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VISTA View April 2022

Jonathan A Grinde | Published on 4/27/2022


Image of the VISTA (Cat) at The Family Partnership


Cat has been a MAVA VISTA for over a year and a half now. She has been and continues to be a great member of the cohort and is ready and willing to share her expertise in the volunteer engagement field. We are happy to have as part of the team. Learn more about her here!

Originally published by The Family Partnership and used with permission. (https://www.thefamilypartnership.org/vista-designing-volunteer-program/)

Catherine (Cat) Holl is serving as an Americorp VISTA volunteer at The Family Partnership for a second year. We asked Cat to talk about her mission to design a sustainable volunteer program and promote long-term volunteer relationships.  


What is the Americorps VISTA program?
 

Americorps Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTA, is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty. The program focuses on education, public safety, health, and the environment to address unmet community needs.  


Why did you volunteer for The Family Partnership?
 

I was looking for jobs in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and The Family Partnership’s work and approach to solving systemic and institutional issues matched my interest in a position that would be impactful and create lasting social justice change. 


What are you doing for The Family Partnership?
 

Because there is no staff Volunteer Coordinator position, my goal is to develop a sustainable volunteer program that supports The Family Partnership’s programs and offers enrichment opportunities for clients and families. I work with program staff to identify their needs and then I create systems for volunteer identification, recruitment, and management.  


What examples of volunteer projects have you managed?  
  

I oversaw a new pilot program with undergraduate business students from the University of St. Thomas to create a community resource newsletter for current and prospective families. I sustained The Family Partnership’s relationship with Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority (University of Minnesota) for our preschool Halloween events, and, facilitated holiday gifts from Donaldson Companies and winter clothes donations from Rotary clubs.  


Why have you extended your service?  
 

I really enjoy the work! I hope to create greater impact in developing volunteer relationships and structure for activities. I also feel like I am a valued member of the organization, and I especially like The Family Partnership’s Mobility Mentoring program and Ojibwe and Dakota language immersion program at Four Directions preschool.  


What are your career plans?
 

I graduated from the University of Minnesota 2019 with a degree in biology. Being a VISTA was part of taking a break from school before I pursue my Masters of Education to become a secondary science teacher.  


You can find out more about volunteering with The Family Partnership (scroll to Volunteer in the drop down menu).

Update since the original posting of this blog post: The Family Partnership received $12,500 from the Damus Award (Damus Awards Spotlight Philanthropy, Student Growth - Newsroom | University of St. Thomas (stthomas.edu)). This came to them because of the volunteer relationship Cat established with the students at the University of St. Thomas!

Learn more about the rest of the MAVA VISTAs at: VISTA Bios
Learn more about the MAVA VISTA program at: AmeriCorps VISTA