For the MAVA VISTA program, 2022 was a year full of challenges and new opportunities. MAVA was awarded 18 VISTA positions (2 assigned to MAVA, and 16 with our host sites), and worked with 15 VISTA members throughout the year. The VISTA program team increased recruitment efforts by attending several recruitment events (in-person and virtual), and by building relationships with organizations in order to spread the word about the program. Although MAVA did not end up with a VISTA Leader for 2022, we did create a new Volunteer Engagement and National Service Program VISTA project that involved strengthening the MAVA VISTA program and MAVA's volunteer engagement procedures. As a result of the work done by MAVA's VISTA member, we will continue with a second year of the project focusing on VISTA project sustainability and further developing how we recruit, retain, and recognize our volunteers.
During 2022, the members of the MAVA VISTA Cohort had a number of opportunities to share their work, further their knowledge in volunteer engagement, network with professionals, and socialize with one another. New ways for VISTA members to connect, and for MAVA to learn more about our program, included: the monthly VISTA Newsletter, regular posts sharing host site stories, bi-monthly VISTA Cohort lunches, and in-person VISTA gatherings. Our VISTA members furthered their professional development when they presented on Volunteer Engagement as a group during the June MAVA Conference, attended the Volunteer Impact Leadership Training Series (VILT) and the Dismantling Inequities in Volunteerism Conference, and participated in an interviewing practice session.
If you would like to get involved with the MAVA VISTA Program, we are looking for: volunteers to assist with the program, host sites across Minnesota, VISTA members passionate about serving communities in need, and site selection committee members to help select the next iteration of sites. For more information about any of these opportunities contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.