It pays to pay it forward with the Weekly GrantWatch CRUSH Contest.
Nominate a nonprofit or business leader who is making a real difference for your chance to win a $25 Starbucks (or Dunkin' Donuts) gift card. Simply fill out this short form and tell us why your recommendation should be a Weekly GrantWatch CRUSH in 250 words or less.
Please join us in celebrating the GrantWatch #WomanCrushWednesday: Viridiana Almanza.
Viridiana is a Coordinator for the Partnership 4 Kids (P4K) Goal Buddy Program, a nonprofit that serves the Omaha Public School District.
"V's passion for her job is contagious. She is probably the most organized, passionate, caring employee I have had the pleasure of working with. She always went the extra mile and brought snacks and water for the Goal Buddy volunteers." -Karisa Vlaek (nominated V for Women Crush Wednesday)
We had the great pleasure of speaking with Viridiana and learning more about her background as a coach and mentor.
What do you love about working with Partnership 4 Kids (P4K)?
What I love most about working at Partnership 4 Kids (P4K) is the hope and inspiration we give to our students. At Partnership 4 Kids, our mission is to “mentor kids for college today, and careers tomorrow,” and we have been able to do this because our staff strongly believes every student deserves the opportunity to succeed.
One other aspect that I love about P4K is that we work not only with underserved students directly, but also with their families, community volunteers, and school staff. Our hundreds of community volunteers are simply amazing and they always find time to make a difference in these children’s lives and, through them, in our community. As a mentor for P4K myself, I truly value the resources and tools P4K offers to make each group mentoring fun, engaging, and meaningful.
How did you become involved with Partnership 4 Kids (P4K)?
I started mentoring when I was in high school through Big Brothers Big Sisters. In college, I mentored through Mortar Board, Student Success Services, Honors Program, and other organizations, so I always knew I wanted to work with students. After working at a K-12 school and with immigrant youth, the opportunity came up to apply for an elementary position at P4K. Once hired, I had the opportunity to work at four elementary schools with over 130 volunteers, hundreds of teachers/staff members, and a multitude of diverse families. I LOVED IT!
Have you experienced any hurdles while working with Partnership 4 Kids (P4K)? Please describe one and tell us how you were able to overcome it.
One general hurdle is that sometimes, regardless of all the support we (P4K staff, teachers, and volunteers) give our students, they do not want to be helped or they are not in the right environment to be helped. The students we serve come from all different socioeconomic backgrounds and they all deal with different problems, whether they be academic, social, familial, etc. While our students have different needs, our staff values each individual and tries to provide each child with the support and care they need.
Our job is to make sure that, if we are not able to support them, we connect them to someone that can and will.
Where do you see Partnership 4 Kids (P4K) in 5 years?
I see P4K expanding to other elementary, middle, and high schools along with different colleges. This will give us the opportunity to serve more students and get them “to and through college.” I also see the possibility of P4K expanding into other school districts and even into other cities in the near future. Our mission and vision are just too powerful for our program to just be in one place.
Furthermore, I see more and more of our students graduating from college and having careers coming back to P4K as mentors and volunteers.
What can Partnership 4 Kids (P4K) gain from an association with GrantWatch.com?
Publicity and funding opportunities.
Sometimes people forget that our state of Nebraska exists. There are nonprofits here that are serving and facing the same battles nonprofits in more recognized cities are facing. We have children that are in need of support and GrantWatch provides a source to discover grants for K-12 students in Nebraska. Our story, the P4K success story, needs to be heard and shared in order to have more funding opportunities. By reporting on the accomplishments of nonprofits, as with this article, GrantWatch is helping us to achieve that goal.
What benefits can UHelp.com and its free mentorship appointments provide to nonprofits such as Partnership 4 Kids (P4K)?
UHelp can support P4K’s mission of “mentoring kids for college today, and careers tomorrow” by helping us find potential donors and funding support to ensure the excellent quality of our programs.
Thank you, Karisa Vlasek, for your thoughtful recommendation of this week's chosen Crush. You have earned a $25 gift card to Starbucks (or Dunkin' Donuts)! Thank you Karisa and thank you Viridiana for paying it forward.
About the Author: Alexandra Gulkin is the Social Media Director for GrantWatch.