Cedar Rapids' population lives in poverty,16% are aged 65 or better and nearly half of the community's population growth was from immigrants between 2012-2017. Social capital built among diverse community members helps create new connections between vulnerable community members and make resources available within the community.

Position Outcomes

The VISTA will support innovative programs and service delivery models, with particular focus on vulnerable populations in Cedar Rapids through equitable outreach and engagement. The VISTA member will play an integral part in the development of new processes and services, as well as with implementation of sustainable strategies to support municipal age-friendly, climate action, neighborhood planning and other outreach and engagement efforts. The VISTA member will be key to expand organizational capacity to reduce poverty and build community resilience, sustainability, and equity.


Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training

VISTA Members may choose between an education award or a cash stipend for their end of service benefit.

Competencies You Will Develop

Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Turn taking, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Capable of generating possible solutions, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Derive consensus, Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Anticipate the consequences of decisions, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them, Quickly respond with a back-up plan if a decision goes amiss
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Consistently choose the best tool or technological solution for the problem at hand, Operate tools and equipment in accordance with established operating procedures, safety standards, and ethical guidelines, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Create environment of contribution, Create plan of action, schedule tasks so that work is completed on time, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Drive decision making, Effectively delegate tasks, Facilitate group planning, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Evaluate customer or client satisfaction, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Recognize the importance of maintaining privacy and confidentiality of those being served, Understand and anticipate the needs of others, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment
  • Activity Types Office Activities
  • Focus Areas Community & Nonprofit Development, Economic Security, Public Safety
  • Length of Service 12 Months
  • Education Requirements High School Graduate
  • Placement Individual Placement
  • Service Setting Local Government Agency
  • Weekly Training Hours 1

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