A Former Volunteer’s Continued Commitment to Service
Aliza Pilisuk, a former YVC Youth Volunteer is now serving the youth of Portland as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Boys & Girls Clubs.
First Volunteering Experience
Aliza grew up in Seattle and joined the local YVC when she was in middle school. Her mother signed up Aliza and her twin sister, Molly, for the summer volunteering program. They did projects with organizations such as the Seattle Children’s Museum and the National Eating Disorders Association, and enjoyed volunteering so much they decided to continue to serve with the program over the following summers.
“The project with the National Eating Disorders Association was probably the one that stuck with me the most,” Aliza says. “We were doing service work, and during the service-learning we talked about body image, self-esteem and media literacy. I learned a lot from it and was inspired to continue serving.”
Continued Dedication in College
Aliza chose to attend Portland State University and earn a Bachelor of Science in Social Science with a minor in Psychology. During her Grant Writing for Nonprofits elective course, she decided to write a grant proposal to launch a YVC for youth in the Portland metro area. (Update: Aliza’s proposal was successful! YVC launched in Portland just a few months after she completed her proposal.)
“I wanted there to be more service-learning opportunities for youth where they can work together as a team,” Aliza says. “I know a lot of people who have had negative first experiences volunteering, and I had such a positive time volunteering with YVC when I was younger. I want others to have that as well.”
Serving Others as a Family Affair
Following in the footsteps of her mother, who was an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the ‘70s and has a master’s degree in social work, Aliza began working as an AmeriCorps VISTA member after graduating in March 2015. Aliza, now 26, is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to implement a visual computer coding program for youth ages 9-14. In partnership with Google, this pilot program called Computer Science First features interactive themes to help engage youth with a variety of interests. Additionally, Aliza is focusing on building capacity by developing a stronger volunteer program at Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metropolitan Area.
A Lifetime of Service
Volunteering with YVC allowed Aliza to experience working with youth younger than her, and led to many leadership opportunities. Her favorite volunteer experience with the National Eating Disorders Association inspired her goal to someday work with a similar organization that empowers young women.
We love to hear stories like this about our youth volunteers, as they maintain their enthusiasm for volunteering well beyond their time with YVC! They prove a testament to the YVC mission to “inspire youth for a lifetime commitment to service.”
“It’s just a vital part of being in society and contributing towards your community,” Aliza says about the importance of serving. “There’s a lot of positive change that can be made and a lot to learn by working with people who may have not had the same privileges as yourself”.
Thank you, Aliza, for being a glowing example of dedication to service!
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