Our Youth Achievement AmeriCorps program has many moving parts. Without Mel Doyle's support, it would be nearly impossible to manage our many host sites, provide AmeriCorps members support they need, and serve all of the students who require help. Mel is an amazing volunteer and a great teammate, and we are lucky to have her!
How did you hear about Youth Achievement AmeriCorps?
I first heard about United Way when I worked for the Linn-Mar School Foundation as several teachers contributed to United Way’s annual campaign. From there, I went to the Community Health Free Clinic as the Director of Finance and was heavily involved with grant process, especially the grant through Women's Leadership Initiative. This grant provides so much needed funding for women's healthcare in East Central Iowa. A volunteer at the clinic introduced me to the VITA program, and I have volunteered for that program during the past two years. The director of VITA introduced me to John Spanczak, Youth Achievement AmeriCorps Program Director.
I thought the program was unique and a much needed resource. The passion members have for their students and the community is contagious.
Describe your experience with YAA so far.
I am really behind the scenes for the program fielding requests from the members and John. I believe what I do allows YAA members to focus more on their work with students instead of the administration of the program.
How do you see YAA making a difference?
From my interactions with YAA members, I know the program is helping these kiddos reach their full potential and create hope for them. I also see tremendous growth in the YAA members' professional and leadership skills. I am amazed at the impact the program has on students in the area and the dedication YAA members have to these children and the Cedar Rapids community. I love that I can help behind the scenes for this program.