Position: Development and Outreach VISTA
Term: March 2019 – March 2020
Hometown: Largo, Florida
Tyler Vaughan serves as a VISTA at “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County and specifically supports the Carbon Valley Dreamers Class. The mission of the Foundation is to empower children from low-income communities to succeed in school, college, and career by providing academic, social, and emotional support from elementary school through college, along with a post-secondary tuition assistance scholarship. Tyler has supported the organization through by building community partnerships, volunteer recruitment, writing grants, and event planning.
We had the chance to ask Tyler some questions about himself and his service, here’s what he had to say:
Why did you decide to be a VISTA?
I was drawn to service by a few less-than-desirable jobs I took on after graduating college in May 2018. I didn’t feel that what I was doing each day helped foster a community that I would want to be a part of, so I went digging online for ways that I could serve full time. I initially looked at opportunities with the Peace Corps or Teach for America, but the VISTA program seemed to offer opportunities that would have me step out of my comfort zone and learn about topics I hadn’t even considered previously. I am incredibly happy to have had this capacity building experience as my introduction to the nonprofit industry.
What has been your biggest accomplishment as a VISTA?
Personally, I feel my biggest accomplishment as a VISTA has been forging new partnerships in the community for the students the in Frederick served by the “I Have A Dream” Foundation. The Carbon Valley Class is the only class in Weld County supported by the organization, and it has been extraordinarily rewarding to find opportunities that would benefit either the students directly, or their families and the Carbon Valley community as a whole.
Why should people volunteer?
Volunteering in your community is a not only a great way to meet people who are passionate about similar things as you, but I feel that helping a local organization in your spare time is a great way to get a sense of scale for your community and learn how to make measurable change for an area you hold dear!
How has national service changed you?
My VISTA service year has been my first experience living away from my home area. So far, this experience in Northern Colorado has been humbling. In addition, it has actually made me feel more connected to both my adopted community as well as my hometown issues. I’ve learned so many incredible lessons up until now, and hope to keep learning while helping empower members of our NoCo community!
If you could have lunch with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
This would be a tough call for me. Are we all having lunch at once? If so, I hope they would all be more interested in talking to each other than just me. As of now, I think I would like to have lunch with the legendary Musa I of Mali, Queen Elizabeth I, and former President Jimmy Carter.
If you could do anything and be guaranteed not to fail, what would you do?
I’m not sure what I’d want to do if I was bound to succeed. I’d like to say something fun like start a podcast or YouTube series, but, knowing me, I would feel bad that I didn’t ask anyone else for their input on this. I’d probably end up trying to get extremely reliable data on all social and economic issues past, current, and future for folks to better focus on pressing issues in their communities (as not super-fun as that sounds).
Join VISTA Today!
If you are like Tyler, consider applying to be an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Details and all of our open positions are listed here.