Meet Our Member – Shannon Kennelly
Revitalization and Homeownership Community Engagement Specialist
Shannon Kennelly is a native of Mendon, Vermont, but returned for her current position after 6 years away. She attended the University of Utah for my Bachelors of Science in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and in the year after graduation, served as a Youth Educator with Wasatch Community Gardens for a half-term (think snail races, catch-the-chicken games, and building lady bug homes- along with planting and cooking, of course). She then moved south to Chile for a year where she lived with a host family and worked as an English teacher in a small coastal town. Shannon has been back in the states since Thanksgiving 2015 -arriving a week before starting at her position.
What is a typical day like in your AmeriCorps position?
There is no typical day in my position. I have a handful of projects I am involved with, and each day varies as to which I am focusing on. Right now, I'm working with Project VISION, a multi-pronged community effort to make Rutland the best place to live on earth, to create a metric for measuring its impact on the Rutland community, particularly where heroin use and opiate abuse are concerned. I've also been organizing a Community Impact Measurement for months, and it's finally underway- I've recruited 43 volunteers from the community to knock on doors in a target neighborhood of Rutland and administer a residential survey, asking about what life is like in the neighborhood- what they like, dislike, and what they'd like to see improved. I'm also putting together the pieces to create a kid's summer camp in a community garden in our neighborhood and make it sustainable. Finally, I've been participating in a group of community stakeholders to make a branding statement and logo for the neighborhood, and I've been and will be collecting input on the two final logos. I table at events for NeighborWorks, collect testimonials, write blog posts, and coordinate with our marketing team. I also organize community events with relevant stakeholders; most recently I organized a groundbreaking celebration at a new park which is located on a site that used to be a blighted building that NeighborWorks razed with grant funding and deeded to the city, which then collected community input on the design, and on April 2nd we had music and speeches and games, and then everyone grabbed a shovel and dug in.
Why did you join VHCB AmeriCorps?
I joined VHCB AmeriCorps because I was browsing jobs while still in Chile, looking for an opportunity in the Rutland Area, and the mention of Project VISION in NeighborWorks' description of this position caught and held my attention. I liked the idea of coming back and serving with AmeriCorps again to get my feet on the ground before looking for a more permanent position.
What has surprised you most about serving with AmeriCorps?
What surprises me the most is how fast the hours fly by because I'm serving in a position I'm so passionate about and so fulfilled by.
What is the highlight of serving at your site?
The connection to Project VISION and the support of staff members. NeighborWorks invests in its AmeriCorps members and provides us so many training opportunities (including a week long trip to Atlanta, and a weekend trip to New York!).
What would you like other people to know about serving with VHCB AmeriCorps?
It's a great way to learn more job skills, network, and explore career options while giving back to the community.