AmeriCorps Stories of the Week

Recent Success Stories

josh with ice cream

Reflection About Service

High Pond is set in a deep bowl, surrounded by peaks of the Taconic Mountains of southern Vermont. The trail up to the pond winds through hardwood forest and hemlock stands, up and down smaller hills, gradually climbing up to the rim of the pond basin. High Pond is my favorite preserve that I steward with The Nature Conservancy. The lake is cold and clear. Within a few kicks away from shore it becomes so deep you can no longer find the bottom. With the Taconic’s walling off the lake from the valley, it feels like wilderness.

Anastasia with bird

Confidence as a Bird Handler and Bird Trainer

During this last quarter things changed so much due to the COVID pandemic. We closed completely and only had one educator on site per day which meant that when I was on site, I was completely independent and troubleshooting and issues had to be left up to me. This gave me more confidence and led me to create the portable perch and train all the birds to use it. My supervisors, Anna and Nathan , encouraged me to go for it and it really build up my confidence as a bird handler and bird trainer. It also made me realize I could make a lasting impact on how we handle the birds here.

alyssa outside

Adventures With Campers

I had the learning experience of hosting camp. We were leading the campers in fairy house construction, bridge building, and bracelet weaving when we heard a distant rumble of thunder. I gathered my group of campers and we met with the other two pods to prepare for hiking back to thunder camp (which is a tarped area in the lowlands of the forest). My co-lead explained we would be hiking back in the forest line off-trail, sticking to the low areas of the woods

Being The Bridge

I had one client come in who was very anxious about receiving services from the HRC, they believed that they were not eligble because other members of their community told them that they would not receive help. They were so pleased with how the intake went that they referred me to other members of the community who were also looking for aid.

courtney in garden

Independent Service Project-VHCB AmeriCorps Program Initiative

For my Independent Service Project, I have been spending time each week at the Community Garden, run by Charter House Coalition. This effort first started when I was an intern as a second-year student at Middlebury College, where I spent the summer planting, watering, and harvesting at a beautiful farm along the river. Many years later, the garden has moved locations but is still maintained, with the help of lots of loyal volunteers, to produce a bountiful harvest for the Charter House meal programs

Alex by a big tree

By The Deep Furrows Of An Old Cottonwood Tree

I spent a day in June pulling garlic mustard along the coast of Lake Champlain with a couple of my colleagues from the northern office of The Nature Conservancy. After many bugs had bitten, many beads of sweat had salted the earth, and many garbage bags of garlic mustard had been filled, we sat down on an enormous driftwood log to enjoy our lunch. Towards the end of our lunch break someone suggested that we take two minutes, and each try to sketch, on pieces of slate, a nearby impressively sized cottonwood tree. It was a simple enough suggestion, and took only a brief few moments of our time, but it was incredibly rewarding to sit and appreciate the grandeur of such a large tree and more rewarding still to see what small details each of us chose to focus on in our quick sketching and how each of our personalities might be reflected in those little choices.

A Stone Structure Along The State House Path

So, one of my favorite memories of my service so far has been when I was assisting in putting back together a stone structure along the State House Path. The stone structure is like a half kiva with some large flat stones on top for people to sit on. It rests at the top of a stone staircase and is a major landmark along the trail.

anthony erwin

Monitoring A Property Called Black Falls

As a stewardship assistant with the Green Mountain Club, my days in the field are defined by the extremes of conservation work: epic views, captivating wildlife encounters, biting insects, and rugged terrain. I am fortunate enough to experience natural areas in ways that most people will never get to experience. It has become my passion and life's work to make sure that everyone can get a meaningful experience from nature whatever that may be.

sarah in the field

An Environmental Educator During COVID-19

Being an environmental educator during COVID-19 has been a challenge. I went from taking students out into the woods at the Audubon center to reading picture books and using PowerPoint to give mini presentations on beavers, bats, pollinators and a whole host of other critters. However, COVID has reminded me just how valuable environmental education is for all learners.

Umbrella and bench

Leadership Role in a project at Rural Edge’s Crystal Lake Apartments

I’ve been able to take a leadership role in a project at Rural Edge’s Crystal Lake Apartments in Barton. I first visited the property back in late April with my site supervisor Ann, and the property manager Teresa.

