AmeriCorps VISTA: Kaitlyn Elizabeth Hill
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) members are placed at the National Network for Arab American Communities' (NNAAC) member organizations to develop new programs, recruit volunteers and seek program funding.
Get to know Kaitlyn Elizabeth Hill, one of our 2016-17 AmeriCorps VISTA members, in our interview with her below!
Kaitlyn Elizabeth Hill
ACCESS Growth Center | Dearborn, Mich.
Q: Why did you join the VISTA program?
A: I joined the VISTA program as a way to get involved in the nonprofit sector and still make enough money to live. I got involved with my first VISTA position through a friend who raved about the organization. I applied immediately to be a summer VISTA, but that was only going to be a summer so I started to immediately plan for what would come next. I was looking for a position in Michigan and stumbled upon this position with NNAAC. I was unfamiliar with the work of NNAAC and its partners, but I knew it was an institution of ACCESS, which I had already been introduced to through its role in the Arab American National Museum. I had done work specifically focused on refugees and had met and become well-acquainted with the stories and struggles of some local refugees, so the fact that providing greater economic opportunity to refugees was a part of the project really appealed to me. I've also lived my entire life in Southeastern Michigan and, being well acquainted with all of the economic difficulties being faced by the people in this area, I was excited to be a part of a project focused on improving my community.
Q: What personal or professional goals do you want to achieve during this program?
A: My hope is that during my time at the Growth Center I will gain a better understanding of how local community organizations work. I also hope to gain footing in grant writing, the carrying out of needs assessments, marketing, and program creation. I would also like to have a better understanding of the cultures and needs of the Metro Detroit area for, though I have lived near Metro Detroit for years, it's an area I know only a little about. A personal goal of mine is to learn the basics of the Arabic language and culture so that I can better understand the people that I will be working with through the Growth Center and better understand my Arab identifying neighbors and the role they have played and are playing in the community.
Q: How does this program fit into your future plans?
A: My goal is to work in the nonprofit sector. Ideally, I would like to focus on community and economic development as well as the needs of refugee and immigrant populations. Thus my work at the Growth Center will not only give me experience in my desired field but also allow me to gain invaluable skills like grant writing. I also have a lot of love and respect for ACCESS, the Metro Detroit area, and the people of this community so, even if I never get to work in nonprofit again, I will be forever proud that I got to work with such an amazing organization and to serve such a dynamic and diverse community.
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
A: Passionate, Kind, Student
At each host organization, VISTA members will either develop a new program, or build the reach and scope of an already existing program. VISTA members will be involved in grant writing and fundraising for employment programs, and will recruit a corps of volunteers to continue with the program beyond the VISTA cycle. Click here to learn more.