The main purpose of the Shelter Housing Advocate is to serve as a case manager for the shelter guests, connecting them with local community resources to fill both their immediate and future needs.
VEGI serves predominantly outdoors in a garden, with daily transporting between local schools and the program office. Often times, there will be opportunity to be indoors with the students. This position is high in physicality in regards to maintaining a garden space as a classroom and overseeing groups of elementary-aged students.
Case Management Responsibilities:
- Lead new guests through intake process
- Conduct initial interview with guests to evaluate their needs
- Connect guest to medical, mental health, housing, education, transportation, and employment resources
Shelter Management Responsibilities:
- Resolve conflicts between guests & community members
- Collaborate with community volunteers and workgroups to plan and prepare meals
- Fulfill guests’ immediate needs by preparing and serving meals, and aiding their hygiene needs
Youth Education Responsibilities:
- Implement Garden-Science Curriculum Program in grades K-5 in the classroom and the garden at Alamosa Elementary
- Develop and implement fun garden lessons and activities for Alamosa Elementary Summer School students.
- Develop, organize, and lead an educational 10-week summer garden camp for elementary age students.
- Develop lessons, activities and oversee children’s groups that visit the garden in the summer
- Provide and operate a garden-related craft table for kids at the Alamosa Farmers Market
- Oversee overall organic garden production at the Alamosa Elementary School Garden
- Oversee garden operations, including planning and prep, planting and replanting, weeding, watering, harvesting and vegetable distribution.
Garden Coordination and Outreach:
- Manage and utilize social media, maintain relationships with local media outlets and contribute articles, photos and information about garden educational projects and events
- Create good rapport with community by attending community meetings and events, making public presentations, and other opportunities to engage the public and solicit more youth involvement
Plan, Coordinate and Oversee Special Events Including the Following:
- Garden Kick-Off Dinner and Silent Auction Fundraiser- to raise funds specifically used to benefit the school garden and students
- School and youth events including the school carnival, the Boys and Girls club fair, stone soup harvest event, etc.
Community Need Addressed
Across the 9 counties of the Rural Alliance for Dignity, 18% of students will not graduate from high school. Studies have shown that increases in the standards of academic performance are correlated with decreases in high school graduation rates. This demonstrates that in counties with lower standards of education, a high school diploma may not actually be a predictor of future success. This fact coupled with a myriad of cultural and community problems demonstrate that in order for youth to become successful adults, they need much more than basic academic support.
The San Luis Valley is home to three of the four poorest counties in Colorado. Valley wide, the isolation, poverty, geographic expanse, and limited economic opportunities give way to great human need. As a result, financial, housing, and food insecurity are major problems in the region. The Rural Alliance for Dignity AmeriCorps program will provide emergency services to those who are hungry, homeless, or on the verge of becoming homeless, as well as engage the community in the cause through event planning, and volunteer recruitment and management. AmeriCorps members will serve over 700 homeless individuals, stabilize more than 2,000 individuals on the brink of homelessness, and provide emergency food services to more than 11,000 food-insecure individuals.
The Rural Alliance for Dignity will improve high school graduation rates through serving youth with inadequate social, emotional, and academic support; serving families who struggle with extreme economic and housing instability; and serving families and youth who are food insecure and nutritionally deficient. AmeriCorps members will increase the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and self-efficacy of participants receiving services, with the overall purpose of improving high school graduation rates.
The Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI) is a program of La Puente Home, Inc. and is collaboration between local schools, nonprofits, and community members to teach gardening and nutrition to children. VEGI also provides produce to families in the community, the food bank and at La Puente Home’s shelter. The focus of VEGI is to educate students about the important connection between growing food, living a healthy lifestyle, making good nutritional choices, caring for the environment and being involved in the community.
The emergency Housing Case Manager position allows more people to receive quality assistance by connecting them to community resources such as medical, mental health, education, and employment resources provided by the local community. Shelter Housing Advocates also provide an intensive intake processes to assess the needs of each individual and family and assist them in creating and achieving realistic goals for a self-sustainable future. Without this member, the shelter would not be able to serve clients with the purpose helping them of get back on their feet and become self-sustainable.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Housing, Living allowance, Student loan forbearance, Training
• A living allowance in the amount of up to $16,000.
• The member is eligible for health benefits and child care benefits (if Applicable) in compliance with AmeriCorps policy.
• The program will provide FICA (Social Security and Medicare), and worker’s compensation.
• Upon Successful completion of the member’s term of service, the member will receive an education award from the National Service Trust in the amount of $6,345.
• The member is eligible for the forbearance of most federally-guaranteed student loans and some private loans.
• If the member has received forbearance on a qualified student loan during the term of service, the National Service Trust will repay a portion or all of the interest that accrued on the loan during the term of service.
• The member’s service term can be counted towards The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). This is a program for federal student loan borrowers who work in “public service” jobs, including jobs in government or 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations. After 10 years of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments the remaining debt on federal student loans will be forgiven
• The member is allowed 10 vacation days and 6 sick days per 1 year term.
• The opportunity to gain applicable experience, training and certifications that are resume quality.
• The opportunity to strengthen or learn new life skills (relationship building, conflict management, budget
Mental Heath and first aid training, and various other certifications that are site specific.
Skills you will gain
Public speaking, event planning, conflict resolution, time tracking, professional conduct
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