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VISTA Partner Sites

OneStar VISTA members are placed at a diverse range of nonprofits and government agencies throughout the state of Texas to address a variety of needs. Here are a few of our partners that are effectively leveraging the support of VISTA to further their efforts to fight poverty.


Alliance of Community Assistance Ministries

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (1)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity; Healthy Futures; Disaster Services

Description: The Alliance for Community Assistance Ministries (ACAM) seeks to advance high impact collaboration, service excellence and organizational development among community assistance ministries. The VISTA will assist in managing ACAM’s donor contact systems and establish ways to cultivate funder partners, such as conduct research related to available grants, specific funders, donation management tools and event formats.

Program Contact: Sharon Zachary (sharon@acamweb.org)


Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at The University of Texas – Austin

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (2)

Location: Austin

Focus Areas: Education

Description: The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life (www.annettestrauss.org) at The University of Texas at Austin envisions a democracy where all citizens are informed, vote, and are actively involved in improving their communities. Through nonpartisan research, education, and outreach, the Institute seeks to understand and overcome obstacles to civic engagement. The Education Outreach VISTA will help build the capacity of the Annette Strauss Institute’s youth action civics initiative, Speak Up! Speak Out! (SUSO).

Program Contact: Heaher Vaughn (Heather.Vaughn@austin.utexas.edu)


Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 6 (6)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Education

Description: The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation (BBHLF) mission is to improve the quality of life of Houstonians across all age groups through the power of literacy. The Volunteer Management VISTAs, the Communication VISTA, the Development VISTA and Technology VISTA collaborate to support and carryout the Blueprint for Action to address the literacy crisis in Houston.

Program Contact: José Calvillo (jose@bushhoustonliteracy.org)


Bexar County PEARLS Court

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (0)

Location: San Antonio

Focus Areas: Education

Description:   The mission of PEARLS Court is to invest in females ages 14 to 18 who have been placed in foster care. Overseen by Judges Rosie Alvardo and Angélica Jimenez, PEARLS (Preparation, Esteem, Achievement. Resiliency, Learning, Strength, and Stamina) Court provides therapeutic care and case management, life skills training, and mentoring to support them through aging out of the foster care system. The VISTA member will develop life skill resources to enhance the knowledge and resiliency skills of aging out foster youth and coordinate with community partners to create a life-skills curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of each individual participant.

Program Contact: Kimberlee Morrison (pearls1@bexar.org)


Beacon Hill Preparatory Institute 

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Dallsa

Focus Areas: Education

Description:  Beacon Hill's mission is to provide holistic child development through academic, cultural, and life-skills programs with active parental involvement. The vision is to build an education institute that supplements existing school systems and prepares families and students for future success. Beacon Hill is committed to academic excellence and design and implement academic and enrichment programs that transcend traditional boundaries in order to develop the critical skills required for effective lifelong learning.

Program Contact: Charnella Derry (cderry@beaconhillprep.org)


Bookspring

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (2)

Location: Austin

Focus Areas: Education

Description:  BookSpring builds early literacy in low-income children and families through partnerships with healthcare providers, schools, and community and nonprofit groups. Through access to books, promotional events, and information on how to engage families. BookSpring supports over one hundred thousand child engagements with books for ownership annually. The Volunteer Program Developer VISTA will review, design, and implement enhancements to existing volunteer management processes in order to achieve self-structuring sustainability with potential for growth to BookSpring’s volunteer program. The Peer-to-Peer Campaign VISTA will help BookSpring increase its capacity to build early literacy access through peer-to-peer fundraising and public awareness campaigns.

Program Contact: Mariela Rodriguez (mariela.rodriguez@bookspring.org)


Bridges of Hope: The Community Coalition

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Beaumont

Focus Areas: Education; Economic Opportunity

Description:  Bridges of Hope builds relationships, forms partnerships, encourages empowerment and transforms the community by working with Southeast Texas churches, organizations and volunteers to walk alongside women as they develop to their fullest potential. The Fund Development VISTA builds organizational capacity to fight poverty by developing donor relationships and creating a fund development plan to support the sustainability of the organization.

Program Contact: Laura Bracken (laurabtcc@gmail.com)


Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy – Texas A&M

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: College Station

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity, Healthy Futures

Description:  The Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service seeks to improve the effectiveness of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in Texas and beyond through engaged learning, high-quality research, and professional outreach. The Center currently focuses on the state of Texas and prioritizes underserved areas, especially local organizations through the Brazos Valley Initiative (BVI), a collection of serves twenty-seven organizations dedicated to helping low income individuals in the region. The Center for Nonprofits & Philanthropy Outreach VISTA will build the capacity of nonprofits in the community to increase the number of impoverished individuals served.

Program Contact: Dr. Kenneth Taylor (kataylor@tamu.edu)


Communities in Schools of Central Texas

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Austin

Focus Areas: Education

Description: Communities In Schools of Central Texas (CIS), is a local affiliate of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering students to stay in school and achieve in life. The Alumni Network VISTA will serve to help young people who grew up in poverty and received services from CIS be successful in college and career by providing additional supports after graduation through an alumni program.

Program Contact: Debra Joiner (djoiner@ciscentraltexas.org)


Family Eldercare

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Austin

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity

Description:  Founded in 1982, Family Eldercare is a multi-services organization for older adults and adults with disabilities. The Housing Needs for Older Adults VISTA project will build organizational capacity to expand and enhance homeless/housing focused services for that target population. The VISTA member will work closely with program leadership and social workers to build infrastructure, develop curriculum, and improve data systems and processes. These activities will strengthen community engagement and improve service delivery for older adults and adults with disabilities at-risk or experiencing homelessness.

