Beulah Oliphant has established an exemplary history of service to her community. She was and is still very involved with her church choir, Sunday school, mission auxiliary, and many other committees of the Progressive Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas. One of her most exciting projects, however, is AmeriCorps VISTA.
Oliphant was assigned to volunteer with the VISTA program as a recruiter. Her mission was to engage other volunteers to become benefits counselors for residents age 60 and over in the rural northern Texas counties. Benefits counselors are trained, certified volunteers who help individuals to access their Social Security and Medicare benefits, filing private insurance claims, and understanding their insurance statements. Her initial term as a VISTA volunteer was quite challenging. She was not aware of the critical need for seniors in her community to be able to access their benefits, and her experience in public speaking and project planning was very minimal.
She relied on her willingness to learn, euphoric personality, and her dedication to service and she met the challenges of her VISTA assignment. During her first year with VISTA, she developed a recruitment plan that targeted untapped resources. She utilized her strong knowledge of the community to amass more volunteers to aid the elderly in their city. As a result of her dedication and willingness to learn, 41 new volunteers were recruited during her first year with VISTA , and she signed up for a second VISTA volunteer term in July of 1999.
In her second term, Oliphant has continued to successfully recruit volunteers. This is directly impacting the elderly community. They have more people to give them the one-in-one attention they need to work with important concerns.
Beulah Oliphant has honed her organizational skills, public speaking skills, and the skills needed to be a successful VISTA volunteer. Her work has had a far-reaching impact. She has encouraged volunteerism across color lines and motivated other regions of the state to use a great resource for empowering more elder Texans. Her love and dedication to her community is an example to the young and old of Sherman, Texas.