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Carrying Out the Lessons Learned in VISTA

April 19, 2013

Bill LieboldTo celebrate AmeriCorps Week 2013, HandsOn Tech Detroit compiled stories from AmeriCorps Alums in the Detroit area to highlight the work they did during their year of service. There is a lot of great work being done by AmeriCorps members in Detroit, and many of those who serve in the area stick around to contribute to the Detroit community after their year of service. We wanted to make sure their inspirational stories of service were shared! 

Meet Bill Liebold, VISTA Alum from 1968-1970 who served with Job Corps in the state of Kentucky.

  • What were the goals of your year of service?

The purpose of the Job Corps was to provide a place for young men between the ages of 18-21 to receive educational, vocational and residential living training.  The men we worked with came from urban areas and Job Corps centers were located in very rural areas.  The idea was to interrupt the cycle of poverty by bringing the enrolled students to a fresh environment where they could gain the skills that would make them employable.  I taught GED classes and supervised a residential living area.

  • What was your biggest take-away from your year of service?

As much as we hoped to have a positive influence on the young men we worked with, and I know I did, there was a greater takeaway.  As I returned to middle class life, the sensitivity I gained at a VISTA Volunteer to the plight of the underserved motivated me to pursue a career where I could drive policy toward fighting poverty in a more influential way.  This led to my work in the U.S. Congress, the Michigan governor’s office and as president of a higher education foundation.  The lessons I learned as a VISTA Volunteer were with me every day as I addressed issues impacting the underserved.

  • How did your year of service help you grow personally and/or professionally?

As referenced above, my service enabled me to approach my post-VISTA career with a sensitivity to the needs of the underserved that resulted in greater impact on these challenges than anything I did during my time of service.  I am now retired and spend much of my time serving as a volunteer board member for nonprofits whose missions resonate well with the values ingrained in me while serving as a VISTA Volunteer.  So, my service has impacted not only my career, but also the choices I have made in how to spend my time in retirement!

Bill Liebold is president of The Liebold Group, an LLC formed in the Greater Detroit area to provide trusted advice to not-for-profit and higher education clients in the areas of board building, resource development, interim CEO, senior executive coaching, and small and large group facilitation. He currently chairs and/or serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Highway T, an organization that empowers local nonprofits to use technology in powerful new ways to serve clients and communities and fulfill their missions.  He is also an adjunct professor of political science at Oakland Community College in Southfield, MI.

HandsOnTech-TrueColor-Logo-HandsOn Tech is a national program sponsored by a partnership between Google and Points of Light. This program is focused on increasing the nonprofit sector’s effective use of technology to increase community resources and improve outcomes for low-income communities. Serving in seven cities across the country, HandsOn Tech Detroit is one of the sites working to provide pro bono technology assessments, develop technology plans, and offer professional consulting, training, and resources to build capacity and support for qualified nonprofits. Click here for more information about HandsOn Tech Detroit.

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