Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

According to Greek Mythology the labyrinth was created by a genius inventor who angered King Minos when he helped the Queen to seduce a bull. After her relationship with the bull the queen gave birth to a half man, half bull beast, the minotaur. King Mino's sentenced the inventor, the queen, and the minotaur to a lifetime of living within the weaving walls of the labyrinth, unable to escape.

Moral of the story is that sometimes there may be a dozen paths to choose from and all of them lead to a dead end or a fire breathing monster.

So far I've been researching young professional groups and how one might utilize those groups to engage young donors. In order to complete some of the research I found myself in need of a library card.

Thinking this would be a simple task I set off to the library, card application in hand, only to discover that there was a minotaur library who denied my application on the basis that I am not a 'resident' of Indianapolis. I live here; I work here, yet since I don't pay utilities I virtually don't exist.

After several phone calls and emails I discovered that to receive a library card I would need to have the Office of Community Service write me a letter confirming my assistance in Indianapolis.

Letter in hand I trucked all the way down town to the main library. The circulation desk informed me that as of last week they would issue library cards to VISTA's regardless of their residency status and that the policy change was in effect for all of the city libraries.

It took me a week to cut through the red tape, but in the end it's the small victories that matter.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My First Week as a VISTA

One week into my year as a VISTA and I am starting to feel like I have some stable ground underneath me. For those who don't know what I am doing I am working as a VISTA in an Indianapolis non-profit called Girls Inc.

VISTA is a specific type of Americorps member who serves for one year doing capacity building within an organization. The goal of a VISTA is to create the ground work so that later when the organization does not have a VISTA they will be able to function without that position. VISTA's also work specifically to combat poverty throughout America, therefore all VISTA project sites work towards that goal in one way or another.

Girls Inc. is an organization that works to inspire all Girls to be Strong, Smart and Bold through educational programming at various partners throughout the area.

Specifically I am a fund development specialist, working to develop donor programs for young donors as well as build a functioning speakers bureau.

So far I have discovered that Indiana has ice unlike anything I've ever seen before, to the point where you have to punch you window to break up the ice enough to scrape it off, no joke. I love the architecture around town, and how it varies dependent on the area you are in. The buildings here are mostly older, big brick Victorians with porches on the front.

Primarily I have been doing a lot of research, learning about the organization, the demographic I am aiming at, and the projects I will be working on. I visited with the Indiana office of national and community service and got to chat with other VISTA's about their projects make some contact that I will be able to use throughout my service.

Its bitter cold here, mostly because of the humidity and wind chill and I am slowly adapting. I will be moving in with my new roommate next week, a medical intern so I'm hoping I get to hear all the juicy hospital stories, just like on grey's anatomy… jk. I miss the mountains but I can't wait till I get my life a little more settled so I can explore the town. Indianapolis has a lot going on, museums, theatres, and festivals and I am looking forward to checking it all out when I have the time.