Commitment: 12 months, 40 hrs/week (Starting May 13, 2019)
*culture is not optional Overview:
*culture is not optional runs the Huss Project, a former elementary school in Three Rivers, Michigan, that is being transformed into a community center that seeks to grow our rural city’s capacity for imagination. We currently run an urban farm that distributes
produce to neighbors who don’t have access to fresh food, host a summer lunch program for school-aged kids, and celebrate our community’s creativity at an annual festival that draws over 1,200 attendees. We partner closely with many local businesses and farmers
to meet community needs. This summer, we’ll open the Imaginarium, a stunning new public space at the Huss Project that will facilitate new year-round partnerships and programs. VISTAs will join our volunteer staff at this critical juncture to map assets in
our community, to strengthen existing partnerships, to foster new partnerships, and to design new programs that will structurally change the way we approach poverty in our city. Our goals are to increase educational achievement—particularly for marginalized,
at-risk youth in our school district who disproportionately live in the Huss neighborhood—to build a sustainable food system accessible by all in our city, and to grow economic opportunities for our neighbors. We offer reduced-cost housing at our community house
for VISTA members. We will be selecting three members to join our work in Three Rivers.
We’re looking for compassionate, collaborative, innovative, and detail oriented folks to join our community! *culture is not optional operates out of an emergent strategy model, wherein the changes we experience while working alongside neighbors and researching
our context consistently shape next steps. This model allows for more flexibility in identifying assets and greater nimbleness to respond in real-time. Given this model, VISTAs will initially support existing programs through volunteer recruitment, listening
to and learning about the community, engaging neighbors, and communicating with existing partners. VISTAs will then map community assets to identify next steps to design programs with neighbors and community partners to increase educational achievement, to
build a sustainable food system, and to grow economic opportunities for our neighbors. Together, we can grow our city’s capacity for imagining new possibilities for itself!
There are a number of skills, abilities, and qualities of character that VISTAs will need to bring to their positions to have a successful year:
• Professional: Knowledge and experience in the field of community development and/or field related to specific position (agriculture, education, economics, etc.), event planning, program design and implementation, research and evaluation.
• Communication: Writing and speaking effectively and professionally, organizing shared data, translating raw data into useful forms.
• Work-related: Attention to detail, self-motivation, meeting goals and deadlines, asking for help, flexibility, punctuality, stamina.
• Relational: Collaboration with diverse partners, conflict resolution, self-reflection and correction, commitment to self-care, genuine listening across divides.
• Technology: Creating spreadsheets, using presentation software, familiarity with social media platforms.
Beyond work-related skills and abilities, the open spirit of inquiry that VISTAs bring to our shared work in Three Rivers is crucial. We strive to build a community that is characterized by curiosity and creativity. We embrace difficult questions, we dream
big, we adapt on the fly, and we work hard. We work closely with one another and with our neighbors, so we’ll be looking for VISTAs who can cultivate mutual respect and demonstrate emotional maturity.
Occasionally this position will require nonstandard workplace hours including early mornings, weekday evenings, and/or weekends.
For more information on *culture is not optional and the Huss Project, go to: