September 3, 2015

Dalya Kefi has served in since this January with Montana State University and the Greater Gallatin United Way‘s kidsLINK Afterschool Program, so we decided to check in and share the great work she has been doing.

What is your background that led you to serve as a VISTA member?
MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA Dalya Kefi

My mother was in the Peace Corps when she was my age, and both of my parents worked with the refugee community while I was growing up. I was exposed to non-profit work and international development as a child and always knew I would work with disadvantaged populations. I have always had in interest in issues of poverty, equitable access to education, and social justice, so when I was looking for a job after graduating, AmeriCorps VISTA was a natural step.

Describe a typical work day at your host site.
This summer, I supported afternoon youth enrichment programming  at the YMCA Y Achievers summer literacy camp. That means my days are constantly changing. Every day at noon, the campers come to us from their morning teachers, where they work on literacy from 8-12. In the afternoons, they participated in a normal camp setting. We played games, made crafts, went on field trips and visited the local swimming pool. This is a big change from my normal day while at the Greater Gallatin United Way. While working on the kidsLINK Afterschool program, I spend most of my day behind a desk in the office. I will attend meetings in the community, plan for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year, and work with the World Language coordinators to establish a sustainable afterschool world language program for elementary students.

How have you incorporated your campus partner into your work?
My campus partner, the MSU Department of Education, works closeup with the kidsLINK Afterschool program during the school year. Education students host afterschool book and tech clubs for students in the various elementary schools. The World Language classes also work with MSU, and have student assistants from the MSU Department of Modern Languages for larger groups in the afternoon lessons.

What motivates you to do a year of VISTA service?
Quality education is a necessity. All children, regardless of socioeconomic factors, should have access to quality, affordable education. In the kidsLINK Afterschool programs, we support working families and make sure all students have the opportunity to enjoy extracurricular activities, receive a healthy snack, and have a safe place to be afterschool while their parents are at work.  kidsLINK Afterschool also provides homework help, helping kids complete homework for the next school day. By supporting families and kids in this way, we are helping students reach their full potential and be successful in school and at home.

What are your plans after VISTA?

After my VISTA year, I hope to attend law school and focus on international human rights law. I would like to work in international development with refugees and live overseas.

Thank you for your service with the Compact, Dalya!