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  • Writer's pictureBayLeigh Routt

AmeriCorps VISTA January Report

This month I managed to schedule a total of 6 fundraisers and interpreter meet-ups—4 of which are happening in February, April, May, and June. One thing that my supervisor and board members want to do is host interpreter meet-ups monthly, so that interpreters and translators in Kentucky can regularly get together to share stories, experiences, job tips, and more. One of our board members in Lexington also hosts an international hour during these events as an opportunity for anyone who loves to travel, speaks another language, and more to meet. The international hour is also a chance for anyone has immigrated to the U.S. For that reason, I decided to go for it and schedule as many as I could in advance.

Once I started, I gained a lot of energy and enthusiasm that I dedicated to researching different restaurants where we could host these events. So much of this energy fueled me to keep going, complete applications, send emails, make any necessary calls, or do anything else to schedule these events. My goal with these events is to host them at a variety of places throughout the year. From restaurants and coffee shops, I want to offer our audience—and the community as a whole—different environments, food, and more. I try to put myself in the shoes of someone else who might attend these events. What kind of place would I want to eat at and/or join a meet-ups of strangers? Would I want to support local establishments? That’s why I have been researching all sorts of places to host these events. I’m still working on scheduling a fundraiser + interpreter meet-up for March, but I do have a place in mind.

In January, I also spent a great deal of time dedicated to preparing for our Language Access Film Festival happening for March to April as well as 12-Year Anniversary Celebration in April. The film festival is about language in order to highlight the importance of interpreters and translators. After the last showing, we will be hosting our 12-Year Anniversary celebration; we will host a silent auction at our anniversary celebration, so this month I have been requesting donations. So far, we have received a pair tickets from Louisville Ballet and Lexington Ballet in addition to a gift basket from West Sixth Brewery and Kendra Scott (jewelry store). We also have received donations for the Lexington Philharmonic and Lexington Children’s Theatre.

This month we hosted a fundraiser at Kendra Scott on January 6, which is when they offered us a gift basket for our silent auction. We also hosted a fundraiser and interpreter meet-up at Panera Bread (on Richmond Road) on January 24. In addition to supporting KITA for the fundraiser by buying food, I attended a portion of the international hour; meeting people from different backgrounds and who spoke various languages was really fun. I think it is really amazing to see all sorts of people come together and get to know each other, even if it is briefly. The meet-ups are such an amazing way for interpreters and translators to connect with others in their field; the international hours are also a wonderful opportunity for people to come together, share stories, and make connections (or even friends!). To see how many people attend these events and enjoy meeting new people is really incredible. It’s rewarding to see people enjoy themselves and establish new connections.

In addition, I volunteered on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with the other AmeriCorps VISTA from the Plantory Network. On the morning of January 15, we participated in the annual Martin Luther King March alongside hundreds of others in the city. Then, we volunteered at Arbor Youth in the afternoon. For anyone who might not know, Arbor Youth Services is the only emergency shelter for unaccompanied children (as young as 6 weeks old and as old as 17) in Central Kentucky. Arbor provides a safe, supportive and welcoming environment to children who may be homeless, abused, neglected or at risk of being victimized. Lastly, I helped make an interpreter/translator survey that went live this month.

In December, one of the board members and I worked together to make the survey that asked a variety of questions relating to the fields, so that we could better understand what we can do to help interpreters/translators in the state. We finished making the survey in December, but we didn’t send out until January. The survey was “live” for 2 weeks, and I think we received really great feedback. The survey had more than 20 questions and we received 38 responses, which I think is pretty spectacular for a small, somewhat unknown organization like KITA; plus, the interpreter and translator fields are isn’t as vast as others. The survey didn’t close until after our January board meeting, so I am reporting about the survey at the next board meeting in February.


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