Emily Roberson

Position: United Way of Weld County Community Impact VISTA

Term: July 2018 to July 2019

Hometown: Tyndall, South Dakota

What do you do?

The goal of my position is to support and facilitate United Way of Weld County’s switch from a competitive, grant-based funding model to a collective, conversation-based funding model in four focus areas: early childhood, youth development, household stability, and healthy aging. My average day is meeting with our community partners and researching the best practices for the collective impact process.

What have you accomplished?

Each focus area has decided on community-wide, measurable goals that they are determined to impact by aligning their activities within the community. I helped support and facilitate the meetings where this happened, as well as provided resources and research.

Why did you decide to be a VISTA?

I wanted to learn more about the nonprofit world and get more connected to the community I am living in.

Why should people volunteer?

Some problems in our community will not be solved with money or legislation. Volunteering is the best way to give back to your community and see the difference that you and that organization are making. Volunteering is also a great way to feel more connected to a place and to meet people with similar interests as yourself.

What have you learned during your year of service?

I have already learned so much about how much time, effort, knowledge, communication, organization, and funding it takes to really make a difference at the population or community level. Every organization, business, government agency, and non-profit has a role to play in making our community a better place for all.

What is your favorite part of doing national service?

The people I have met and worked with have been my absolute favorite part of serving. Weld County is blessed with so many amazing community leaders, and I get to work alongside them. I feel more connected to the community now than I have in the last two years of just living and working in Greeley.

If you would do anything and be guaranteed not to fail, what would you do?

 Open a pay-what-you-can restaurant in a cute downtown building that uses mostly local food and pays all of its employees a living wage – with an attached ice cream shop! Ask me again tomorrow and it will be something totally different.