Meet Our Members

2016-2017 VHCB AmeriCorps Members 
Mariel Brown-Fallon
Home Education Coordinator

Champlain Housing Trust
After graduating from the University of Vermont in 2015 with a degree in political science, I became seriously passionate about issues concerning social justice. Having spent four years in Burlington, I wanted to give back by helping to address one of the biggest economic and social issues impacting our community--the availability and affordability of housing.

Champlain Housing Trust helps to break down barriers for low- and moderate-income families who want to rent homes or apartments but may not have the rental history, credit standing, or financial capabilities to do so. By providing financial literacy services and guidance on budgeting and money management, I really feel like I am beginning to have a tangible impact on the ability of Vermonters to live here in an affordable and sustainable way.

I have come to realize that serving with AmeriCorps is not a one-dimensional experience--it takes on whatever form you approach it with. Whether you are interested in social justice like I am, the environment, or education, you can find meaning in your service from any angle or passion that you enter with.

A few weeks ago I was able to lead my first counseling appointment as a part of CHT's Ready, Set, Rent! Program, and I am super excited to continue meeting with people one-on-one as the year progresses.
Jack Markoski
Field Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy
I grew up exploring the forests, waterways, and ranges of the Green Mountain State and have dedicated my professional goals to facilitating the same opportunities for others ever since. This journey has led me to numerous land conservation and stewardship organizations in Vermont, New Hampshire, the Virgin Islands, Nevada, and Idaho. Throughout those years, I continued to refine and focus my efforts on responsibly integrating our communities and culture with surrounding wildlands.

I sought out the Nature Conservancy because I was interested in the efficacy of a non-profit conservation organization working on a regional, national, and global scale. To be a part of that effort in the state that I have always called home is a special opportunity for me. In the same vein, I have always found that AmeriCorps positions allow members access to the heart of communities which, in turn, welcome them and create the space for meaningful contributions. This is why I was excited to be a part of VHCB AmeriCorps and why I would encourage others to serve as well. By connecting so intimately with people and place, the program affords members endless opportunities to unite their skills and passions with the true needs of a community.
--
“To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
stay together
learn the flowers
go light”
-Gary Snyder
Katie Emerson
Community Energy & Climate Action Coordinator

Vermont Natural Resources Council
I joined VHCB AmeriCorps because I identify with the culture of service and I wanted to gain experience working in the conservation field in Vermont. I recently got my Masters in Environmental Law and Policy and I wanted to see how grassroots action creates change. People should know that committing to a year of service may seem intimidating but there is a great support system to help you be successful. I’m inspired by all the volunteer energy committee members who selflessly give their time to helping their communities reduce their energy use.
Justin Barton
Housing Support Specialist

Committee on Temporary Shelter
As a graduate of UVM's Community Development and Applied Economics department, I spent 4 years learning about how I could better the world that I live in. As such, Americorps was a natural fit for my passion for service to people in need. At COTS, I get to work with partner organizations on preventing evictions and helping people with unstable housing situations get into stable housing. This work is not only fulfilling, it allows me to learn about Vermont's housing system first-hand which will serve as a base of knowledge while I am working towards my ultimate goal of becoming an urban planner.
Americorps is one of the best experiences I have ever had. Current events on the news are often negative but my clients at COTS serve as an antidote by being a constant reminder of the beauty, strength, and resilience that exists within all of us.
Pat Paola
Volunteer Manager

Home Share Now
I have a long history of customer service and peer leadership working for companies that have included W. E. Aubuchon Hardware, Assistant Manager; J D Hulbert Supply, Office Manager and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Group Leader. Volunteering for Girl Scouts, church and quilt guilds filled some of my free time while raising two daughters.

As a life-long resident of NYS, I moved to Barre, VT in the fall of 2012 from the North Country region
of Clinton County.I stumbled upon the VHCB AmeriCorps ad in the Barre City Front Porch Forum which piqued my interest. I really didn’t know much about either organization. The position of Volunteer Coordinator for Home Share Now was the offering.

