I chose to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA because I knew it was a productive way to serve my community. Working as a VISTA has exposed me to the poverty issue the Concho Valley faces and how I am able to help alleviate its presence. I am able to give back to the community using my technical writing and critical thinking skills, while also growing as a young professional and person.
During her VISTA year, Carrie Caldwell has affected the lives of countless individuals in the Concho Valley community. Carrie spent her year working as the Operations Policy Specialist VISTA for Concho Valley Workforce Development Board. The Concho Valley Workforce Development Board is responsible for distributing government funds to Work Force Solutions Concho Valley for education and training to lower unemployment in the region. Carrie worked on creating and completely rewriting the standard operating procedures for her site location. She is particularly proud to have written 25 MOUs, 20 policies, and edited around 60 policies over her year.
Carrie says that she has learned many valuable skills during her term as a VISTA. Among the professional skills she lists are: effective communication within a state agency and how to adapt management styles for the needs of subordinates. Carrie also learned that community service organizations have a lot happening behind the scenes that you do not see from the outside. If she could go back in time and talk to herself at the start of her service term she would tell herself that being the Operations Policy Specialist VISTA will take a lot of mental fitness and patience but it is worth it. Her advice for future VISTAs is to not let the expectations of their job get the better of them and to be flexible. Carrie would also remind them that patience is an important virtue in the work place.
At the end of her VISTA year, Carrie is happy to have learned the many valuable skills she did. She will continue to work for the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board on policy over the summer and in the fall will attend University of Texas Houston Health Science Center to get her Master’s in Public health.