Name: Jon Bernier
Host Site: Roger Williams University
Where did you go to school? University of South Carolina, majored in Public Relations
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to teach in higher education
If you could have any super power, what would it be? Teleportation
Story of Service
My VISTA service is within the Feinstein Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. My position’s main goal is to create systems for sustaining co-curricular and service learning community-based work. I work with current community partners and help strengthen our relationship with them, while making new connections with organizations in the community.
So far, I have helped coordinate the largest community service event of the year at Roger Williams, Community Connections. Community Connections is an annual day of service at the University for incoming freshmen. Roger Williams requires 5 hours of community service to be eligible to graduate, and this gives freshmen the opportunity to not only complete their graduation requirement, but gives them an opportunity to see what community service is like. We sent out over 1400 students, faculty and staff to 56 non-profit organizations, and although it was a stressful day, it was a very successful one.
I also have to complete an evaluation report for this year’s Community Connections, requiring me to go analyze the results for the day and give extensive details about what went right and wrong, and what we can do next year to make it better. I am also currently contacting community partners to coordinate events for which they may need volunteers. Because of
Community Connections, many of these partners have participated with us and would like to continue their relationship with the school.
Throughout my year, I have plenty of other objectives to keep me busy. I’ll be the volunteer coordinator for the Habitat for Humanity build in Bristol that will begin next year. I’ll also be assisting in the annual Turkey Baskets, Giving Tree, and 5th Grade Day Programs.
So far, my favorite part about being a VISTA is that I have already learned so much in the short time that I’ve been at Roger Williams. My supervisor, KC Ferrara, has been great at showing me the ropes of volunteer management and helping me adjust to a new work environment. I’m also looking forward to building my professional network as the year progresses.
Knowing that my work actually helps others and does good is easily the most rewarding part of being a VISTA.