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VISTA Newsletter

FIRST VISTA Newsletter - Fall 2017

VISTA of the Month

The FIRST VISTA program is proud to sponsor “VISTA of the Month”, a program through which VISTA members, Site Supervisors, or other key adult volunteers in the field that work with VISTA members are able to nominate them as recognition for outstanding service. A winner is chosen every month. VISTA members are rewarded for outstanding service and receive a certificate and other recognition items.

Nominate a VISTA

November 2017 VISTA of the Month:  Bradley Voracek, Tempe, AZ

Bradley Voracek

"This past month Brad went from taking on the challenge of his position to seemingly taking on the world. In the past month Brad has driven almost every mile of the state to ensure that all of our LEGO Education grant recipients (that he interviewed, awarded, managed, and supported) had the support they needed , regardless of the distance from our home base. Thanks to his help, all of our grant recipients are participating in a qualifying tournament, and although what we learn is more important than what we win, it is still beyond impressive that some of his teams have advanced to the state championships. There is no doubt that because of Brad's hard work and capacity building, we will see so much growth in undeserved areas of Arizona. Thank you, Brad!"

September 2017 VISTA of the Month: Yolanda Woods, San Antonio, TX

"During orientation/training, Ms. Yolanda expressed deep empathy and desire for change within her community which lets me know she is engaged and involved."


August 2017 VISTA of the Month: VISTA Leaders Amanda Pham, Bryan Martin, and Keyana Hawthorne

"Bryan, Keyana, and Amanda have assisted in ensuring that our VISTAs have a smooth on boarding and transitional process. They have made themselves available to their VISTA cohorts by helping to aid in their professional development, and providing essential resources and information. Collectively, they are a dynamic team, and are truly helping the FIRST VISTA program have a successful program year!" 

June 2017 VISTA of the Month: Keala Cottrell, Beaverton, OR

Keala Cottrell

"Keala has gone above and beyond in improving the long-term capacity and outreach potential for Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program (ORTOP). She has put into place organizational systems that can be used not only by the program managers, but the volunteers to facilitate smoother events. She has created materials to engage the local population with FIRST, both digitally and in print. Through her efforts we have a better show and a better outreach to the community, in a way that will benefit ORTOP for years to come."

May 2017 VISTA of the Month: Kevin Maust, Fairmont, WV

Kevin Maust

"Kevin Maust has been helping an FIRST LEGO League team comprised of visually impaired, and blind students. It is difficult for them to program using a visual based language like the Mindstorm EV3 software. Quorum is a line based software that is allowed to be used in FIRST LEGO League. Kevin has learned how to use Quorum so he can teach the students how to program with it. He puts extraordinary effort into finding creative solutions to help serve the undeserved in our area."

April 2017 VISTA of the Month: Nicole Gonzalez, Puerto Rico

Nicole Gonzalez

"In the brief time that Nicole has been working with the Puerto Rico region she has managed to build critical alliances with new sponsors, existing sponsors, new schools, new organizations, and the media. Through her grit and determination she helped us acquire a critical sponsor, Amgen pharmaceuticals, who is now enamored with our program and will return for greater involvement with Hydro Dynamics. She has built strong ties with the Caribbean Girl Scouts and we are now collaborating to create three all girl GS teams right at the council headquarters in San Juan. She has built a special relationship with coaches and teams and has become their first point of contact for so many of the questions and concerns they have. She sat countless hours with the World Festival Team and worked with them and their parents to make sure they got the support they needed. Through teamwork we were able to get that team an interview on ABC Television and three publications in local newspapers. She saw enormous opportunity with our new role as sponsor for the Scripps National Spelling Bee and quickly put together a promotional campaign for the Spelling Bee Final which was televised. She made sure every attending teacher and principal at the event received a FIRST® Lego® League packet. She is working closely with the Puerto Rico partner to secure sponsorships of a minimum of five public school teams for Hydro Dynamics and as of writing, we got support for three public school teams! I can go on about her extraordinary achievements towards the program in Puerto Rico but what distinguishes Nicole the most is her passion and commitment to FIRST LEGO League. She does not punch in hours. She never looks at the clock and has a complete task oriented focus. She will not stop until the job is done. She is so dedicated to the FIRST organization and to its success here. She has a contagious “ I Can” attitude and everyday she comes to work with a smile, an idea, a plan and a totally disposition to respond to whatever the week’s goals maybe. She is truly among the most accommodating, committed, driven and enjoyable colleague we have had. We consider ourselves very fortunate for her services and her friendship."


Press Releases

October 26, 2017 - FIRST Sparks Passion for Volunteerism

March 10, 2017 - From Rural Towns to Robotics: Coming Full Circle with AmeriCorps VISTA

March 2017 FIRST Newsletter - FIRST Alumni Take On a New Challenge: FIRST VISTAs

Winter 2016 FIRST Newsletter - FIRST VISTA Program Has Much to Crow About

December 6, 2016 - FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA Program Inspires Underserved Youth