After being offered the position of Volunteer Coordinator, I was concerned about not having been in the workplace for over 20 years, I didn’t know if I would “fit-in”, in the current “work place environment”. I am so glad I dipped my toe back into the public realm and can make people’s lives better. I have always believed that everyone should have a roof over their head in affordable housing that is safe. The position I am serving in, does help support my belief.

AmeriCorps has been one of the best experiences in my 5+ decades of living. The training sessions and conferences offered by both AmeriCorps and my host site, Home Share Now, have provided many learning opportunities. The support by both the AmeriCorps staff and Home Share Now staff is always encouraging.

I do have to say, being a self-taught computer user, I did have an “aha” moment when I learned how to use the Publisher program at Home Share Now while I was creating literature to recruit volunteers. It was like being in a craft store! And, I discovered that I also had the same program on my home computer.

“Live The Life You’ve Imagined.” -Tim Holtz
Ryan Gerrity
Homeownership Advisor
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Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
I am from Highgate, Vermont, a small town in the North-Western corner of the state. I Enjoyed and excelled in track and field in high school, later running at UVM where I am currently finishing an undergraduate degree. I have been a green technology enthusiast since a young age, and have spent the summers of 2016-2017 at VEIC as an Intern, helping to coordinate the Drive Electric Vermont program. I am planning to graduate with a degree in Community and International Development and a minor in Green Building and Community Design in Spring 2018. I want to continue working with electrified and alternative transportation systems as well as mobile/manufactured home replacement with Zero Energy Modular homes.

I joined VHCB AmeriCorps and VEIC/Efficiency Vermont because I am passionate about reducing our energy consumption to combat growing climate change issues, and helping people who are less fortunate to get into better housing situations that help their social, economic, and physical well-being.

AmeriCorps is an amazing and rewarding experience that will prepare you for real professional work after school. It comes with challenges, but they are far outweighed by the benefits of serving your community and getting work done to help make the world a better place.

"I think the value of beauty and inspiration is very much underrated, no question. But I want to be clear. I'm not trying to be anyone's savior. That is not the — I'm just trying to think about the future and not be sad."
-Elon Musk
Remy Crettol
Environmental Educator & Resource Specialist

Winooski Valley Park District
I am a UVM graduate and naturalist who enjoys hiking, wildlife tracking, natural history, snowboarding, music and board games. My primary responsibilities as Environmental Educator and Resource Specialist for the Winooski Valley Park District include lesson planning for classroom visits, afterschool programs, service learning projects, and summer and winter vacation camps. I work with students of all ages and am passionate about sharing my enthusiasm for nature with others.

I view serving VHCB AmeriCorps and my host site as an opportunity to share my passion for the natural world with my community and encourage them to engage more deeply with nature.

The VHCB AmeriCorps program and fellow members are so supportive of each other it makes for an incredibly rewarding experience. The monthly meetings are a great bonding experience and create a sense of community within VHCB AmeriCorps.

The students I get to work with are always inspiring me. Their imagination, curiosity, and enthusiasm is contagious and constantly challenges me to question and learn with them.
Justin Geibel
Outreach & Youth Program Coordinator

Catamount Trails Association
Growing up in Massachusetts, I always saw Vermont as the land of outdoor opportunity, so I chose to attend the University of Vermont for both undergraduate and graduate school. After 4 years in Colorado working as a Park Ranger and Outdoor Guide, my wife and I have returned home to continue pursuing our passions as educators and outdoor enthusiasts.

The VHCB AmeriCorps opportunity, serving with the Catamount Trail Association, is offering me a chance to serve with a great non-profit organization, and connect with people who are passionate about getting people outdoors and creating a healthier and happier Vermont. This service year is great for me to build my experience, and re-connect with the Vermont Community. I also get to be on skis a lot...so thats nice!


Americorps allows you to have an impact that you may not be able to have elsewhere in your professional life. Taking the time to serve gives you valuable experience, while contributing to a community in many different ways.

