This quarter I helped with the second Core Medical Interpreter Training that KITA has hosted since I’ve been a VISTA. Now that I had the experience from the first time under my belt, I feel like this round went more smoothly. We allotted ourselves more time for the registration process and scholarship application reviews; this provided us more time to communicate with the students about their results as well as instruct them to take a language proficiency exam with a third-party, which takes quite a bit of time because there are a few steps in that process. I feel like this process on my end and on KITA’s end went very smoothly this time because we knew that we needed significantly more time for this process because of what we learned from the last CMIT that we hosted in October and November. I didn’t have control over the timeline for the registration and scholarship application process then because it had been determined before I began my VISTA service.
When I began serving with KITA, I had to jump right in early September and assist with the registration process, which was very difficult because I didn’t have any experience with this process, didn’t know much about interpreting or interpreter training, and there was very little time to get all of the necessary tasks done. The first round of CMIT that I assisted with really helped with the CMIT class we offered this summer. Knowing what needed to be done and understanding our time restraints I could communicate with my supervisor what I believed the timeline to complete the timeline should be, so that everything was ready before the training officially began. Being able to understand this and communicate with my supervisor is a big success.
A challenge I faced this quarter happened during the registration process of the Core Medical Interpreter Training. I sent several reminders that the students needed to complete a language proficiency exam as soon as possible because it takes 2–3 days for LanguageStat to review each exam. Some students signed up late in the month very close to the first day of class, which was stressful because we need the results before the training begins; if someone doesn’t pass, then they can’t take the training at that time. Also, three candidates never responded to my emails about that, even though they had completed the registration process. I called them as well as I wasn’t able to reach them, so they just didn’t start or complete CMIT. That was a bit frustrating because there is a lot of work that needs to be done on KITA’s end-even with the language proficiency exams. It’s really a waiting game when we reach that step in the process, which can be overwhelming.
This quarter KITA hosted a month long fundraiser at West Sixth Brewing through the Wooden Nickel program. Customers could buy a flight and choose to place their $1 wooden nickel in a box to donate $1 to KITA. On June 21, KITA hosted a booth during Happy Hour so that customers could learn about the organization; that night customers also received 2 nickels, which gave us the chance to raise more money. It was great exposure for the nonprofit, even if I might not have spoken directly with a lot of people that night. Some of the other VISTAs did come that night to support KITA, and I really appreciated that. That night we also collaborated with the team that hosted the World Refugee Day Summit by making that night an “after party,” so that people could continue chatting and celebrating the refugee community. Some of the people who attended the Summit did come to the After Party, and it was great to talk to them more.
In June, I attended the 2018 World Refugee Day Summit and I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the refugee community, important aspects of their experiences, and what contributes to their experience as a refugee. I really enjoyed getting to hear stories from refugees, learn what impacts the refugee community, and discover how to help the refugee community help themselves. I met a fellow VISTA member’s older brother and learned about his experience as a refugee in public high school, which was really amazing. This quarter KITA also hosted interpreter meet-ups and fundraisers at Mellow Mushroom and Coles 735 Main.