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Oregon volunteers kick-off 2013 VISTA style
The Oregon Health Authority’s VISTA Partnership Project has started 2013 in prime fashion. Twenty-four VISTAs serve on a number of different projects including public health department accreditation, Medical Reserve Corps, Healthy People, Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Vulnerable Populations.
 
In January alone, the team served roughly 3,840 hours, which is a value of over $95,000. VISTA members have also formed 30 new partnerships, created 68 new materials, and generated 12 media exposures. With their focus on the AmeriCorps*VISTA mission of combating poverty in the United States, the VISTA team’s hard work has made a big impact.
 
Anthony Vendetti, one of the team members, has been focusing on emergency preparedness for vulnerable populations in Newport. In January, Vendetti completed his emergency preparedness plan, which included information on “How to Create a Go Kit,” evacuation plans, an emergency contact form, and helpful resources in the event of a disaster.
 
"Emergency preparedness is important because everybody is vulnerable to some type of disaster,” said Vendetti. “By learning about local hazards and becoming prepared for them, individuals can help their community respond and recover instead of becoming a victim."
 
The VISTA team also took part in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service in Bend. Volunteering at a local elementary school, 238 VISTA and community volunteers worked with Volunteer Connect on a number of projects including building a fence for chickens, weeding a garden, cleaning and organizing a shed, and replacing a pergola.
 
“It feels great,” said Natasha Smith, Special Projects Manager at Volunteer Connect. “That was what we are trying to promote: people giving back to their community and making it a ‘day on’ instead of a ‘day off.’”
 
Joey Zayas, VISTA Leader for the Oregon Health Authority VISTA Partnership Project, agrees. “It was such a joy to volunteer along with my VISTA teammates to really make a difference in the local community. I am extremely proud to be working alongside so many wonderful, selfless people!”
 
For more information about becoming a VISTA volunteer, contact Joseph Zayas, VISTA Leader, at Joseph.Zayas@dhsoha.state.or.us or (971) 673-1713.