I have drawn inspiration from my service since the first snow of the season. Each day I am surrounded by people who love winter, and are beaming with enthusiasm for getting outside in the snow. Vermont winters are no cake-walk, but when you take advantage of all it has to offer, there is no place better.
Melissa Nelson
Community Engagement Coordinator
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Addison County Community Trust
I'm a native New Hampshirite, who moved to Vermont to attend college and decided that Vermont was the place that I wanted to stay. I studied professional writing in college and a deep interest in a grant writing course led me to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector. I'm also a poet and creative writer, and love growing vegetables, cooking, being outside, and listening to live music.

After serving with VYDC AmeriCorps in Bristol, I felt compelled to continue serving the low-income population of Addison County. The position at Addison County Community Trust seemed like a great way to both increase my community development skills and continue serving this unique rural community.

There is so much value in serving with a nonprofit that may otherwise not have the capacity to do everything they'd like to have done for the community.
Chloe Trifilio
Environmental Educator and Camp Counselor

Winooski Valley Park District
I am Vermonter at heart as well as a recent graduate of Ithaca College with a B.S. in Environmental Science! I have always been inspired by the natural beauty of Vermont, as well as the tendency for small towns to have a sense of community. I am excited to come back to Vermont for a summer of sharing my passions with kids at the S.O.L.E. Day Camp with the Winooski Valley Park District.

I joined VHCB Americorps and the WVPD because both of the organizations and I have values and mission statements that really align. As a recent graduate I am trying to figure out how to best use my degree to promote sustainability of all sorts. I believe we cannot attain environmental sustainability unless we have a connection and an understanding of the natural world. I believe we cannot attain social sustainability until everyone has access to opportunities and a secure life.

Serving with Americorps allows people to focus their energy on what they believe matters most. I'm still unsure of exactly who said it first, but Americorps lets you follow the old saying; if you enjoy what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.
Liam Fagan
H.E.A.T Squad Community Engagement
Specialist


NeighborWorks of Western Vermont
Hi, I’m Liam and I am from Rutland, Vermont. I graduated in May 2015 from the University of Vermont. I am interested in environmental issues and state and federal policy. When I am not serving, you can usually find me chugging coffee or shopping for rugs with my mom.

I am serving as the HEAT Squad Community Engagement Specialist at NeighborWorks of Western Vermont. I joined VHCB AmeriCorps because I wanted to devote a year of service to my home community of Rutland, and help Vermonters reduce their environmental impact.

Although you will not be a full staff member at your organization, you should treat it as though you are. AmeriCorps members are highly valued; diving in and fully involving yourself in your organization’s work will make your experience all the more enjoyable and valuable.

I recently organized a Button Up Day event in Dorset, Vermont, where a HEAT Squad Energy Auditor performed a demonstration energy audit. We performed a blower door test, talked about what upgrades can make the biggest strides in efficiency, and answered questions about energy audits and building science. Although it was a fairly small event, we were able to offer attendees free energy audits, and the good vibes and positive feedback showed me my service is making a difference and helping Vermonters live more comfortably in their homes.
Heidi Underbakke
Home Repair & Weatherization Assistant

COVER Home Repair
I'm seeking a paradigm shift this year in AmeriCorps from a career in museums toward a design/build career. I sought out this specific AmeriCorps position to improve my knowledge and skills in carpentry and weatherization while maintaining my personal dedication to service, education, and community.

I really think that serving with AmeriCorps is an opportunity to develop strong career skills and connect with a community in a way that "normal" employment rarely offered me. Sharing time with the homeowners and volunteers and finding random connections and hearing amazing stories has been the highlight of my service so far; of course, the power tools are pretty fun, too.
Alicia Cerasoli
Assisted Living Coordinator

Cathedral Square
Creative, patient, eager, advocate

I felt serving with Cathedral Square through VHCB AmeriCorps would be a compatible fit in order to utilize my social work degree, serve my community, grow my network and gain access to a wealth of specialized knowledge in regards to housing. Housing is such a basic and crucial component to meeting human needs, as it directly correlates with establishing healthy lifestyle habits.

AmeriCorps is similar to a hands-on secondary education experience. You're given a role, with a purpose and tasks, but the emphasis lies where service meets learning.

