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Center's VISTAs Assist at iDignity, Other Programs Serving the Homeless

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AmeriCorps VISTAs hosted by the Center for Public and Nonprofit Management continue to assist local organizations serving individuals who are homeless.

CPNM VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) routinely have assignments at school districts or community organizations that serve homeless students and families, said Tim Pehlke, the center's assistant director for special projects. They help build the district and organizations' capacity to serve through volunteer management, resource development, program evaluation and project management.

The VISTAs also assist at communitywide events. For example, several assisted at an iDignity event on June 18 at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in downtown Orlando. iDignity is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals obtain Florida ID cards and licenses, birth certificates, Social Security cards, replacement immigration records and other documents. The organization may serve up to 250 individuals at a single event.

CPNM VISTA LogoAmong those assisting was Stacy Raymonville (B.A. in public administration, '15) (wearing AmeriCorps VISTA pin in photo), who joined the CPNM VISTA program this spring. Her assignment is with Orange County Public Schools.

Also assiting was CPMN VISTA Samantha McDonald ('14), who interviewed iDignity clients for an outcomes study being conducted by the center. She is assigned to work as a homeless student liaison at iDignity.

Currently, the CPNM VISTA program has 15 VISTAs at five sites across a three-county region, according to Pehlke. They're working at Brevard Public Schools in Brevard County; Orange County Public Schools, iDignity and UCF in Orange County; and Northland, A Church Distributed in Seminole County.

Six of the 15 CPNM VISTAs are UCF alumni. And three of the six alumni are graduates of the College of Health and Public Affairs: Raymonville, Ray Noah (Master of Nonprofit Management, '12) and Shardy Camargo (B.S. in public administration, '13). The balance of CPNM VISTAs are graduates of other universities in Florida and out of state.

"This past year, CPNM VISTAs raised over $67,000 in cash and in-kind donations, recruited 158 community volunteers, and provided services that reached a total of 4,250 youth," Pehlke said.

To learn more about the CPNM VISTA program, contact

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