Thinking differently at YAR…

At first it was hard to project how I would use creativity or innovation this year, for several reasons. 1) my VAD is very detailed and pretty much spells out exactly what I am going to do, 2) I am the 3rd year VISTA at YAR, so I’m not going to be coming up with any revolutionary new ideas for my site, just expanding on the ideas of the VISTAs before me, 3) Every time I go to tackle something on my VAD, a dumb administrative task gets in the way.

I don’t think it’s necessarily anyone’s fault that the Youth Bureau is so disorganized, they’ve seen an 80% budget cut in the past few years and a big reduction in staff. Almost everyone that’s currently there was hired in the past few years, and that makes it difficult for the place to run efficiently. Everyone is so busy trying to do their work that they don’t have time to keep everything clean and organized. As a result, many of the things I have done so far have been things to get the office/computer system organized so that other things can start to happen (really basic things that should be happening already, like keeping the mailing list up to date).

Anyway, it then occurred to me that that is exactly how I am going to use innovation this year. I hope to change the way that YAR functions by ensuring that by the time I leave, there is a plan set in place to keep the program running smoothly. Once the framework is in place, it will be up to the youth to come up with the fresh new ideas, and that’s the way it should be.

And, the more I look at my VAD, the more I realize that although it says what I should be doing, it doesn’t ever say how I should go about doing it. For example, I’m going to finalize a strategic 3-year-plan for YAR and YES, but I have a lot of freedom in what I put into it, and that is going to require a lot of creativity. I think that whatever happens, the number one thing I want to bring to YAR this year—especially as the last VISTA—is sustainability.



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