Utilizing a strengths-based approach with my residents who are wheelchair bound, I often reflect on the following quote, "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." Perspective is key.
Jennifer Moffett
Environmental Educator

VT Institute of Natural Science
I'm originally from Oklahoma and Wyoming, where I grew up spending time hiking with my family in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park and cultivating a love for wild and scenic landscapes. I recently graduated from Middlebury College here in Vermont with a degree in Conservation Biology and spent a semester abroad in Australia studying ecology and researching seabirds. Previously, I've worked in outdoor recreation and environmental education both in Yellowstone National Park and here in the Northeast. I spend most of my free time either enjoying Vermont's year-round outdoor offerings or inside cooking and reading a great book.

I found this position because I was looking to spend another year in Vermont after college and wanted to find a position that would allow me to more fully focus on becoming a more effective environmental educator and communicator. I also have a love for birds that has been fulfilled by getting to spend so much time with the incredible raptors at VINS.

Serving with AmeriCorps is a great opportunity to build experience in a field while giving a year of your life to service. One of the things I find inspiring about my service site is that every day people are willing to drive sometimes 2 hours to bring an injured bird they found to us. Those individuals remind me that we can still choose care about the other inhabitants of this Earth and make it home to great diversity, both within our human community and beyond.
Mia Eyth
Shelter Service Coordinator
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John Graham Emergency Shelter
I am an idealistic, middle-aged adult with decades of experience in education, social services, and psychology. My orientation to life is collaborative and service-oriented, and I love to lead from behind, supporting others in growing and shining. My heroes include Fred Rogers and Bob Ross (yes, really!). And of course, Dr. Martin Luther King. And I aspire to continue their legacy by seeing just how gentle and loving I can be and still have a strong, positive effect on the world.

I joined VHCB AmeriCorps for three reasons: I've always wanted to join the Peace Corps but help domestically, I've wanted to help others stand in their power as humans in an increasingly dehumanizing world, and I believe firmly that food, clothing, shelter, and love are basic human rights, especially in a world where these things are abundant, just not shared humanely. Further, like many Vemonters, I believe that we can make the world a more humane place, but that we must do so from the grassroots. With each other, not in spite of each other:

“When I say it's you I like, I'm talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch. That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.” ― Fred Rogers

I feel that AmeriCorps service reminds all of us of the power we have inside of us, the power for growth and healing that we have when we love each other. Power is not granted from above or gained by conquering, it comes from inside and from kindness towards each other:

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on." -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here? (1967)

When I am confronted with the daily disaster of homelessness, I look to the light shining within my coworkers' hearts and within the strong hearts hidden behind the fear, pain, and loss in each homeless client. Fred Rogers reminded us to look for the helpers, and we all have a helper, a strong, resourceful, hope-filled light inside of us: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and it is this power that I aspire to embody and to empower in others every day:
...
"shining moments are as brief as the twinkling of an eye, yet such twinklings are what eternity is made of -- moments when we human beings can say "I love you," "I'm proud of you," "I forgive you," "I'm grateful for you." That's what eternity is made of: invisible, imperishable good stuff.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
Hayth Basson
Sustainability Planning Coordinator
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Windham & Windsor Housing Trust
Dylan Kreis
Project Assistant

Twin Pines Housing Trust
I am a Vermont native and recently returned to my hometown after more than two decades. I spent my time away achieving my Bachelors and Masters degrees, traveling domestically and abroad while working seasonally in the field of forest fire management. I have always been driven to serve. As a teenager, I spent a summer with the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps as a trail crew member and after high school I served with the Student Conservation Association in partnership with AmeriCorps at three different sites. The time spent serving for these two organizations was formative and gave me a desire to experience more of this world.

As a result of my past experience, I was familiar with what serving with AmeriCorps meant and the benefits serve provides for one's community and spirit. I found my way to the position with Twin Pines Housing Trust (TPHT) after becoming a beneficiary of the organization's grant program, which provided a pathway to home ownership for my and my partner Becca. Having experienced difficulties in finding affordable housing within the Upper Valley, I appreciate TPHT's mission to do so. So, when I heard there was an opportunity to serve as a Project Assistant I was more than willing to step up to the challenge and help improve the housing situation within my hometown.

