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My Life as an AmeriCorps VISTA- Tatiana

Posted by in AmeriCorps, Riverside | Comments Off on My Life as an AmeriCorps VISTA- Tatiana
My Life as an AmeriCorps VISTA- Tatiana


Hi all! My name is Tatiana Magallanes, and I will start off by saying that it has been a great couple of months serving Habitat for Humanity Riverside (HFHR) as an AmeriCorps VISTA. After attending the Pre-Service Orientation in August 2014 and hearing past VISTAs’ experiences, I am excited and anxious to see how my year of service will turn out. The first days consisted of filling out paperwork and taking online safety courses. I even got to partake at a wall raising on Oct. 18th and met with future HFHR partner families.

So far, being a VISTA has consisted of attending Healthy Jurupa Valley meetings, joining training webinars for Success Measures, and meeting with my host site manager. My first meeting with Healthy Jurupa Valley was excellent! All the members, who are residents of Jurupa Valley, of the Gardens and Markets action team were welcoming and I got a feel of who they are as a team taking action by promoting healthy lifestyle choices. My primary responsibilities take place in the office (where there is air conditioning!) uploading completed surveys to the Success Measures Data System (SMDS) as well as creating strategic plans for the two focused neighborhoods located in Jurupa Valley. It may seem like tedious work, but there are occasions where I will go out infield, interacting with community residents, getting to know them and allowing them to know me and the AmeriCorps program as well as Habitat for Humanity Riverside.

My role in Habitat for Humanity Riverside is Neighborhood Revitalization Researcher, and my main focus will be to create an evaluation plan for one of Habitat Riverside’s focused neighborhoods located in Jurupa Valley.

I will work alongside Success Measures, providing tools that allow the surveyor, such as myself, to collect and analyze data for continuous evaluative learning of that neighborhood. It is important for Habitat for Humanity Riverside to obtain credible data, so they will be informed of the changes residents want for their neighborhood.

I am currently collecting surveys and analyzing prior surveys so that I have an understanding of what the residents aspire their neighborhood to be. In order for me to have that kind of information, our Outreach AmeriCorps member is developing relationships with the residents of the focus neighborhood, instilling trust, so the residents are comfortable in expressing their concerns. Once I receive the I can use it to develop a strategic plan that will outline the residents’ goals and articulate how those goals will be monitored and evaluated with the assistance of Habitat for Humanity Riverside’s partnership and support.

Furthermore, by using the tools in Success Measures, HFHR will get a full view of what the residents want, as opposed to what the organization believes he residents’ want. It is essential that I receive the feedback on the residents’erceptions of the neighborhood because it will help address their concerns and aspirations. Success Measures will make it easier for me to quantify the changes in the focus neighborhood. All in all, I am looking forward to seeing what’s in store!