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AmeriCorps National Member Experience: Azhar Khan

Posted by in A Brush with Kindness, Community Events, Jurupa Valley, Volunteers | Comments Off on AmeriCorps National Member Experience: Azhar Khan
AmeriCorps National Member Experience: Azhar Khan

New Partnerships

Since my last web blog post in September of 2013, I have been in the process of completing many more of my objectives. Daniel, Jenna (AmeriCorps Members), Christine (NRI Manager) and I have established a few partnerships in the community. The first was enacted because a resident from the focus neighborhood expressed her desires of establishing a neighborhood watch. We connected with Officer Cryder (Jurupa Sherriff’s Department) who oversees the neighborhood watch program. Officer Cryder educated Daniel and I of the program and how to initiate it. We relayed the information and handouts to Delia (the concerned resident and active Habitat partner family) who then informed her neighbors of the program. Once the residents are better informed of neighborhood watch, we will get a consensus of their desires and proceed from there.

Community Gardens & Farmer's Market Action Team meeting on January 7th 2014

The second partnership established is with a non-profit organization called Reach-Out. This organization provides programs to empower the youth and their families. Our primary reason for partnering with Reach-Out is because they have helped in establishing community coalitions in Jurupa Valley regarding many of the issues that are present in our NRI focus area. The coalitions are 1.) Access to Services/Resources 2.) Community Prosperity 3.) Public Safety/Preparedness 4.) Community Gardens & Farmer’s Markets 5.) Arts & Recreation. I have taken on the responsibility of temporarily leading the Community Garden’s & Farmer’s Market Action Team. My duties include leading the meeting, delegating tasks, and administrative duties: sending out e-mail, creating agendas and meeting minutes.

A Brush With Kindness

DSP volunteer group on the Kaiser Paint Day

By serving on 5 ABWK projects thus far, I have more than half of the ‘100 volunteers supervised’ objective fulfilled and have effectively assisted Dave on the paint days. November 16th 2013 was somewhat of a ‘Blitz Paint Day’ as 4 mobile homes received ABWK. The local university (University of California, Riverside) joined with Kaiser Permanente’s big paint day. This is where my training for ‘supervising volunteers on job sites’ was put to the test as the ABWK Project Coordinator could not supervise each project on his own. With on-and-off help from the Project Coordinator, I was able to help lead the UCR’s Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity into successfully completing the paint job in a timely manner. The home itself wasn’t quite prepped for the paintjob, as the furniture and other items were not cleared from the home. I quickly gathered the group and assigned them areas to clear off. With the help of a few volunteers, I set up the paint trays, brushes rollers etc. I did have help from a few professional painters who showed the group the basics of painting efficiently. I too learned a few tricks! I then distributed the team into the different sides of the home. I assigned a few volunteers for touch up and a few more for the trim around the doors and windows. By 11:30a, the team was close to finishing up, and I assigned them the tasks for cleaning up our job site.

Parcel Observations (Success Measures)

The AmeriCorps members and I have also completed parcel observations of our NRI focus area and also all of the Habitat Homes (Riverside, Moreno Valley, Jurupa Valley, Corona and Norco). Parcel Observations are part of the Success Measures toolkit which measures the current conditions of Habitat Homes and also homes in the NRI focus area. This survey is to be conducted every 2 years to ensure and changes (positive and negative) be documented.

National Service Leadership Conference and Affiliate Summit

The 2013 National Service Leadership Conference (October 21-24 2013) in Talladega Alabama was one to remember. Aside from the 11 hour journey there, the conference was very accommodating and the workshops were relevant to our position description. I went to numerous sessions which were catered specifically towards NRI and our service year; Introduction to Spanish (for working on the job site), Telling your Habitat Story (communicating great stories), Sticky Issues (responding to various issues that have come up) and Sustainable Organization (how to sustain our work for future AmeriCorps). In addition to the sessions, I networked with numerous people from across the county dealing with similar and differing projects and issues.

I attended the 2013 Affiliate Summit which was held on November 20-21 2013. This conference was geared towards affiliates and their role in NRI. The sessions I attended were similar to the NSLC however more geared towards the affiliates’ programs.

First NRI Resident Meet and Greet

Jenna, myself and Daniel posing in front of our 'neighborhood meeting' sign

Our resident meeting was a great success! Given that the meet and greet was a first for HFH Riverside, it came with no surprise the level of curiosity received from the residents. Residents were inquisitive as to the purpose of the event, and were somewhat astonished at the fact that we weren’t there to sell them a product, rather initiate a community atmosphere for the neighborhood. With a turnout of 20 residents, it filled the Dominguez’s backyard. I was in charge of coordinating with the partner families of what food items each was bringing. Habitat brought sandwiches, and set up the balloons. One of the families was in charge of marketing the event (creating and distributing flyers and making banners). The other family set up the event with tables and chairs. With the support of the residents as evident by their interests of the next meeting, I am certain that we will have even more participants at the next meeting!