Serving in a community is one of the most rewarding experiences I have committed myself too. It is challenging, but I have learned a great deal by overcoming challenges that I've faced while serving.

We recently completed renovations on a nine unit property and I had the opportunity to assist clients move back into their units. It was amazing to see their faces when they saw their newly renovated apartment. All were extremely grateful. That is why I serve.
Kaitlin Phillips
Project Assistant
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Twin Pines Housing Trust
Rhianna Hutchins
Children's Services Group Leader
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Upper Valley Haven
Dylan O'Leary
Field Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy SLCV
I’m an aspiring conservation biologist with a deep passion for connecting with the natural world. When I’m not tracking wildlife or surveying plant communities, you’ll find me attempting to hit Mach 1 on skis, getting thrown around on a windsurfer, or kicking the soccer ball around with local adult leagues. I also enjoy woodworking, playing guitar, cooking and batman.

Joining VHCB AmeriCorps/The Nature Conservancy was a no-brainer! Getting to serve the community/environment with an internationally recognized leader in the field of conservation (whose calendar I may or may not have had on my wall since I was 10) is a dream come true.

Other people should know that serving with AmeriCorps is an absolute blast and a welcome change of pace from the typical field technician jobs available.

“Do or do not, there is no try”-Yoda.
Chelsea Boston
Resource Specialist

Good Samaritan Haven
My name is Chelsea and this is my second year of service at my host site. I started at the Good Samaritan Haven as a college intern and have been here ever since. I have really found my niche, and am enjoying this term just as much as my first one!

I decided to intern at the Good Samaritan Haven because I have been homeless myself in the past and it is an issue that is close to my heart. As my internship came to an end, the opportunity to apply for AmeriCorps presented itself and I jumped right on it! I love that I am helping to end homelessness by serving at the shelter.

One thing people should know about AmeriCorps is that there are tons of opportunities for networking and building connections. This is great for people who are just starting their careers!

It's hard to pick just one highlight from my service, as I have had so many interesting and wonderful experiences. My favorite part of my week, though, would have to be playing Bingo with the Guests on Thursday nights. They get to win all kinds of cool prizes, and are always so supportive of each other! It's definitely a lot of fun.
Ira Shadis
AmeriCorps Leader

Vermont Housing & Conservation Board
I grew up in central Vermont and have always found inspiration from the beauty of the land and the goodwill of my neighbors. After spending a few years traveling the western reaches of this country I was glad to be able to return to Vermont and play a role in strengthening and building the communities here. I have a great respect for the natural world, education, mentoring, and the power of travel as tools to deepen the well of understanding from which we draw in order to define our shared future.

AmeriCorps provided invaluable experiences to me as I struggled to find the path I would take in life. In the leader position with VHCB I am able to support all the other members as they build their own futures with AmeriCorps. At the same time it means a lot to me to be able to advocate for and support the mission of VHCB to value the land and people of Vermont. As I continue to serve with AmeriCorps I am certain that I will also continue to find mentors and leaders to inspire me - and opportunities to lead and inspire others.

AmeriCorps is a broad window into the world of service. Of course there are stipulations and limitations but AmeriCorps can be many different things. Whether you are two months deep on a trail crew in Wyoming, or watching the students from your after school program in Waco TX graduate from elementary school, or helping Vermonter’s insulate their 19th century home, AmeriCorps offers a chance for you to chase your own interests, you own vision of a better world. And most likely you will meet plenty of folks along the way who are ready to be part of the struggle.

"A path is made by walking on it" Chuang Tzu
Ellen Cronan
Shared Equity Program Coordinator

Champlain Housing Trust
Ellen is a New Jersey native and is formally trained as an engineer in both Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She has worked for the federal government making bombs, state government managing drinking water, corporations making cell phones and nonprofit organizations conserving natural resources. When not in the office Ellen can be found hiking, biking, skiing or just spending time outside.

