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Tag Archives: AmeriCorps

Fall: The Season of Change

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

My year of service as Marketing Associate VISTA has been an exciting one. I’ve learned a lot and have been involved with some of the biggest changes at Creative Action. The biggest change recently has been the transition from Theatre Action Project to Creative Action. Although we have changed our name, we are still fighting for the same cause (read about the name change here).

As we transition into fall, we are featuring our first event under our new name, Creative Action. This October we are proud to present the family fun and pie contest, I Spy Pie! at Central Market North. It’s going to be fun for all with arts and crafts, live music from The Biscuit Brothers, and pie tastings from the following competing bakeries:

  • Central Market Bakery
  • Central Market Cooking School
  • Jeffrey’s
  • Texas Pie Kitchen
  • Tiny Pies

Hope to see you there!

P.S. My favorite pie flavor is razzle dazzle berry pie.

Join us at I Spy Pie! on Saturday, October 20th at Central Market North. 12 – 3 p.m.
Family fun, arts and crafts and pie for families of all ages!

Want to volunteer? Sign up here for 1 or 2 (or both) shifts:  I Spy Pie! Volunteer Sign Up.

AmeriCorps Works Video Contest

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

This past month, I worked on a video project to submit to the 2012 AmeriCorps Video Contest. The theme for the contest is “AmeriCorps Works” so I tried to communicate:

  • The diversity of people who work for AmeriCorps and their effect on  their communities
  • Who we serve
  • The variety of locations served in communities across America (including different cities and variety of organizations being helped)

I ended up having Mary Alice Carnes, my AmeriCorps VISTA supervisor and fellow Theatre Action Project (TAP) coworker, give a great quick speech in my video on how the AmeriCorps VISTA program helps us out at TAP.

Public voting is currently open from now until September 1st, and I’d appreciate any votes to help me win this competition.

To vote, follow this link: http://bit.ly/ORjRrM. Click vote, fill out the form and it will send you an email to confirm your vote. Make sure to confirm your vote or it won’t become official!

Here’s the video:

I’d like to thank everyone who was in my video as well as a special thanks to Lance McNeil, a VISTA at Foundation Communities, for helping me with great ideas and for creating the music for the video.

Forming Volunteer Systems

by Katie Grills, Community Relations VISTA

It starts with a simple phone call or email.

TAP Volunteer Annie Hsu (left) and Katie Grills, TAP' AmeriCorps VISTA (right)

I might be calling a reliable volunteer to help out with a data entry project, or I might ask a local business owner if they would like to donate a gift card to acknowledge a volunteer’s dedicated service. Sometimes that contact leads to hearing “yes, I would love to help you.” Other times I am not as lucky. I track these contacts in spreadsheets, email, and in SalesForce, our data tracking system. I log the volunteer hours, keep records of in-kind donations, and send thank you letters.

Whether I am planning a large community event like Theatre Action Project at the Zilker Park Kite Festival  or simply seeking out a volunteer to help us organize our classroom supplies, I strive to keep best practices in mind like the ones listed above.

Best practices are guidelines that employees in various fields strive to apply to their everyday business lives. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, I am attempting to form volunteer systems for that work for creative minds while keeping abreast of the standards that other successful organizations practice. Serving an arts-centered organization presents its own unique set of tracking and acknowledgement challenges. Arts administration industry standards are a great starting point, though, and it is my goal to embed these practices into the systems I am developing.

As I start into the second half of my year of service with TAP, I’m proud to say that we’re well on our way to having these systems in place.

P.S.: I am in love with fashion blogger Gabi Fresh big curls. I hope to see you at TAP’s Big Hair Country Fair on March 24th. It will be a fun night benefiting Theatre Action Project. For tickets, visit: TAP Big Hair.

Creating Art with a Purpose

by Erik Weasenforth, Marketing Associate VISTA

I’m Erik Weasenforth, the new Marketing Associate VISTA for Theatre Action Project (TAP). I’ve always had a passion for creating art with a purpose, so joining AmeriCorps VISTA for Theatre Action Project excited me at the opportunity to exercise my creativity and artistic skills to help communities in need. In May of 2011, I graduated from Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) with a degree in Computer Graphics Technology with an emphasis in animation, and a minor in Art & Design. My goals for this year are to increase TAP’s presence in the community through social media, our website, and print, but I also want to incorporate more video and animation into the mix.

Last week I went to Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) in Albuquerque, NM to become an AmeriCorps VISTA where I had somewhat of a revelation. I learned many facts about poverty that I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t become a VISTA. It really gave me a whole new perspective on how much of an impact I’ll be having while working at TAP. I also met a lot of other people who came from completely different backgrounds who were all there for the common purpose: Fighting Poverty with Passion. I’ve moved around a lot, having lived in Illinois, California, Virginia, Texas, and spending four years in Indiana for college, so I love meeting people of different backgrounds. I had a great time at PSO, and I believe this year will be a great one for me as I grow with TAP in the great city of Austin, Texas.

Yesterday I volunteered at the Zilker Park Kite Festival in Austin, which was awesome! So many people came and got involved. I’m new to Austin, and I feel like this city is more active and connected than any other city I’ve been to. Every day it seems like I’ll talk to complete strangers, whether it’s at Zilker Park looking at birds or on the bus into the city. I feel welcome in Austin and at Theatre Action Project. 2012 is already off to a great start to my year of AmeriCorps service, and I look forward to the accomplishments to come.

P.S. My favorite hairstyle is Will Smith’s from Fresh Prince. See you at TAP’s Big Hair Country Fair on March 24th at the Salt Lick Pavilion! To buy tickets visit: TAP Big Hair. Proceeds benefit Theatre Action Project.

Thank you TAP for an Amazing Year

by Amanda Davis, Marketing Associate VISTA

photo by Twin Sisters Photography

It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed here at Theatre Action Project, and that today I must take my leave to other adventures in life.

A year ago, I began a journey in AmeriCorps and became the Marketing Associate VISTA here at TAP. To be honest, I was scared about the steps that it was going to take to be an AmeriCorps member. I was a bit timid and shy at first. I had just moved to a place where I knew no one and taken a job that was sure to be a learning experience, but as time wore on that timidness soon came to shed and Read the rest of this entry

It’s almost Kite Festival Time – Volunteer with TAP

by Katie Grills, Community Relations VISTA

Look at the calendar. If you’re generally living in the southeastern United States, particularly in Austin, stepping outside might make you question the accuracy of your ability to recall the proper date.

So much for the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil for Austinites, Spring, it seems, has sprung.

Get into the Spring spirit and sign up to volunteer with Theatre Action Project at the Zilker Park Kite Festival today! We need around 60 more volunteers right now to make our tent the best attraction in the park on March 4.

Shifts are from 9am-1pm, 12:30pm-3:30pm, and 3:00pm-5pm. We are in need of people who are excited to paint faces, “bark” at the crowd to bring them our way, help keep the operations of our shows in the tent running smoothly, and more.

If you’d like to go ahead and register as a volunteer, please fill out our registration form. You will be contacted shortly about your assigned shift time and more.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me at katie@theatreactionproject.org.

We absolutely can’t wait to see you there!

After-School Volunteers

by Cassie Swayze, After School Programs Associate VISTA

Almost all of our nearly sixty campuses are already in the swing of the semester over at TAP After-School. We have so many gifted Teaching Artists in schools around Central Texas this spring and they all need your help! Are you interested in helping a Teaching Artist in their classroom? Want to learn more about TAP’s unique approach to learning? Interested in assisting in a theatre, art, music, or puppet class? Want to have FUN once a week inspiring Austin area youth? Read the rest of this entry