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Jason Rubin – Story of Service

Jason Rubin is an AmeriCorps*VISTA who is finishing up a year of service with the United Way of Thurston County.  In a community where 50% of 4th grade students are below standard in Reading, Math, and/or Writing, and 30% of students do not graduate on time, Jason has followed a higher calling to turn struggling readers into high school graduates one reader at a time. The two main goals of their VISTA project were to build capacity in the United Way Reading Buddy program and to support a redesign of the United Way Kindergarten Readiness Calendar.

While Jason has had many takeaways from their year of service with United Way of Thurston County, two stand out the most. Jason worked on leadership skills throughout the year, and as a result facilitated the first United Way Reading Buddy Program panel discussion. Jason also went outside of their comfortability zone to study resource development and engage in conversations with the resource development department at United Way of Thurston County. This allowed them to gain an understanding of how relationship building is closely tied to finding creative ways to raise the resources required to fulfill the mission and vision of an organization.

In the immediate future, Jason will be volunteer facilitator with Pizza Klatch to foster resiliency and well-being in LGBTQ+ youth. Jason states, “I am very excited about volunteering with Pizza Klatch because helping create safer and more supportive school environments is an important step in normalizing gender diversity and inclusivity within society.”

By continuing to work on anti-poverty initiatives, Jason exemplifies how VISTA service can lead to lifelong learning down the road.