In the story of Paul Fallon, you can see the enormous, long-lasting impact that a single VISTA can have in the community in which they work.
Although limited to one service year during his placement with Central WV Community Action Association in Clarksburg, this hardworking and ambitious local created a number of relationships between citizens in need and people in a position to help them that will last long beyond his tenure.
“Sustainability is the key to a successful volunteer program, and that has been my goal since I began my service year,” Paul says. “My goal was to create a stream of volunteers that will continue to serve in the region long after I have left my position.”
Nice. This strategy of increasing local capacity is at the heart of The Hub’s approach, too.
Paul’s list of achievements over the past 12 months is so long that perhaps it might be best to break them down into bullet points…
- Created a partnership between United Technical Center in Harrison County and local nonprofit organizations, where the technical center’s vocational training students complete much-needed local infrastructure and repair projects (right). In its first year, vocational students contributed 223 volunteer hours, saving local nonprofits almost $8,000 in project costs. So successful was the new partnership that United Technical Center is expanding the program in year 2.
- Recruited volunteers for West Virginia Head Start’s Wellness Day by forming new local relationships the Clarksburg Beauty Academy and United Technical Center’s nursing program.
- Created a partnership between Central WV Community Action and Fred Eberle Technical Center in Upshur County. For the two groups first project together, the school’s construction students built a storage building for the local Head Start chapter. The school’s leaders have already indicated that they are keen for students to work on more projects that benefit local nonprofit organizations.
- Recruited and trained six local volunteers to mentor and support chronically homeless people in Harrison County through a partnership with Homes for Harrison County. Each volunteer mentor committed to at least one hour a week, every week of the year.
- Recruited 15 volunteer readers to read to young children at Head Start facilities in Harrison, Lewis and Gilmer counties. Paul also helped guarantee a future supply of volunteer readers by sparking a partnership with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, where school resource officers travel to local Head Start facilities to read to children. One of the special volunteer readers that Paul helped recruit was the mascot for the West Virginia University Mountaineers!
- Worked with 25 volunteers from Dominion Resources, an oil and gas extraction company, to paint and landscape the Central WV Community Action’s main office in Clarksburg (below). Dominion Resources has agreed to again volunteer at the agency in the future.
- Began working with Lewis County Food Pantry and the Lewis County Family Resource Network on the creation of a diaper bank in Weston, to provide diapers to needy families in an area. It will be the first diaper bank in the state. Paul collected 70 packages of diapers for the bank, and more than $700 in donations from local businesses.
Does this sound like you?
Want to know more?
I’d love to hear from you.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about VISTA opportunities helping local communities in West Virginia.