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  • Writer's pictureBayLeigh Routt

AmeriCorps VISTA September Report

Even though my service technically began in mid-August after attending the Pre-Service Orientation, I did not officially start serving with my site until Monday, August 28. For that reason, I consider September as my first (complete) month of service with the Kentucky Interpreter and Translator Association. My first month primarily consisted with getting acquainted with my site and understanding its operations and history as well as learning more about my role within the organization. This experience definitely took some time, and I believe that I have not quite become fully immersed in my role and duties until after my first month ended; I understand that will take more than just 4 short weeks. As the AmeriCorps VISTA for KITA, one of my main duties is to help with capacity building—which comes in many forms depending on the organization, location, and more.

This month I spent a great deal of time building KITA’s presence online. From creating their first Instagram account and LinkedIn profile to revamping Twitter and Facebook, I spent a lot of time ensuring that KITA is represented online. The organization has recently changed their name to KITA, so it was important that I helped make the transition online fast because it is important to reach our audience in a way that properly reflects KITA. Before I started serving in my position, the organization only had Twitter and Facebook accounts that reflected the old name. Even though I have only been working for a month, increasing and improving my organization’s online presence, I think, is one of my biggest successes so far. Like I said, I revamped the organization’s Twitter so that it reflected the organization’s brand change.

In addition, I updated KITA’s Facebook accounts. I had to make a new Facebook page, though, because the old Facebook page was administered by a former board member; we experienced difficulty getting in touch with that person so we decided to make a new one. I am doing lots of research to see how I can fix this because I do not want anyone to be confused by our old profile still existing. I also made an Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube account. LinkedIn is a very great way to increase KITA’s outreach because the platform is very important in the business sphere. YouTube will be important for us in the GoodGiving Challenge particularly because we can share short videos of community members that support KITA.

When it comes to posting on the various accounts, I have done a lot of research on what articles, videos, and graphics interpreters and translators might be interested in so that I can share content that will reflect what our audience wants to see. I usually Google articles that relate to languages and the interpreting/translating field; I do my best to share from credible sources because I recognize that is important. I also think it is important to share videos and graphics because it will diversify the content on our page. It is important to have engaging content so that your audience will not get bored and possibly be tempted to tell their friends, family, co-workers, etc. about KITA’s profiles. I have been using Canva a lot to make most of the unique graphics on our accounts as well as to create flyers we have used at outreach events I have attended this month. The board members seem to really like the Canva posts and flyers too, which is makes me really happy because it makes me feel like I am doing well.

A challenge I experienced early on was completing treasury reports before every monthly board meeting. I had never done anything like that before I started serving with as a VISTA, but I was willing to learn because I know it could come in handy in the future. When I complete the treasury report, I have to log in to our various accounts to review information; I have to list all sorts of things on the reports so that the nonprofit’s board knows where we stand financially. The first time I completed a treasury report in September, it was really difficult because I was so new to it and did not really know what to do at all. I made a couple mistakes, but the treasurer reviewed it for me and gave me tips on how to improve next time. This month I did a lot better and had very little questions this time around.

Early this month I attended a Latino Health Fair, which turned out to be a very great experience. I have a background in Spanish, but I struggled to properly convey what the organization does to those who spoke or understood little English. It was really daunting to be there alone when I had only been serving with KITA for about 2 weeks, but the experience did provide a lot of great insight. For example, I realized it would be really beneficial to have promo materials translated in other languages and have more visuals for people who might not be able to read for whatever reason. Having visuals also helps break language barriers somewhat because people can get an idea about what KITA does based on the photos.

Attending resource fairs pushed me to learn how to summarize what the organization does in an appealing way. You do not have a lot of time to convey the nonprofit’s goals and work ,so you have to do it as quickly and as best as you can. I think that helped me be able to think on my feet more. Attending these events also helped me realize what we can do as an organization to reach more people and share information better. This experience really helped me understand why our roles as VISTAs are important. We are serving to notice these things as well as do our best to help these people; we serve the community needs and work to find ways to get them help.

In addition, I also helped make lots of preparations for the Core Medical Interpreter Training that KITA offers. CMIT is a prestigious 64-hour training that gives bilingual individuals the training they need to apply for their state or national certification to serve as medical interpreters. I played a big role because I served as the main contact for the candidates. I instructed them on how to apply, shared the scholarship application with them if they requested it, and answered any of their questions throughout the process. I had never assisted with a program like this before or participated in a training like this myself. Before serving as a VISTA, I worked with people regularly, answered questions, managed a building and events, trained people, and more as a student manager; assisting with this program in the capacity that I did was much different than my student manager experience.


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