Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Little About Me...

Hola! My name is Lizbeth Rivera and I am a VISTA with Texas HIPPY in Edinburg.

A little about me:

I am 26 year old Libra born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. I am married with two little explorers (ages 2 & 4) that require of all my energy and time. I am currently serving my 2nd year as a VISTA and my 3rd as an Americorps member. You can say that I am very patient and understanding. Oh! and I am also pretty shy.

I am really looking forward to this new journey and I know that I will be learning alot of new things. I think HIPPY is an awesome program and a great opportunity to help families bring out the fullest potential in their children in order to help them succeed. I sure wish this could have been available to me as I was growing up. As well, I am looking forward to getting to know everybody.

Buen Dia,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

I'm in the Dallas Morning News! Read below:

Obama signs legislation tripling AmeriCorps national service program
11:03 PM CDT on Tuesday, April 21, 2009
By LAURA ISENSEE / The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON – Twenty-two-year-old Sarah Thorne skipped the job-and-résumé route when she graduated from college last August. Instead, the self-described bright-eyed idealist moved from Florida to North Texas to promote early childhood education.
Thorne, a volunteer with AmeriCorps VISTA, lives on the edge of Carrollton on $900 a month – near the poverty line like the families her program targets – and leads a Brownie troop in her free time. That kind of volunteerism will get a major boost from a bill that President Barack Obama signed into law Tuesday in Washington. The $5.7 billion measure triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands the ways people, from middle-schoolers to baby boomers, can earn money for college through volunteer work.
At the bill signing, Obama, who worked as a community organizer in Chicago, called on more Americans to serve. "We need your service right now, at this moment in history. I'm not going to tell you what your role should be; that's for you to discover. But I'm asking you to stand up and play your part. I'm asking you to help change history's course, put your shoulder up against the wheel," Obama said.
Obama stressed service during his campaign and asked for the bill in his first address to Congress. It sailed through the House and Senate in a little over three weeks with largely bipartisan support. The measure builds on a spirit of service already percolating across the country, said Alan Solomont, who chairs the board of the Corporation for National and Community Service that oversees AmeriCorps. Applications have flooded the agency: Online applications in the last five months have jumped 234 percent from the same period last year. Part of that can be credited to the recession. But the leading edge of the new wave of volunteers, Solomont believes, are millennials who are coming of age – like Thorne.
She's working – and blogging about her efforts – to establish a program to help involve low-income parents in their children's early education in Carrollton. On the volunteer job since August, Thorne had her first sit-down last week with the assistant superintendent of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district. The program, called Texas Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, or HIPPY, hopes to double its number of volunteers like Thorne with the AmeriCorps VISTA. Other ways AmeriCorps involves volunteers: mentoring, repairing homes for seniors and promoting financial literacy.
The expansion "has great potential," said Elizabeth Seale, who directs One Star Foundation, which administers the AmeriCorps grant program in Texas. Seale said it is too early to know how many new volunteers will come to Texas, where there are more than 94,000 volunteers.
Texas ranks 33rd in the country in the rate of volunteering, according to census data. Dallas is 19th among large cities; Austin is fifth. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, hopes more volunteers will come to the border and work in colonias, which lack running water and sewer systems.
"The communities that most need volunteer service are the ones that can least afford to pay for it," said Cuellar, who added a provision that eliminates the costs requirements for colonias.
The expansion does have its challenges, said Peter Frumkin, head of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin. "The real challenge is going to be maintaining quality and getting what you want," said Frumkin, who has studied the AmeriCorps program. "It's hard to do fine-tuning in massive expansion mode."

Pick up a copy! I wish they'd included the picture of me on the rock wall with a caption like "Thorne Reaches New Heights in AmeriCorps" or something... maybe next time ;)