Officials to recognize VISTA volunteers

Grand County and the City of Moab have joined with thousands of jurisdictions around the country to recognize the contributions of national service organizations in their community, said J.D. McClanahan in an email.

National Service Recognition Day is held annually to celebrate the work of Americorps members and Senior Corps volunteers. This year, the event will take place on Tuesday, April 2. Because this coincides with the day of a county council meeting, Moab’s Americorps VISTAs will be recognized by the county council on that day, with city council recognition taking place April 9, said McClanahan.

“Moab’s 10 VISTA volunteers are part of the 300,000 Americorps members and Senior Corps volunteers serving at 50,000 locations each year. VISTA, which stands for Volunteers in Service to America, exists to increase capacity in our local governments and nonprofit organizations as they work to alleviate poverty, and our VISTAs do this in a myriad of ways,” said McClanahan.

“Whether researching and performing community outreach for affordable housing policies, recruiting construction interns and site planning for low-income housing, providing translation and cultural awareness services for our international workforce, placing local students in relationships with adult mentors, educating community members on public health, or teaching schoolchildren about agriculture and nutrition, the VISTAs currently working in Moab serve our community and improve their organizations in a myriad of ways.”

In fiscal year 2018, VISTA’s efforts leveraged almost $700,000 in cash resources, $191,000 in in-kind donations, supported a sum of 2,621 local youth through each organization’s programming, and mobilized over 400 volunteers, said McClanahan.

“Americorps VISTA serves as a way to connect people [who are] passionate about public service from across the country with opportunities in southeastern Utah. Many VISTAs are highly skilled college grads giving a year of their time to better an organization that couldn’t fill that role otherwise,” said McClanahan. “Whether through healthcare costs, crime, limited educational and career output, or a myriad of other consequences, we all end up paying for poverty in our community. This is why VISTAs are such an excellent resource and investment in the community. The small investment in our skills and labor up front reaps enormous benefits as we serve our organizations and help create a thriving, productive Moab community.”