VISTA Member: Emily Schaeffer
Site: Bemidji Community Food Shelf
Project Focus: Increasing volunteer capacity, developing service learning opportunities
Why did you make the choice to serve a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member?
I’m serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member this year because I really enjoyed my time serving at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf when I was in AmeriCorps NCCC. When I saw they were looking for a VISTA, I saw it as an opportunity to develop my professional skills, learn more about the structure of nonprofits, and challenge myself by moving halfway across the country.
What are you working on this year?
This year I am working on the volunteer program at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. In addition to increasing the number of volunteers who work in the warehouse and on the FARM at the food shelf, my goal is to diversify the volunteers. The food shelf would love to have more families with children and customers volunteering. I am also developing a service learning curriculum that will educate the community as well as support the operational needs of the food shelf.
What do you hope to do in the future and how is VISTA supporting that?
I’m not quite sure what in direction I would like to head in the future so VISTA is helping me to try out the nonprofit sector as well as volunteer management. I think I want to work in some way to fight food insecurity so VISTA is also allowing me to develop professional skills in the field that I can then put on my resume.