Last week, Cohort 7 came together for their second Peer Learning Session at The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities. This session focused on refining volunteer management plans and participating in Spotlight Cases from Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA) and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Both organizations presented a “spotlight” on a specific issue or challenge in their volunteer programs and then received feedback and suggestions from their peers to address the issues. Throughout the program year, all six organizations have this cross-organizational, peer-to-peer learning opportunity.
In the afternoon, two guests shared capacity building opportunities supporting volunteer programs. Danette Martin, Program Officer at the Corporation for National & Community Service, detailed the Corporation’s AmeriCorps VISTA Program, a national service program that supports efforts to alleviate poverty by engaging individuals, 18 years and older, in a year of full-time service with a sponsoring organization. She discussed the upcoming application process and highlighted the potential impact of mobilizing AmeriCorps volunteers to support organizational capacity and growth. This was Danette’s second time presenting to HALO Award winners – last year her presentation and support helped two organizations from Cohort 6, human-I-T and Stars (formerly Lake Avenue Community Foundation), receive VISTA volunteers for this upcoming cycle.
Ilir Lita, Program Manager for Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, shared the newly launched platform and mobile app, VolunteerLA, Mayor Garcetti's effort to civically engage residents in the City of Los Angeles and across the region through volunteerism. The VolunteerLA web platform is a centralized clearinghouse for service opportunities. While this platform is still in its early implementation stages, it is a promising tool for volunteer-seeking organizations and volunteers alike.