Building Relations With Students, Community Highlights Marshalltown VISTA’s First Six Months

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Volunteers in the AmeriCorps VISTA program serve communities in specific areas, but that doesn’t mean that they are limited to the scope of their volunteer duties. Iowa College Aid’s AmeriCorps VISTAs throughout the state work to help build community involvement in developing a college-going culture for all students.

Chelsea White serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Marshalltown Community College in Marshalltown, IA. Over the six months since starting her service in the position she has worked not only with the community college, but also with community groups on behalf of the college, showing that education extends beyond the classroom and can impact students of all ages. She shares some highlights of her first six months in today’s #AmeriCorpsWorks profile:

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Now that I have been the AmeriCorps VISTA at Marshalltown Community College in Marshalltown, Iowa for six months, I thought I would share a few project highlights from my term of service.

First, Marshalltown High School hosted its Iowa College Application Campaign event on Friday, October 23, 2015 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am in the library. The event was attended by 41 individual applicants including 21 applicants for Marshalltown Community College. The applicants applied to 22 different colleges including 9 out-of-state colleges and universities, and there were 12 applicants who applied to more than one college or university. In addition to the high school counselors, Marshalltown Community College staff were available to answer questions about the college application process and to serve as translators for ESL students. The event was a success and the hope is to grow the event to reach more students next year including students from the Marshalltown Education Partnership (MEP) program which prepares high school students to pursue post-secondary education as first-generation college students.

Second, on the Marshalltown Community College campus, through a partnership built between Financial Aid, Student Engagement, and Athletics, a financial literacy event was held for all Marshalltown Community College students at a Friday home soccer game this fall. There were 28 unique participants which was a success overall for a first time event. The event required students to throw bags at a bag board and based on how well they did, they had to answer a question pertaining to financial literacy from the Grad Ready system which is used in our SDV 108: College Experience course. After answering a question, students were able to choose from concession items which are not generally available at soccer games making them very well-received by participants.

Finally, a unique project that I had the opportunity to be involved in is Cyber Seniors. Cyber Seniors is a Service-Learning project facilitated in collaboration with the Computer Science faculty on campus. Cyber Seniors provides computer training to senior citizens in the communities of Marshalltown and Tama. The topics that are covered include library resources, online banking, online shopping, etc. The second Cyber Seniors occurs on Tuesday, April 26, 2016 from 9:00 am to noon at Marshalltown Community College in Computer Lab 115. Wells Fargo is serving as the sponsor of Cyber Seniors in April through the support of a $500 grant that will be used to supply educational materials and resources to participants. Cyber Seniors provides access to necessary skills training for senior citizens in an increasingly digital world.

I look forward to seeing what opportunities are in store for the second half of my term.

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