And the Work Continues for CHC VISTA Alum

Michaela Read was the 2015-16 VISTA for CARE Clinic in Red Wing, Minnesota.Read’s responsibility as the VISTA at CARE was to build capacity through fundraising to expand existing programs and hours and to extend the reach of CARE to include all Goodhue County community members. When asked, Read will say she had two big accomplishments:

1) Enrolling over 300 people in health insurance (an CARE Clinicincrease of 100 people from last year), and

2) receiving $150,000 worth of grants for the CARE Clinic (potential to go up to $220,000 tentative on grant acceptances).

After three years of VISTAs, Read wrapped up the combined efforts of fellow VISTAs Kayla Hanson (‘14-‘15) and Janine Foggia (‘13-‘14). I asked Read how she felt being the last VISTA in the cycle. Read said she did not notice until the ending months when she needed to pass on her projects. It was difficult because she was the only person at site 40 hours a week. While there are three other part-time staff members working at the CARE Clinic, Read did not want to pile all the work on them. At the same time recruiting volunteers was difficult, but due to Read’s dedicated fundraising, a grant came through that has allowed the CARE Clinic to open the new position of Development Director. And to fill that position they did not have to look any further than the grant writer herself!

Michaela ReadAs Development Director, Read continues her fundraising efforts for CARE Clinic. Read also takes on the title of MNsure Coordinator, a position also funded by a grant she wrote, helping residents enroll in health insurance. As the Coordinator, Read is the community resource for MNsure and is looking to create a phone line to focus on answering the questions specific to Goodhue County community members.

In the coming years, Read plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in Public Health. Her year of service helped her explore how she would like to concentrate her master’s degree. Due to the small size of CARE Clinic, Read was able dip her hands in many different aspects of the organization, gaining a lot of experience. She still has not yet decided what her concentration will be, but she is thankful for the range of experience she now has.

Read’s advice for future VISTAs is to take advantage of the little opportunities that arise throughout their year of service. Even if it is your supervisor asking you to sit in on a meeting, observing and listening to how people conduct themselves professionally can be an opportunity.

The College Health Corps Team would like to wish Read good luck as she continues her work with CARE Clinic.