Moving On…

Twelve months ago, I began my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA at YWCA Missoula, and I must say, this year has been one of the most rewarding I’ve ever had. Before VISTA, I had been involved with the YWCA as an intern and volunteer, but my passion and commitment to the mission of the YWCA really grew to a new level this past year. For my VISTA project I was placed with the Transitional Housing Program, which provides housing and supportive services to homeless survivors of domestic and sexual Violence. Throughout my term, I worked on various projects to help improve the housing programs, educate the community, and provide services to the participants we work with. One of my most proud and influential projects was the work I did to improve our database. This database not only helps us track the participants in our programs, but it is integral to our ability to accurately produce reports for grants. Through the efforts of myself and the past two year’s of VISTAs we were able to get this tool in place and backlog the information for the past two years! In addition to my work on the database, I was also able to help with some of the day-to-day operations of the Transitional Housing program. This experience really opened my eyes to the high rates of domestic violence that exist in our community, and how much it contributes to the social issues of poverty and homelessness. Compared to many places in Montana, Missoula has a fair amount of resources to help these individuals and families, but it never seems like it’s enough. We, as a community, still have a lot of work to do around these issues. I have grown an immense amount and learned so much since entering this program. My passion for working in human services has really deepened and I am proud to say that I will continue with this work after the completion of my term– this time, as the coordinator for the YWCA Rapid Re-Housing Program, which is set to launch in early September. I look forward to helping homeless families find housing and provide support to help people overcome their barriers. While I am deeply committed to work of the YWCA, my favorite thing about this organization is ladies that I get to work with. The staff here is so supportive and spends their days trying to make things easier for their fellow community members. I feel motivated and inspired by my co-workers all of the time, and feel so grateful to have the opportunity to continue to work with these amazing people. Posted by Miranda Sanderson, AmeriCorps VISTA with the Transitional Housing Program

Pictured: YWCA Missoula AmeriCorps VISTA members Miranda and Maura.