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Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

 
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Angels In Our Midst

Updated: Tuesday, July 1 2014, 04:19 PM CDT
Since 1965, Americans have been called to national and community service through the Americorps and Vista programs.
This many years later, people across the country are still answering the call.

Right here in Northwest Florida, what they give to the community is invaluable.

Whether they sign on for one month, one summer or a full year, they come with passion, commitment and a heart for service.
Zachary Post, with Americorps, said "I'm a social work student over at the University of West Florida, so, giving back and helping others is what I want to do with my life."

Carlee Hoffmann, with Vista, said "I think that non-profits have a lot of power, the ability to change lives and affect the community.  So, I've always seen myself doing this type of work."
                                                        
Apollo Perry, with Americorps, said "I was in the military and I was looking for the next place to serve that was similar to the military; something that was going to be a passion project."

The Vista and Americorps programs are intertwined but offer different assistance at the non-profits where they're assigned.
Greg Strader, Brace Executive Director, said "The Vistas are capacity builders. They make our organization, and many others in our community that are benefitting from their service, stronger organizationally."

That includes everything from using their tech and creative skills to design websites and brochures, to performing office duties, to helping with preparations for an annual meeting.  No tasks are considered menial.

The Americorps teams are in the trenches providing direct services.  They helped with the tear out and mucking of homes after the flood and do screening for financial assistance.
Apollo Perry, with Americorps, said "We'll also do stuff like helping rebuild an oyster reef or community building project of that nature.  We just try to strengthen our community in any way we possibly can."

In every community, the assignments are mission specific; literacy, health, the environment.  In Escambia County, their issue is poverty; helping break the cycle.

"if you're growing up in a home which is living in poverty, which can't make ends meets, in a rough part of town; odds are, statistically speaking, that's where you're going to end up as an adult.  And it just perpetuates itself," said Post.

Carlee Hoffmann, with Vista, said "I coordinate the Vista program at United Way; which is the volunteer income tax assistance program.  It's part of our financial stability initiative."

Vistas and Americorps volunteers expand the reach of non-profits which are working with minimal staff and limited financial resources.
"Without the support of the Vistas and Americorps members, we couldn't do a fraction of what we're able to do for survivors, right now, or the community on an ongoing basis," said Strader.

   Carlee hoffmann, vista;  "not only to experience other walks of life and give back to the community but also to see the way the community really comes together.  And, you know, the way everyone helps each other out.  It's really been an amazing experience."

   Apollo perry, Americorps;  "knowing that you made a difference in somebody's life, at the end of the day."

   Angels in our midst is brought to you by the children's hospital at sacred heart.
Angels In Our Midst


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