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  • Writer's pictureBayLeigh Routt

AmeriCorps VISTA Quarterly Report #2

This quarter I managed to schedule a total of 6 fundraisers and interpreter meet-ups; four 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 can regularly meet 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.

Thankfully, I have a list of different restaurants, coffee shops, etc. that do fundraisers, so if the one I have in mind doesn’t work, I can try to do it somewhere else in March. The reason I wanted to get so many set in stone is so that we can add them to our calendar on the KITA website as well as make Facebook events. Making the Facebook events early and saving them on our calendar in advance will help us and our audience. This helps interpreters/translators and supporters save the date and ensure their availability; in turn, this helps us get our name out there and improve attendance at these events. A challenge I have faced this quarter is learning how to make the most of any “free time” I have and feel as though I am being productive.

During December, there was a lull period because of the holidays so sometimes I felt as though I wasn’t being as productive-even though I was definitely doing important things that just took more time. I feel like January was somewhat the same because it’s the start of a new year; there are things to be done, but some of them just take quite a bit of time and require waiting. This makes it somewhat difficult to figure out what to do with the extra time. I’m the kind of person who wants to be productive and wants to make the most of “free time” I have so things get done. I want to do things-small or big-that help KITA.

For that reason, I tried to find small ways to fill the time. I didn’t want to take on tasks that were too big (or time consuming) that way they wouldn’t get in the way of those ones that were stalled; instead, I would search for interesting articles about interpreting, translating, and languages that I could share on social media to boost our site visits/connections with our audience. I would make posts on Canva that would be catchy and informative for the same reason. Sometimes I would schedule posts so that I could have more time to do other things. Sometimes these tasks might seem small or tedious, but they’re still important things a nonprofit should do, which is why it helps me feel like I’m still being productive between bigger tasks/projects.

At the moment, I have not established any partnerships with other organizations; however, I have talked more in-depth with my supervisor about initiating a partnership with Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) in Louisville. KRM has an AmeriCorps VISTA member, so we thought it would be a great way to establish a partnership with another organization that has similar goals as well as form connections with other VISTAs in Kentucky. We want to partner with Kentucky Refugee Ministries because they have such strong connections with the refugee population throughout Kentucky (obviously). We want to be able to spread the word about KITA to the refugee population in the Commonwealth; some of the individuals may be bilingual, so taking our Core Medical Interpreter Training-and eventually becoming certified-would be a great job opportunity for them.

In addition, some of the refugees may want to attend our interpreter meet-ups/international hour to meet people in their area so that they can feel more connected (regardless if they are former or active interpreters/translators or if they are simply interested in the field). Being able to provide training opportunities, other continuing education resources, and network opportunities for refugees and immigrants would be an amazing opportunity for KITA to be a part of. I have also collaborated with other VISTAs in small ways this month. For example, I helped a fellow VISTA member translate flyers in Spanish for Fresh Stop Market flyers; I did this once before for the same VISTA member and I think that might have happened in late December.

In April, KITA is hosting a film festival (over a few days) 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, I 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. 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 meetup 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.

One of my favorite memories from this quarter are the experiences I had at our fundraisers and interpreter meet-ups. At the beginning of November, my parents and I attended the event we hosted at MOD Pizza; we ended up inviting a woman to sit with us because she was alone. She was a Japanese interpreter who had lived in the United States for a very long time. My parents and I really enjoyed getting to know her and learning about her favorite food to make. I believe my mom took one of her business cards. I also really enjoyed attending the event at Panera Bread in January because I got to meet more people as well. There were people from different backgrounds and who spoke various languages. I really enjoyed getting to hear their stories about traveling or stories about different aspects of language.

The reason I chose these instances is because attending these events made me realize how important these meetups and fundraisers are for KITA. 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!). That’s what is important to KITA. Providing a regular open-forum for interpreters/translators to connect and share information, stories, and tips is an important part of our mission. 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.


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