Nearing the end of her year of service, AmeriCorps*VISTA member Eveian Salmon reflects on her experience at Ethos and the impact she has had on Southwest Boston seniors.
What is an AmeriCorps*VISTA?
AmeriCorps is a national service program. The VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program is a volunteer program in which members sign on for a year of service with the goal of fighting poverty in America. VISTA members work toward this goal by building capacity at non-profit organizations. Over the past three years, Ethos has partnered with Boston Cares to host AmeriCorps*VISTA members.
Why did you decide to serve at Ethos?
I decided to serve at Ethos because as the caregiver of an elderly parent with dementia and other chronic health conditions we share the same mission of supporting family caregiving and fostering social interaction. My experience as a caregiver helped me to understand the need to support elders in the community. In the past I have spent many years volunteering for various nonprofit organizations but the elderly population is growing and need our support more and more each day.
What are some of your responsibilities as an AmierCorps*VISTA at Ethos?
My service year was the final year of the VISTA program at Ethos in the Volunteer Services Department and there were two key goals. My responsibilities were to foster relationships with new and existing community organizations so that Ethos will always have a continuous stream of highly needed volunteers. The second goal was to develop systems to enhance Ethos’ communication with volunteers and sharing volunteer experience and stories, such as the ones found here: https://www.ethocare.org/?s=Volunteer+Spotlight
What have you enjoyed the most in your role?
I enjoy proposing new ideas for improvement and I was very excited to also implement these ideas. I enjoyed developing our database, knowing that this technology would be the driving force in getting things done faster and more efficiently to help more seniors. Previously, when technology was not being used effectively it would take longer to get things done. As my service year comes to an end I feel confident that the systems and process that have been implemented – such as keeping track of volunteers and how they have helped seniors – will continue and more and more seniors will get the help they need. It’s also lovely to get feedback from seniors when they tell you how happy they were to get help from volunteers, especially in our Yard Work Program. As a volunteer I know how important it to stay engaged with volunteers and so I’m also happy that Ethos’ Volunteer Services Program now has systems in place to stay more engaged with volunteers.
What has been the most challenging aspect to your role?
The most challenging aspect of the role has been trying to get a lot done in a very limited amount of time. There have been lots of steep learning curves not only with learning Ethos’ systems and processes but also with the technology, specifically the agency’s Salesforce database. Even though learning the technology has been challenging, it’s also been enjoyable.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
This year has been an amazing experience because the work has been incredibly rewarding knowing that I have been able to make an impact meeting the needs of many seniors in southwest Boston. I know I was truly #GettingThingsDone.