Meet Our Staff

Francis Sharpstene

has been working with the VHCB AmeriCorps Program in 2007, first as the Program Assistant, then moving into the Director role in 2012. His AmeriCorps experience began in 2004 when he served as an AmeriCorps *NCCC Member in the Southwest region, and continued in 2005 when he served as a Team Leader.  Over his two years of service, he worked on a variety of projects including trail maintenance in Big Bend National Park, teaching adaptive sports with the Sports Center for the Disabled, and monitoring endangered Kemp Ridley Sea Turtles on Padre Island.  Serving in AmeriCorps was a transformative time for Francis, and he’s happy to be in a role in which he can now help others have a similar life changing experience.

Francis hails from the Adirondacks of Upstate New York which inspired a love of the outdoors. In his late teenage years, he began spending his summers working in Acadia National Park. He would pass through Vermont when traveling between Main and his home state, which is when he first fell in love with the Green Mountain State. Now settled into Vermont, he spends his free time cooking, gardening, volunteering, and traveling.



Erin Riley

joined AmeriCorps in 2006 where she served in a San Francisco elementary school developing after-school programming and providing individual and small group tutoring. Encouraged by the impact AmeriCorps has on local communities; she sought another chance to serve and moved to Casper, Wyoming in 2011 to fulfill the role of a VISTA member with HealthCare for the Homeless. In Casper, Erin organized community awareness events focused on reducing the stigma of homelessness and secured funding for a backpack program to benefit clinic clients.  Erin jumped at the opportunity to continue her involvement with national service by joining the VHCB AmeriCorps team as Program Coordinator in 2015.

Although originally from Massachusetts, Erin grew up in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and now calls Montpelier her home. Erin is passionate about social justice and dedicates time to grassroots organizations focused on these issues. Erin rounds out her free time participating in book clubs, co-chairing a bad movie club, Zumba, playing outdoors, and hanging out with her beloved cat Iggy.


Ira Shadis

grew up in central Vermont and has always found inspiration from the beauty of the land and the goodwill of his neighbors. After spending a few years traveling the western reaches of this country he was glad to be able to return to Vermont and play a role in strengthening and building the communities there. He has 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 to define our shared future.

Ira has lead trail crews with an AmeriCorps program in Alaska, supervised crew leaders as they tackled projects in the green mountains, and had the privilege of herding a class of highschoolers around Central Vermont to learn from their community. AmeriCorps has provided invaluable experiences to Ira as he looked to find the path he would take in life. In the leader position with VHCB he is able to support all of the other members as they build their own futures with AmeriCorps.

“A path is made by walking on it” Chuang Tzu

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