Program Contact: Claire Rheaume (CRheaume@familyeldercare.org)


Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity 

Description: Fifth Ward CRC's mission is to catalyze resources to build and preserve an inclusive 5th Ward Community by developing places and opportunities for people to live, work, and play. FWCRC seeks to increase access to amenities and residential and commercial spaces while also reducing blight. We do this through real estate development, rehabilitation, disaster recovery repairs, historic preservation, and streetscape beautification. FWCRC's work aims to build the wealth and assets of low-income households, while also providing opportunities for newcomers to 5th Ward to create a healthy, mixed-income neighborhood where diverse families can prosper.

Program Contact: Zarana Sanghani (zsanghani@fifthwardcrc.org)


Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 3 (2)

Location: Dallas

Focus Areas: Education

Description: Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) was founded over one hundred years ago and serves 25,000 girls in the North Texas region. With the help of the AmeriCorps*Texas grant, GSNETX launched a pilot program called Girl Scout Academy to connect Girls Scouts to schools and communities. The VISTAs will help the program expand and specifically focus on low income, non-English, and Latinx communities in the Dallas area which will fall into the Title 1 classification.  The VISTAS will assist with program partner recruitment, developing onboarding systems, and developing trainings for teacher/volunteers in curriculum. They will also ensure program quality and utilization of curriculum standards through an on-site monitoring system to be established.

Program Contact: Eboni Chopp (echopp@gsnetx.org)


Grace After Fire

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Veterans and Military Families

Description:  Grace After Fire is dedicated to helping women veterans help themselves by providing the means to gain knowledge, insight and self-renewal as they re-enter back into their communities, the workforce and in their homes. A VISTA member will help with program expansion and veteran outreach by developing a plan and financial roadmap that will help the organization expand their long-term community impact.

Program Contact: Mea Williams (mea@graceafterfire.org)


Harris County Department of Education: CASE for Kids

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 4 (4)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Education

Description: Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Afterschool, Summer and Expanded Learning (CASE for Kids), is a division dedicated to supporting high quality out of school time (OST) programming to over 7,000 students each year. CASE for Kids’ 4 VISTAs (Community Engagement VISTA, Social Emotional Learning VISTA, School Readiness VISTA, and Sustainability) help communities by building collaborative partnerships to support at-risk students and their families and educate elected officials, foundations and businesses on the importance of sustaining effective programs.

Program Contact: Trina Finley (TFinley@hcde-texas.org)


Houston Community Toolbank

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (2)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity

Description:  The Houston Community ToolBank serves community-based organizations by providing tools, equipment and expertise to empower their goals. Over the past three years, the Houston Community ToolBank has equipped 144,000 volunteers to complete over 9,802 projects in and around Houston. Currently, they are heavily focused on lending for Hurricane Harvey Recovery efforts, with roughly two thirds of tools going out to disaster recovery projects. Their current VISTAs focus on communication and outreach and improving their data management and tracking systems.

Program Contact: Erika Hornsey (erika.hornsey@toolbank.org)


iEducate

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 3 (3)

Location: Houston

Focus Areas: Education

Description: iEducate aims to improve student achievement in underserved communities by engaging college students within the classroom model. iEducate is building a year-round model for school districts to engage youth to close achievement gaps at a foundational level. iEducate will utilize VISTA members to develop the tools and processes for program operations, partnerships and technology that will allow iEducate to further improve education equity for students in low-income communities within the Greater Houston area and build this foundation for future growth.

Program Contact: Arun Gir (arun@ieducateusa.org)


Imagine Art

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (2)

Location: Austin

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity

Description: Imagine Art is a faith-based organization that has established a space where both artists with and without disabilities thrive. Imagine Art offers specialized supports tailored to empower artists with disabilities to create art.  Non-disabled players engage as working artists in our studios to create a diverse, inclusive space. The Long Term Care VISTAs will seek to design and establish innovative programming of long-term care residential services for Imagine Art’s community.

Program Contact: Debbie Kizer (debbie@imagineart.net)


Mosaic In Action

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (1)

Location: Pearland

Focus Areas: Economic Opportunity

Description: Mosaic in Action’s core mission has evolved to focus on improving the lives of county residents by working towards a goal of
safe, sanitary, and secure homes for all. Given Brazoria county’s coastal location, with recurrent adverse weather events, Mosaic in Action recognizes that many people are living in ever-deteriorating housing conditions. Substandard housing is less able to endure severe weather, and each new weather event forces residents further into a downward spiral, where escalating repair costs and a decreasingly habitable property, are paired with lower property values and worsening safety and health effects. Mosaic in Action undertakes to reverse this decline, to improve the health and well-being of Brazoria County residents caught in this situation.

Program Contact: Jim Liberatore (frjimbo@msn.com)


OneStar Foundation

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 2 (2)

Location: Austin – Statewide

Focus Areas: Capacity Building

Description: OneStar promotes the nonprofit sector and innovative public-private partnerships to drive community solutions. OneStar’s VISTA Intermediary Project will also have two VISTA Leaders to help support OneStar’s VISTAs serving throughout Texas.

Program Contact: Lauren Tarin (lauren@onestarfoundation.org


Veterans Center of North Texas

VISTAs Awarded (Current VISTAs Placed): 1 (1)

Location: Plano

Focus Areas: Veterans and Families

Description: The Veterans Center of North Texas (VCONT) was founded in June 2014 to meet the specific needs of North Texas Veterans. The mission of the Veterans Center of North Texas is to assist North Texas Veterans and their families to integrate into their communities and maintain productive lifestyles.  Support, assistance, and financial aid are provided through information and referral to all Veterans with the goal to identify benefits and services available through government and community-based organizations.

Program Contact: Charles D. Kelley (ckelley@vcont.org