At the Champlain Housing Trust, the largest Community Land Trust (CHT) in the country, their Shared Equity Program is innovative in how it encourages homeownership. By providing a down payment investment in properties, it allows low and middle income people the option to own a home. Support is provided by CHT before, during and after purchase, really through the lifetime of their participation in the program. The program gets into the legal, political, financial and social details of housing that people don’t think of when they think of “home”. It helps people understand those details, overcome obstacles and be successful in owning their home.

AmeriCorps is an incredible win-win opportunity where members provide a year of service to the community, getting things done. In return members learn about a locale and business from the inside. It provides access to diverse organizations that partner with the AmeriCorps program and a vast population of individuals who work within that partnership, both present and past, and maybe future, too.

Early in Ellen’s career she was told by a “government lifer” to base every decision at work as if it was her family business and personal money. That suggestion has helped guide her and is particularly pertinent while working at CHT where clients are using their money to create a major life change.
Jenna Lanoil
Volunteer Coordinator

Groundworks Collaborative Drop-In Center
I am a recent graduate and Vermont transplant from Los Angeles, California. I studied at the University of California Santa Cruz where I obtained a degree in Community Studies with an emphasis on Public Health. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work for such a deeply community based organization like Groundworks through my service in AmeriCorps. I have always had a drive to help others and am thrilled to have an opportunity to do so.

I joined AmeriCorps immediately after graduating from college. I was looking for a fully immersive experience that could test what I had learned in school and my own boundaries. I have always had a passion for helping in some way and AmeriCorps felt like the right fit.

I would like others to know that AmeriCorps can mean a lot of different things. My day to day looks nothing like anyone else's and I think there's something really special about that. AmeriCorps acts as a stepping stone towards figuring out our place in society and how the needs of others factor in to that.

My highlights throughout my service is anytime I get to sit down and listen to a client's story. I am constantly reminded that the only thing that separates human from one and other is a little luck and circumstance. I firmly believe that it is these stories that will be what I remember most about my service.
Emily Kaplita
Environmental & Outreach Educator

Audubon Vermont
I serve at Audubon Vermont in Huntington Vermont as their Environmental and Outreach Educator. I have the great pleasure to teach environmental education programs for audiences ages 3 to adulthood here at the center and at other locations. I also coordinate our volunteer’s schedules, and record their hour as well.

I joined VHCB AmeriCorps because it is a very unique part of AmeriCorps and it combined all of my interests into one place. I joined my host site, Audubon Vermont, because I have a real passion for environmental education, and the way they execute their programs in phenomenal. The community that Audubon Vermont fosters is none like I’ve ever experienced before. I knew that by serving at Audubon Vermont I would be gaining so many useful skills and serving with so many amazing people, and so far I wasn’t wrong!

AmeriCorps is an amazing organization. If you are interested in serving, really look at all of the host sites and the different AmeriCorps Programs, because they all may not be for you, but if you spend the time you can find a great fit for you.

Every Friday we have a Forest Preschool program with 10 students that I co-lead. Most Fridays we take the students on some sort of adventure around Audubon’s property. The look on their faces when they find something cool, like a mushroom, a funky shaped rock, or a hollowed out tree, gives me a little more hope. The look on their faces reminds me of why I am here serving and my love to nature and teaching. Their passion and curiosity keeps me moving and drives me to do more.
Bianca Zanella
Revitalization and Homeownership Community Engagement Specialist

NeighborWorks of Western Vermont
Bianca Zanella joined AmeriCorps as the Community Engagement and Revitalization Specialist for NeighborWorks of Western Vermont in order to learn more about her neighboring community of Rutland (she lives in Poultney), and to see how she could lend a hand. She did not expect in joining that she'd also become part of the AmeriCorps family, so quickly learning about herself and others serving all around the state. The training days that AmeriCorps offers to their members really help bridge the learning curve from out of school to the workplace, too! On those days when she needs some inspiration to get motivated, she turns to poetry -- most recently following the work of Kaveh Akbar, who founded Divedapper.From his poem, River of Milk, "nothing was on fire / but fire was on everything".
Luke Rackers
Volunteer Outreach Member

Central Vermont Council on Aging
I am a musician, composer, private educator and audio engineer by training but I have a particular passion for nonprofit work. In addition to being a part-time Americorps member with the Central Vermont Council on Aging, I also serve as the Executive Director of a nonprofit new music organization that helps support the work of living composers. I prefer working in service and program positions that help inspire/empower people and build sustainable communities.

