Important Updates accompanied with an Elf YOURSELF Christmas Movie!

While working at the office today, our program coordinator, Erin, created this Elf YOURSELF video to show off her Christmas spirit!

Disclaimer: Maggie and I had no idea Erin would do this without us knowing, but she did.

In other news, AmeriCorps Improving Health Throughout Indiana [AIHTI] now has a VISTA serving in our office! Her name is Maggie Barrett and she is amazing! We are so fortunate to have her on board with us!
Right now, Maggie is working on developing a new training curriculum. In conjunction with this new curriculum, she is putting together an advisory council to help guide the program and provide insightful feedback about the developing curriculum. [The council’s first meeting will be January 19, 2011 from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Location will be announced in early January.]
The council is hoped to be made up of 10 people: two IU faculty, two current members, two AmeriCorps alums, two supervisors, and two service recipients. Getting members serve on the council will provide us with criticism on what they feel needs improvement and what worked best for them in their programs.

Maggie has also been working on putting together our training calendar for the remainder of the year. She has been able to confirm with a couple guest speakers a day and time when they could come in to tell us everything they know. Erin and I are really proud of what all she has accomplished given that she hasn’t even been serving a full month with us yet.
Again, she’s phenomenal and truly wonderful to have in the office!

For those that might be interested – The Shaping Up Monroe County program is being ran by research scientist Kris Heeter again this year and the program is working hard to reach out and shape up people within the community! Jazzercise in Bloomington will be selecting 6 people that will receive 5 months of free Jazzercise classes. They will also get to work privately, yet directly, with weight loss and highly recognized nutrition coaches and mentors. Kris has made the program more comprehensive and effective by stressing the importance of nutritional education. The good news is that incentive gifts will be given to everyone that completes the 5 month program. The Jazzercise Application is due by December 24th and those chosen will start mid-January. Shape up or Ship out! Take a minute to fill out the application; it’s worth the time, trust me.

January 17th is MLK Day! This is a day when AIHTI members are allowed to do activities and service outside our mission so we’re trying to encourage members to get involved. Erin decided not to have all the members participate in a MLK Day project because there is often so much going on (particularly in Bloomington) that it’s hard to get volunteers and even member involved. On the other hand, we have had some successful events in the past. In the next few days, we will be finding out if any of the members have an event at their site going on that we all could help with. We will also be checking with the Bloomington Volunteer Network to see if there are any events we all might be able to help with as a team.
OFBCI sent out a copy of their Funding Opportunities Newsletter along with the last issue of Friday Night Facts. The Funding Opportunities Newsletter provided a lot of opportunities for our members to engage in fundraising activities, including grant-writing. We hope some of the members took advantage of such occasions.

AIHTI members have been practicing their performance measurement and evaluation skills. At our last monthly meeting, every member turned in a performance measurement worksheet that measured their specific program or a program they thought they will likely be evaluating in the next few weeks. Surprisingly enough, there is a significant number of members performing beyond all expectations this early on in training. Their confidence levels are not where we’d like them to be but everyone is making amazing progress. We are very proud of our members! Keep up the good work!

Tomorrow is going to be a Christmas Décor Extravaganza. Erin, Maggie, and I are putting up all of the Christmas decorations the two of them got yesterday. I know the office could use a little bit of liveliness along the baseboards; maybe a festive, decked-out tree to greet everyone that walks in; or quite possibly putting up bright, sparking lights along the ceiling. Who knows?

For AIHTI, there is never a dull moment when all of us work together. Until next time…

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