HIGH POINT, N.C., June 20, 2022 – High Point University’s AmeriCorps VISTAs and Bonner Leaders have worked throughout the past year to better the High Point community.
During the 2021-22 academic year, their accomplishments included:
- Nine HPU AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers in Service to America) dedicated a total of 17,000 hours of service to the community in a variety of ways. This includes 1,552 hours in community outreach on behalf of nonprofits, 751 hours of volunteer management, 581 hours of resource development, 116 hours of grant writing and 531 hours of resource mapping.
- The VISTAs recruited 778 volunteers and managed a total of 1,408 volunteers who assisted with projects at local nonprofits.
- The VISTAs helped nonprofits raise $308,182 in grants and donations, and obtained $138,643 in in-kind donations for their nonprofit partners.
- The 45 Bonner Leaders completed approximately 13,000 hours of volunteer service for eight nonprofits during the past year.
Their community service is part of the nearly 500,000 hours that students, faculty and staff gave back to the community during the academic year.
This year’s VISTAs were Gabbi Bryce, Chloe Contreras, Gabby Kozlowski, Heather Simmons, Chloe Lewis, Natalie Lucas, Douglas Mathis, Rachel Prandoni and Casey Tyndall. HPU invests nearly $200,000 annually in the VISTA program to provide housing, meals, office space and access to student volunteers to carry out projects with their partner agencies.
The Bonner Leader Program is a national service program found only at select universities across the country. HPU Bonners are servant leaders who connect fellow HPU students to nonprofits and social innovation projects in the local community.
“We work to be a bridge with our city,” said Rev. Dr. Joe Blosser, associate professor of religion and philosophy, and executive director of HPU’s Center for Community Engagement, which oversees the Bonner and VISTA programs.
Nonprofit Leaders Appreciate HPU Bonner and VISTAs
Patrick Harman, executive director of the Hayden-Harman Foundation and co-founder of Growing High Point, said VISTAs were fundamental in supporting development of urban gardens to help people eat healthier in parts of the city where grocery stores are scarce.
“Each year, the VISTAs help with getting volunteers for Growing High Point and supporting the garden leader group,” Harman said. “I would say that Growing High Point wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the VISTA program.”
Carl Vierling, executive director of the Greater High Point Food Alliance, agrees the VISTAs and Bonner Leaders were vital aids in helping build the capacity of local programs.
“From the very beginning, High Point University through the VISTA and Bonner programs has been supportive of addressing food insecurity in the greater High Point area,” Vierling said.
VISTAs and Bonners were notetakers in chat rooms at the Food Alliance’s annual Food Summit. Bryce, the VISTA assigned to the Food Alliance, also helped a group of students form a food recovery club on campus, Vierling said.
The 45 Bonner Leaders focused their service efforts on education, health care, food security at the Community Writing Center, Community Clinic, YMCA of High Point, West End Ministries, D-UP and other enrichment programs.
Jakki Davis, co-founder and executive director of D-UP, Inc., said the Washington Street program was fortunate to have several Bonners serving as tutors and mentors, leading group activities and helping with conflict resolution to encourage and support younger students.
“Our D-UP students are easily attached to their Bonner Leaders because they show a genuine interest in students and their performance at D-UP and academically,” Davis said. “Each year we are assigned an AmeriCorps VISTA to assist us with capacity building. We are always impressed with their interest and willingness to learn our programs, community, students, and families which makes engagement easy for them but also gives them what is needed to provide assistance efficiently and effectively.”