The overall goal of the project is to increase access to engaging, culturally-relevant educational resources for students living in underserved communities by collaborating with Alaska educators to develop a learning toolkit designed for use by volunteers and school districts serving low-income Alaska Native and American Indian youth. In addition to developing a cultural learning toolkit, the VISTA will assist program staff with volunteer recruitment and training activities, as well as help raise community awareness of the program and its resources through outreach to potential host sites, including schools, preschool centers, and other educational institutions. Expanding the program’s reach and effectiveness will create new opportunities for youth to establish healthy mentor-ship relationships, raise the overall level of student academic engagement, and provide more culturally-relevant learning opportunities, improving long-term academic and economic outcomes.
1. You will be working with Elder Mentor staff to develop a curriculum that can be utilized by Elder Mentor volunteers and teachers
2. You will be developing professional development opportunities for Elder Mentor volunteers.
3. You will be working with the Elder Mentor staff to develop volunteer recruitment and retention strategies
4. You will be communicating with Elder Mentor volunteers over the phone, email and occasionally in person.
Community Need Addressed
This position is focused on providing effective, culturally based academic material to youth throughout Anchorage, by leveraging the knowledge and experience of community elders. National data consistently show that Alaska Native and American Indian youth are disproportionately impacted by issues related to poverty compared to their non-Native peers, including lower levels of academic achievement and higher rates of school dropout, unplanned pregnancy, substance abuse, and mental health disorders. The aim of the Elder Mentor program is to facilitate positive, one-on-one mentorship relationships between senior volunteers and at-risk youth with the goal of improving academic performance and nurturing positive social and emotional development.
Through this service, the AmeriCorps VISTA member will be working with the Elder Mentors staff to help expand the capacity of the organization. This will help the organization reach more elders and therefore more youth. The AmeriCorps VISTA member will also work on ways to integrate the elders and the culturally based activities into the classroom setting. Thereby creating a more positive educational experience for the students in the classroom.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Housing, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
All AmeriCorps VISTA members will receive transportation reimbursement for travel in and around Anchorage. Throughout the year, the VISTA member will also have the chance visit Rural Alaskan communities and conduct site visits.
All AmeriCorps VISTA members are able to take free online classes that are provided by AmeriCorps that can be used for college credit.
Skills you will gain
communication, public speaking,teamwork, curriculum building, data analysis, research
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