Hannah with Mask

The Nature Conservancy Field Service

My field service last week was great! I monitored and maintained tree plantings at a restoration site on Tuesday (5/26) and pulled invasive garlic mustard at TNC’s Butternut Hill Natural Area in North Hero yesterday(5/28). Both were very productive and safe days.

people on ramp

Cover Home Repair Builds a Ramp

My first day as an AmeriCorps member, I built a ramp for Herbert. He had been a contractor, so it was important that all the angles be square, and the supports be strong. He watched us, with a slight smile on his face, most of the afternoon on the three days of work. I am sure he would have supervised us all morning as well, but his wife said the pain meds put him to sleep for a long time. He was not receiving treatment anymore, just medication to ease the pain.

melinda campbell

VHCB AmeriCorps Member to "Adopt" a Senior

Each AmeriCorps member has the option to "adopt" a senior and perform the volunteer activities themselves. I went out to meet Clara to see what kind of organizing help she needed.

ROMANA K

Champlain Housing Trust's Eviction Prevention Program

I had the pleasure of organizing and managing our annual CHT Eviction Prevention Program Conference from start to finish.

Scott B

Upper Valley Haven Afterschool Program

On the last day of school before the shutdowns, in light rain, I waited for one of the After-School children outside of the cafeteria/gymnasium. I was six feet away from parents waiting for their own children.

Luna Shen and Alana Mason

COVID-19: YOUNG WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF SERVICE

Two young women, Luna Shen and Alana Mason, both 23, are VHCB AmeriCorps members on the front lines, serving homeless families at the John Graham Shelter. They are part of a team working around the clock to staff the shelters, deliver food and supplies, and provide services and care to homeless families at John Graham’s sites throughout Addison County.

Jennifer Hunt, serving at Groundworks Collaborative in Brattleboro, VT

A Feast for the Holidays

Every year the food shelf that I serve at, offers a holiday food giveaway in mid-December. Two days after this year's event a woman came into the food shelf hoping that she might be able to get one of the hams we had been giving away. She said that her son had recently passed away, leaving her to care for her two grandchildren. It was going to be the children's first Christmas without their father and the woman did not have the money to afford a large meal.

Quinn Salinder serves at the John Graham Shelter

Homelessness: More than the Lack of a Home

“It’s a commonly stated truth that “homelessness” is more than the lack of a home. This alludes to the reality that homeless individuals often face a wide range of challenges rooted in their personal experiences that prevent them from being housed sustainably. Histories of addiction, trauma, and mental health disorders are more common than not. Ultimately, all who are homeless carry with them a unique set of factors that led them to a position of being without housing. In consideration of this holistic idea of “homelessness,” the process of addressing these underlying challenges is just as important as developing a sustainable source of income and finding appropriate housing.

2018-19 VHCB AmeriCorps team at the orientation service project

Story of the Week 12/4/2018

I have been trying to put into words how VHCB has inspired me to do my best. But, being the voice of the members, I don’t want to just reflect my experience, I want to try to represent a collective experience. I reached out to other members last week, and I thought there would be some variation, but it turns out that VHCB serves us in really similar ways.

Luke Rackers receiving the Governor's Service Award

Luke Rackers, VHCB AmeriCorps member, Earns Governor's Service Award

Luke was nominated for being a self-starter, being an innovative presence regarding the organizations policies and procedures, and his contributions in developing actions plans to help older Vermonters stay in their homes.

Picture of Daphne at Windham and Windsor Housing Trust

Story of the Week 5/24/2018

As a part time student with full-time commitment in community service, I have recently completed a research project focused on the importance of housing stability for socioeconomic well-being for low-income households including the homeless population, and the positive impact of nonprofit affordable housing developments for disadvantaged communities.

Jenny Moffett

Serving at TNC

The Nature Conservancy owns and manages 55 natural areas in Vermont, totaling nearly 30,000 acres. Ecologically speaking, these protected areas provide a lot “bang for your buck.” Some of the most spectacular, unique, and rare natural communities and species in Vermont and the Northeast thrive on these lands...

A Long History of Service on The Long Trail

June 29th, 2017 was one of the most meaningful volunteer service projects I’ve been on yet. Who’d have thought a group of 5 Real Estate Investment Advisors would be so good at trail maintenance?

Voices of Home

This past winter, I received an email from Laura Wilson, Cathedral Square’s Director of Operations, suggesting I connect with another AmeriCorps member. I soon learned that through their service with the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, AmeriCorps VISTA members, Corrine Yonce and Luke Dodge were collaborating on a project titled “Voices of Home” to spread the importance of affordable housing. In their words, “Voices of Home is a storysharing project dedicated to promoting the voices of Vermont's affordable housing residents. We aim to erase the stigma surrounding affordable housing communities and educate our friends and neighbors about the incredible importance of stable, reasonably priced homes in helping people live fulfilling lives. These stories are those of your own communities and the people who live in them.”