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Apple orchards, art, and training opportunities

September 23, 2011

As promised, here is another VISTA Living post. If you have any suggestions for content be sure to let your VISTA Leaders know!

Free/Cheap Entertainment:

  • Want to go see the Science Museum but think you can’t afford the admission price? Think again! If you receive food support you are eligible for super cheap tickets (ranging from $1 to $3). Click here for more info. Not on food support but still have your handy student ID? You too can receive a great discount on Thursdays after 5 PM.
  • Do you enjoy art? Do you enjoy free events? Then check out the Three Rivers Park District’s Field Trip on Saturday, September 24! The fun takes place at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony, MN and runs from noon to 9 PM. There will be a poetry walk, canoeing, live music, square dancing, and tomfoolery. Who could ask for more?
  • Get outside and enjoy the beauty of Fall! MN abounds with fabulous state parks and the cost of a day pass is only $5. Click here for a statewide listing.

VISTA Site Events:

  • ThreeSixty Journalism’s September issue is out! If your site works with adolescents, this magazine could be a great resource. Read it here. Interested in receiving a free subscription? Contact Andrea.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Thanks to everyone who served during 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance! Remember, if you want to stay involved with direct service this year many of your VISTA colleagues are looking for volunteers so don’t be afraid to ask if anyone needs help on the Google Group.


  • Is your site looking for financial literacy resources? Are you looking to get fiscally solvent? Check out these FREE webinars from the University of MN! Registration begins soon.
  • Interested in grad school? Love working in nonprofits? Not sure what to do after your VISTA year ends? Gain some direction at the Idealist Grad Fair. It takes place at the Humphrey Institute on October 4 and it’s FREE.
  • As your fellow VISTA Sarah shared on the Google Group there is a FREE cultural proficiency workshop on Somali and Latino cultures coming up! They will be held in Richfield on October 6. Check it out.

Cheap Eats/Food Resources:

  • It’s harvest time in Minnesota so be sure to take advantage of the farmer’s markets and orchards scattered across the state! Have a hankering to go apple picking this weekend? Not sure where the nearest market is? Check out the MN Grown Directory.

VISTA Exchange Network:

  • Need some spare binders at your host site? Does your site have more used children’s books than they know what to do with? Advertise on the VISTA Exchange Network! Just let your VISTA Leaders know if you have anything you need or want to donate via email or the Google Group!

VISTA Living

September 2, 2011

This post is the first in a bi-weekly series about VISTA living and will contain information about entertainment, VISTA site events, volunteer opportunities, trainings, food, and resource-sharing. Feel free to send your VISTA Leaders content suggestions or post them in the Google Group!

Free/Cheap Entertainment:

  • Are you Ukrainian? Have a passion for cultural festivals? Then check out the Twin Cities Ukrainian Heritage Festival on Sunday, September 18 at the Ukrainian Event Center (301 Main St. in NE Minneapolis). Song, dance, food, arts/crafts, and learning are all on the agenda. Best of all, admission is free! Click here for more info.

VISTA Site Events:

  • Krystal’s host site, Camp Fire USA, is having a fundraiser on September 29 and is looking for volunteers to help. If you’d like to get involved and attend a wine tasting benefit for a good cause then email Krystal or the events coordinator (more info available here).

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is fast upon us and now is your chance to get involved! The InterCorps Council (ICC) of MN has put together some great service opportunities for AmeriCorps members across the state. Click here to see a listing of the opportunities and to register.


  • Interested in grant writing but don’t know where to begin? The MN Council of Churches VISTA cohort may be hosting a beginning grant writing workshop this fall and wants to know if any MLC VISTAs would be interested in using professional development funds to join in. Let Krista know if this is a skill you’d like to learn!
  • Learn how to teach civics and citizenship to immigrants with a FREE workshop on September 13 from 1-4 PM at the MN Department of Education in Roseville. For more information and to register, click here. Hurry! Registration closes on September 6!
  • Do you work with refugees and immigrants? Are you interested in cultural competency? Then check out Neighborhood House’s line up of fall trainings. This is a great opportunity to use your professional development funds!

Cheap Eats/Food Resources:

  • Fare for All is a cooperative food sharing program in MN that can help you save 40% on your grocery bills! There are distribution sites all across the state and anyone is welcome to take part. Basically you purchase food grab bags for a set price ($10 for vegetarian, $14 for meat, $20 for both). Check out their website for more information.

VISTA Exchange Network:

  • Are you moving and want to lighten your load? Are you new in town and in need of some furnishings? This section is where you can post your need for free things or your need to donate/swap worldly goods with other VISTAs. Just let your VISTA Leaders know via email or the Google Group!

