Success Stories

Please enjoy exploring this sampling of stories about groups and individuals who have successfully implemented sustainable practices in their own communities.

Getting Things Done for North Central Washington

Photos by Toby Haberlock, Heather Dunham, and Nancy Warner

by Kristi Roberts

As a current member of IMAC serving with IRIS, I've become more conscious of successes, both great and small. To better understand the success of IMAC and its impact on the region, I had a discussion with my team leader, Toby Haberlock.

Success is a group effort for Intermountain AmeriCorps (IMAC). IMAC works as part of the national volunteer movement, AmeriCorps - but is also affiliated with the Washington Service Corps and the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council. The program began 16 years ago with a small 12 member team in the Chelan school districts focusing only on academic tutoring and mentoring.

Currently, IMAC has a team of 59 volunteers placed all over NCW's 13,000 square miles and serving in a wide range of organizations - from traditional school settings to non-traditional school settings, non-profit agencies, social services, faith-based organizations, and state and federal agencies covering pre-school to senior citizens and everywhere in between.

Team leader, Toby Haberlock, stresses the fundamental importance of the annual dedication of IMAC team members. What amazes Haberlock the most is the ability - year after year - of a new group of individuals to devote 10 1/2 months of their lives to the service of others. Haberlock, who is serving his 9th year as IMAC team leader, says it's because of the team members that IMAC has blossomed. "I think what's been most beneficial for the success of this program and the expanse, geographically, that we serve in North Central Washington are the members who are out doing good things."

There is also a great deal of collaboration with agencies at all levels - local, state and federal - that help support the regional success of IMAC. But it is the team members and four-person staff who keep the program going. According to Haberlock, "It takes all four of us and 59 of you to make it work."

The demand is high for sites to be granted an IMAC volunteer, even more so this past year. "We have so many requests and so many people that call and are interested in our program. It's a challenge to not be able to place AmeriCorps volunteers with absolutely every one of those people who inquires."

Despite the difficulty in placing volunteers with sites in need, IMAC focuses on the positive. With about a 50/50 split, IMAC proudly hosts volunteers from both in- and out-of-state areas.

The volunteers that uproot their lives for the opportunity to serve with IMAC are able to so with an automatic sense of community. IMAC staff members work constantly at building their "family" - a community within a community. And this strong sense of belonging contributes the greatest to IMAC's success. "AmeriCorps members come in with the idea that they're going to change the world, to change kids, to change adults, to change senior-citizens, or whoever they're serving. And they do," says Haberlock. "At the same time, on the other side of the 10 1/2 months - what they can't even foresee yet - is how much all of those people will have affected them. And so each will walk away a better person, more enriched, and hopefully energized to continue doing good things."

Kristi Roberts is IRIS Outreach Coordinator and an AmeriCorps