In this edition: FIRST energize assets, update your screening, farewell to VISTAs, More Than Campaign, and FAQ
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This Season FIRST® Volunteers will ENERGIZE the future

We have already begun our exciting new season for 2022-2023: FIRST® ENERGIZESM presented by Qualcomm! Gear up for the season with ENERGIZE digital content such as wallpapers and social media graphics or check out FIRST ENERGIZE merch in the FIRST Store. Coaches and Mentors can also order their FIRST ENERGIZE Coach / Mentor Pin in our Recognition Store. It's time for you, our strong and generous volunteers, to make your mark on your community and volunteer this season!

Ready to volunteer at an event? Event volunteer registration is open for all three FIRST programs.  Register for an event using the FIRST Dashboard. For information on local events, search your local area. Don’t forget to save the date for FIRST Championship on April 19-22, 2023 in Houston, Texas.

Ready to be a mentor? More than ever, our FIRST teams need mentors to help ignite curiosity, empower them, and demonstrate the collective skills needed to make a positive impact on each other, and the world. The FIRST Mentor Network unites teams and mentors and allowing them to interact to build a better future. Create your mentor profile today.

Don't Forget: Update your Screening and Consent & Release Forms

As an event volunteer, mentor, or coach, your Youth Protection Screening and Consent & Release forms must be up-to-date in the FIRST Dashboard.

Complete your required youth protection background screening (US & Canada) if in need of renewal. Your screening status can be accessed under the profile on the top right of your FIRST Dashboard. (Refer to the Volunteer Registration User Guide and the Youth Protection site for more information.)

The Consent & Release form should be signed yearly by all volunteers. You will see a red notification in the drop-down menu from your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen on your FIRST Dashboard. Click on “Consent & Release Form” to sign the form electronically.

Saying a BIG Thank You and Farewell to our FIRST VISTAs

For over a decade, the FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program sought to expand the mission of FIRST  by working in underserved areas and bringing FIRST to students, communities, and schools who might not otherwise have participated in FIRST programs. From 2013 to 2022, our FIRST VISTA members served with local Program Delivery Partners who served as their Host Site Supervisors and together made a huge impact.

From 2013 to 2022, 242 FIRST VISTA members:

  • Gave over 450,000 hours of their time
  • Served in 61 cities across 35 states + Puerto Rico
  • Raised over $2.5 million in cash donations
  • Raised over $1.7 million in in-kind donations
  • Recruited over 11,000 students
  • Recruited over 15,000 volunteers
  • Recruited over 12,000 coaches & mentors
  • Educated more than 71,000 people about FIRST through recruitment events & awareness raising efforts

FIRST was fortunate to have a National Operational VISTA Program for 10 years, an atypically long duration for a VISTA Program. In December of 2022, the last FIRST VISTA members serving under the program will complete their year of service and the grant will conclude. We want to sincerely thank the many VISTA members who served with FIRST, the Program Delivery Partners who supervised and directed these members, the volunteers, coaches, and mentors who collaborated with our FIRST VISTA members and the Corporation for National and Community Service for their years of federal funding which made the FIRST VISTA Program possible. Thank you for all each of you did and do for FIRST!

Stay tuned for what’s coming next by checking out the newly launched FIRST AmeriCorps National Program.

In case you missed it: More Than Campaign
We talked to kids, experts, and parents all over the United States to learn about what the current barriers to success were, and what we heard most was that many kids learn to doubt themselves because of the fear of judgment or lack of acceptance. As volunteers, you help build the sense of belonging and support they need to thrive. We at FIRST want EVERY kid to believe in themselves and know that they are More Than the stereotypes or “boxes” society has placed them in.

Our new More Than campaign, led by a PSA (public service announcement) video, focuses on dismantling labels and promoting self-esteem through STEM-related activities. Watch the PSA and check out our social media toolkit to join the More Than movement.

Thank you for Supporting FIRST!

As a nonprofit, FIRST relies on the support of volunteers, sponsorships, and donations to deliver programs that empower and enable more kids to become leaders and innovators. This time of year, you’ll see many nonprofits appealing for donations, and FIRST is no different. Donations at any level help ensure that FIRST is available for years to come. 

“Initially I started volunteering to stay connected to the FIRST community and to pay my own experience as a student forward. The longer that I have volunteered, the more important the mission of FIRST, and therefore supporting it financially, has become to me. I’ve come to understand the variety of ways that FIRST is having an impact on students’ trajectories and how important it is to give back." (Pam Wong, a FIRST Alum, Donor, & Volunteer)

Will you donate to help us reach more young people with inspiration and community?

Learn more about how you can support FIRST as a donor

FAQ: How do FIRST Volunteers Log Volunteer Hours?

Did you know that you can log your event volunteer hours from an official FIRST event in the Volunteer Registration system? If you are volunteering to fulfill service requirements at your educational institution, employer, or another organization, this feature will assist you in verifying your hours.

Check it out by logging into your FIRST Dashboard and following these steps:

  • Click on “Hello, Your Name” in the upper right-hand corner.
  • Select “My Profile” from the drop-down menu.
  • Select “Volunteer Log Hours” from the menu on the left.
  • Refer to page 12 of the Volunteer Registration User Guide for more information.

You can only log and edit (hours or entries) for the current season. These hours will be saved and available to view in future seasons and can be sorted by program and season. Participation history can be printed or saved as a PDF by clicking the “Print History” button.
OUR VISION: “ transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”
— Dean Kamen, Founder