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April 7, 2014

ODU's Kelly Schumacher Fuller Recognized for Service by Mayor Fraim

Kelly Schumacher Fuller, a community engagement coordinator and AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in Old Dominion's Office of Community Engagement, was among those recognized last week by Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim for their national service (see photo below).

The nation's mayors are increasingly turning to national service as a cost-effective strategy to address city challenges. By unleashing the power of citizens, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs have a positive and lasting impact - making cities better places to live. To spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country participated in the second annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service on April 1.

As a VISTA, Fuller's duties are to build capacity for ODU outreach and engagement efforts, specifically around food insecurity and community revitalization. The mission of AmeriCorps VISTA is to expand the ability of sponsor organizations to fight poverty. As AmeriCorps puts it, "rather than providing services to low-income individuals and communities, VISTAs strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, securing long-term resources, coordinating training for participants, and much more."

Fuller, who joined ODU last November, has been researching food access points and needs within Norfolk's Park Place and Lambert's Point neighborhoods, and a little on the Eastern Shore. She has met with community organizations to create a basic asset map of out-of-school programming and develop proposals for possible programs and partnerships.

ODU has been a host site for AmeriCorps VISTA for the last two years. The core principals of VISTA, especially community empowerment and sustainable solutions, fit into ODU's commitment to "building strong civic and community partnerships, applying our expertise to community betterment, providing new opportunities for service-learning and a place for innovative solutions."

kudos2-lg01Kelly Schumacher Fuller and her supervisor, Tami Park Farinholt, assistant director for community outreach and partnerships (second row, center), were among those recognized by Mayor Fraim.