Early Service Training Recap

August 26, 2011

Happy Friday, VISTAs!

A week has already passed since Early Service Training and we’re finally getting around to posting some presenter resources. Below you will find links to the handout from Anna Peters and the Prezi presentations from Kimberly and Ellen.

I’ve also posted the link to the training evaluation. If you haven’t already given us your feedback, please take a couple of minutes to do so now. We value what you have to say!

As we mentioned during EST, you will submit monthly reports in addition to quarterly reports. The monthly reports aren’t scary–we promise–and will be a great resource for when you complete the quarterly reports. The first monthly report is due September 1st (Thursday!). Click here.

Lastly, just a reminder that the MLC is launching its new website with the fancy VISTA Portal in mid-September. Don’t worry. We’ll let you know when the big day finally arrives. Until then look to the Bulletin Board for updates and resources.

Training Handouts and Presentations:

Progress Reports with Ellen Bergstrom

Policies and Procedures with Kimberly Conger

Diversity and Inclusion with Anna Peters

Training Evaluation:

EST 2011 Evaluation

Hamline University MNM & MPA AmeriCorps Discount

May 12, 2011

AmeriCorps 25% Tuition Reduction Program

Earn a Master in Nonprofit Management or Master in Public Administration through Hamline School of Business

Service—It is a basic part of your value system! Through your AmeriCorps experiences, you have served, led, and changed the world.  The world needs leaders like you who will make a living out of serving!

AmeriCorps members and alumni can receive a 25% tuition reduction for one graduate course per semester in the MNM or MPA programs. The Hamline University Master in Nonprofit Management and Master in Public Administration programs are taught by scholars and practitioners who have spent their lives in service to others.

For more information about these programs, check out This Flyer.

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

May 5, 2011

High Impact Leadership, MAP for Nonprofits, Tuesday, May 17, 9 am – 4 pm, $75
What if you could be at your best when the situation is at its worst? Or when facing a new, exciting but terrifying challenge? Or when conflict is bubbling around you just under the surface? This workshop will help you better understand your emotions and manage them more effectively so that you bring your best thinking to your leadership.
Questions? Contact Sharon at or 651-647-1216.

Nonprofit Leadership Conference, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, Tuesday, June 14, 8:30 am – 5 pm, cost varies
Nonprofits operate in a confined context. Externally, social, economic and fiscal realities can limit the scope of our work; and internally, outlooks and attitudes can limit our ability and influence. Awareness of these dynamics is increasingly important in today’s environment. Nonprofits are in a unique position to maneuver with a set of attributes and strengths that can help us to lead beyond limits, including the ability to be nimble, resourceful, innovative and resilient. As a sector we’re in a position to fulfill public need and advance the common good. Join the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the Humphrey School’s Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center to share ideas, strategies and attitudes about how nonprofit organizations, including yours, lead beyond limits – engaging people, improving systems, and strengthening communities.

These are just two opportunities available. What others do you know of that other VISTAs may be interested in?

Coming Soon: AmeriCorps Week!

April 29, 2011

AmeriCorps Week 2011 is just around the corner! Check out the schedule below to see what’s happening in Minnesota.

Saturday, May 14: Kickball for a Cause

Monday, May 16: AmeriCorps Week Day of Service

Tuesday, May 17: Super-Charge Your Service–Trainings for AmeriCorps Members

Wednesday, May 18: Program Staff Appreciation Day

Friday, May 20: My Corps Values Showcase and Discussion

For more information on these events and to register, visit ICC Minnesota’s AmeriCorps Week Page.

Life After AmeriCorps Training Recap

April 12, 2011
Thank you all for participating in our April 8 “Life After AmeriCorps” Training. Here’s a recap of the day, with resources from the presenters!
Training Agenda

Life and Values Walk with Katie Johnson
Resources coming soon!

Financing Graduate School with Jason Lum
Scholar Edge College Consulting – Jason Lum’s website

Smart Strategies for Landing a Job with Jennifer Williams
Smart Strategies for Landing a Job – Presentation Slides
Sample Professional Summary Statements *New*

Social Media and Career Advancement with SocialNicole
Nicole’s Blog Post about our Training – included here is the Prezi presentation and some great resources

Ins-and-Outs of Ending Service, Announcements and Closing

  • Visit the Life After AmeriCorps Page for more resources and information
  • Progress Reports are due April 15! Please pay special attention to the stories section of the report. All stories should focus on the impact of your capacity building on the community, and should answer the question, “So What?”
  • We will have an End of Year Celebration in June or July. Details will be announced soon.
  • Remember that you have professional development stipends! (See Policies and Procedures for details on how to use this resource.)