I joined the VHCB and Central Vermont Council on Aging as an Americorps member because I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of seniors and gain experience as a Volunteer Outreach Coordinator. My previous experience teaching private lessons to seniors gave me a passion for connecting with seniors. I love listening to stories and learning from the experiences of elders. I am looking forward to do direct service for seniors in central Vermont and coordinating volunteer and outreach efforts.

At this point, I just want others to know that there is a great program out there for them to serve their communities that includes excellent support and opportunities to learn from their host organizations.

This did not happen during my service hours for Americorps, but I recently performed for a birthday party for a senior with a disease that has caused her to go blind and will likely mean that she will not see her next birthday. She had been listening to a lot of opera music recently to help cope so her friends wanted to do something kind for her. With the help of her friends, myself and a vocalist setup our equipment right next to her without her knowledge of our presence and we just started playing for her. She nearly fell off her seat with excitement and was overjoyed by our music. Her friends called us later to inform us that she said we gave her the will to continue living. This experience was a wonderful reminder that even seemingly small tasks can make a huge difference in a person’s well-being and quality of life.
Hunter Trowbridge
Native Plant Land Manager

Green Mountain College
My name is Hunter Trowbridge, and I am from Narragansett, Rhode Island. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Wildlife and Conservation Biology, which led me to my current position: serving with VHCB AmeriCorps and Green Mountain College as a native plant land manager. I enjoy skiing, climbing, hiking, and generally being outdoors, and so I was very excited to move to Poultney and explore more of Vermont. I have since grown to really enjoy Poultney, and I am excited to give back to this community in any way I can!

I applied to serve with VHCB AmeriCorps because I was initially intrigued by the position. Land management jobs are typically very difficult to break into, and any experience would be a huge help. Furthermore, Green Mountain College takes a very forward-thinking and sustainable view on everything they do, and so I thought this would be a really good opportunity to make a positive impact on a community.

I think people should know that serving with AmeriCorps is a great opportunity to make a direct and tangibly positive impact on communities and the world. It is also good to note that, for recent graduates, serving with AmeriCorps can put you into positions of responsibility that will force you to continue to grow and develop, and to utilize the knowledge you have learned with your degree. Lastly, I think it is important to acknowledge that serving with AmeriCorps is 100% what you make of it – you will get out what you put in, and having that mindset can help make your position more enjoyable and successful.

Recently, Green Mountain College celebrated their annual ‘Thanks and Giving’ event, where the entire college participates in a myriad of service projects. During this event I got to lead two groups into the natural areas to pull invasive plants: we made a big dent into some dense glossy buckthorn seedling beds! Later that day I worked with a young volunteer from the community named Zeb, who was really interested in the natural history of the area. After pulling buckthorn for about an hour, we explored some of the beaver activity on campus, and talked about how the ecosystems are adapting and changing. This was a particularly great moment for me, as I think outreach and education are equally important to direct service (i.e. pulling plants out of the ground).
Liz Znamierowski
HVC Resident Services Manager

Housing Vermont
I am a native Vermonter and recent grad of Bowdoin College where I played field hockey, explored the Maine coast and generally had the time of my life. In no particular order I love: French fries, dogs, checking things off of to-do lists, cheering on the Bruins, and reading a good book in the sunshine.

I joined VHCB AmeriCorps/Housing Vermont (my host site) because I truly believe that providing affordable housing to Vermonters is a real and pressing need. Furthermore as a hopeful nursing student and a former global health intern, I believe that housing has been widely overlooked as a major determinant of health.

Serving with AmeriCorps as a Vermonter, in Vermont, is an awesome way to be involved with and give back to the communities that raised me.

“Wherever you go, there you are”

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