VISTA Success Stories
Formerly the Manchester VISTA Project (MVP), the Families in Transition VISTA Program is one of the largest networks of AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) living and serving throughout the state of New Hampshire. Families in Transition’s Manager of Volunteers recruits dedicated volunteers and host sites to join the VISTA team, with the goal of improving the quality of life for the most disadvantaged members of our community.
Families in Transition VISTAs and host sites work together to create sustainable programs that better the New Hampshire community. In turn, both VISTAs and their host sites receive the invaluable benefit of personal and organizational growth. Here are some of their stories.
Nick McIntyre, VISTA
Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
VISTA Position: Homeless/Migrant Youth Program Associate, Department of Education
Term: February 2013 – Present
The New Hampshire Department of Education is committed to helping students, parents and educators meet the educational needs of students. The Homeless & Migrant Youth Education Programs work to provide educational services and support to New Hampshire’s schools and personnel.
These projects range from smaller tasks such as tabulating the number of youth identified as homeless in New Hampshire’s schools, analyzing the proficiency levels of homeless youth, and helping coordinate tutoring services for migrant youth, to larger, ongoing projects, like the New Hampshire Homeless Teen Task Force and the Higher Education Initiative.
The NH Teen Task Force seeks to open the first emergency overnight youth shelter in the state as well as identify the barriers facing homeless youth in the state and finding ways to address them. The task force has also supported community forums to address the needs of homeless youth on a regional basis. The first was held in Portsmouth in October 2012, the second in Claremont in August 2013.
The Higher Education Initiative is an ongoing project that seeks to establish a support network at New Hampshire’s colleges to address the needs of homeless youth seeking post-secondary education.
The Homeless Education Program has also previously collaborated with the Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services at the Department of Health and Human Services to host the New Hampshire Homeless Provider’s Conference for many years. Overall, these programs focus on eliminating the barriers that disadvantaged youth face in accessing education and ensuring their educational rights are met.
Annie Seekins, VISTA
Hometown: Seaport, Maine
VISTA Position: Programs Associate VISTA, Women’s Fund of NH
Term: July 2013 – Present
Annie Seekins is serving at the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire. Annie is a Sociology and Women Studies Major from the University of New Hampshire.
As a recent college graduate, Annie was looking for a way to get involved with community organizations. With a strong interest in working with nonprofits, the AmeriCorps program was an ideal way for Annie to gain valuable real world experience. “I have heard nothing but positive feedback from people I know who have served with AmeriCorps and I look forward to the opportunites this year will bring!”
Annie is a first year FIT VISTA working with the Women’s Fund to develop and publish a resource guide for refugee women in the state of New Hampshire.
The mission of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire is to encourage philanthropy among and for women and girls; to improve the lives of women and girls through research, advocacy, and social change grant making; and to educate the community about the potential of women and girls.
Annie has always enjoyed volunteering and enjoys seeing the end result of her labors. ”For me the payoff is seeing the results of the hard work the volunters have put into each organization and project.” Eager and willing to learn new skills, Annie looks forward to this upcoming year with positivitiy and optimism.
At the Women’s Fund, Annie has also discovered that she enjoys the opportunities to go to events and to meet the founders of the Women’s Fund of New Hampshire the most rewarding so far this year.
Annie finds her inspiration in her friends and family, as well as the various mentors she had during her young adult life. She loves Do It Yourself projects, traveling, and spending time in the great outdoors, which New Hampshire has a lot of. “I don’t think I could ever get tired of the view of the state from the top of a mountain!” Annie exclaimed about a recent hike she had done.