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Volume 2 Issue 6

The Vista Verse

JUNE 2012


A VISTA Farewell by

Susan Van Deren, VISTA Project Supervisor, United Way of Weld County I can’t believe it’s been three years since I was given the opportunity to work on the United Way of Weld County VISTA project. The past three years have been an incredible journey. I have met some of the most talented, educated, passionate people in the country who chose to move hundreds of miles from home, live in poverty for a year, and help the less fortunate in our communities in Weld County. I also want to give a shout out to Kristy Gallegos who moved across Greeley. The VISTA members have different reasons why they serve but all share an equal enthusiasm for change and support of the poverty eradication mission of VISTA.

One of the things I’ll miss most about the VISTA members is their positive, can-do attitude and their willingness to help others. This has been evident through volunteering for numerous fundraising and awareness campaigns outside of their own projects (sometimes 10-20 additional hours a week.) The VISTA members are also great collaborators who work across 13 different project sites to accomplish common goals and leverage resources. I want to thank the VISTAs for letting me be a part of their journey. I wish them the best as they move beyond their year here in Greeley and I look forward to great things to come as they continue down their career path.

VISTA Ellen designs the first Weld Food Bank Community Garden Page 3

VISTA Virginia discusses Getting Ahead Classes Page 4



Happening in June


June 6 - Weld Food Bank Summer Salads Cooking Class - Chef Aran Essig, Executive Chef of UNC Dining Services – Contact VISTA Ellen for more information

Greeley Farmer’s Market The market will be open on Saturdays through October 27th from 7:30 a.m. to noon and also on Wednesdays beginning July 11th through September 26th from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Located at the downtown historic Union Pacific Depot, 902 7th Avenue. The Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables along with a variety of specialty foods and local crafts. Our selection is based on participating vendors and the time of year, but may include anything from apples to zucchini or fresh flowers and potted herbs along with beef, fresh bread and local hand crafts. There may also be vendors with hot coffee, breakfast burritos, pastries and more ready to eat at the market or take home. Each week can be a new shopping experience!

June 7 – Greeley Young Professionals – GYP is a business building event for those who are 21-39 years of age. Monthly every first Thursday. June 8 – Greeley Blues Jam kick off 5:30 – 11pm Come and enjoy "Beale Street" in Downtown Greeley with a kick off concert on Friday night, with a spectacular barhopping experience in Blues music until midnight. June 9 - Greeley Blues Jam June 16 - A Taste of Art, 6:30pm 9:00pm - benefitting High Plains Library District Foundation, is a gala art event which features local artists, wine, and desserts. Tickets are just $25 each or free admission for volunteers! For more information contact VISTA Nora,

Friday Fest EVERY Friday evening, June 8th through October 26th! Enjoy many nights of great music and fun on the 9th Street Plaza.

June 15 - Greeley Stampede Kick-Off Friday Fest - "Luke & the Cool Hands" - The Greeley Stampede takes over downtown for this one with their usual western flair.

June 17 – Father’s Day! June 21 - Weld Food Bank TAPAS Cooking Class - Adam Klemisch, Executive Chef at Tavola Chef Adam, Contact VISTA Ellen for more information June 22 - July 4 - The Greeley Stampede – Concerts, Rodeos, and Independence Day Festivities. Volunteers receive free admission June 27 – Bike to Work Day June 28 – 2nd Annual United Way, KUNC, NCMC Community Blood Drive, 8:00pm– 2:00pm, Bloodmobile will be parked in the east parking lot of KUNC – 1901 56th Ave in Greeley. Give a pint and receive a free pint of ice cream!

JUNE BIRTHDAYS June 12: Happy birthday to VISTA Lizzie Morris of A Woman’s Place!



Weld Food Bank Community Garden by

Ellen (Aylin) Saribudak, VISTA, Weld Food Bank

Community gardens are sprouting up all across America in response to a public desire to build community, grow fresh produce, and promote wellness. With these intentions, Weld Food Bank has initiated a community garden project this year at Houston Gardens in Greeley. Starting in mid-Spring, I began leading the project by soliciting donations from community businesses and organizing volunteers to help grow seedlings and to water the burgeoning plants. With limited growing experience but plenty of enthusiasm, I have been seeking advice from experienced gardeners as well as researching online for best practices. The food bank is currently growing a variety of tomatoes and peppers, swiss chard, mustard greens, and beans. There are plans to cultivate basil, squash, and other veggies as well. Happy Life Gardens has been an indispensable partner in supplying seeds and other supplies for the project.

The garden’s purpose is to engage the community to think about food and hunger in new ways and also to produce extra vegetables for the food bank. While the amount of food harvested will be modest, the garden is intended to act as a symbol, encouraging everyone to get engaged in the food system. It’s been incredibly moving watching seeds grow into seedlings and seedlings into full-size plants. Experiencing the other side of the food system makes me more thoroughly understand and appreciate the amount of resources it takes to create food. This garden has been such a joyous volunteerdriven project. I can’t wait to see how the garden project continues and grows in the coming years.


Houston Gardens is located at 23rd avenue and 5th street. Plots are available to the public in two sizes, 5 by 60 feet and 10 by 60 feet. For the latter, there is a seasonal plot fee of $35, which includes water and access to a variety of garden tools. The gardens are also open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 8:30 am -4:30 pm.





Virgina (Ginnie) Siverly, VISTA, Faith Community Service Fund by

Faith Community Service Fund provides Getting Ahead classes for people that have a desire to make change in their lives. Getting Ahead is a (15 module) curriculum for individuals to gain knowledge and move beyond their situation in

Getting Ahead is truly an example of an educational program to provide tools for self-sufficiency. I have had the opportunity to see, firsthand, this program empower individuals. Last Fall, I observed a pilot class of 10 ladies who have been sanctioned by TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and identified by the County as qualified candidates to participate as part of their IRC (Individual Responsibility Contract). Faith Fund partnered with the County to introduce the Getting Ahead program as an alternative for sanctioned clients. At the end of the class term, 7 ladies graduated and are all qualified to become cofacilitators for future classes.

I helped develop the ‘Moving On’ program for Getting Ahead graduates to assess progress, establish and strengthen meaningful relationships, and provide connections and resources for them as they focus on their plans for getting out of poverty. Following the Weld County TANF class, our staff met with the graduates consistently every two weeks for about two months. The meetings were casual and friendly; a chance to catch Getting Ahead Graduates (Weld County TANF class), up with every one November 2011 and encourage their poverty. The program gives structure personal plans and goals. We and support where individuals and also stay connected and provide families in poverty struggle most – support through our ‘Moving problem solving skills. Participants On’ Facebook page. This, we not only gain access to valuable have discovered, is the most community resources but also effective form of experience internal motivation to communication for our move out of poverty. They create a graduates. plan which includes goals to strengthen their resources and social capital.

Ginnie Siverly

An important aspect of the Getting Ahead program is that graduates are qualified to co-facilitate future classes. This is a great opportunity for those individuals who have gone through the classes and have encountered their own “aha” moment to encourage, guide, share their story, and relate to new participants. One of the graduates from the Weld County class was a cofacilitator for a Getting Ahead class in May. It is so exciting to see her thrive in the change that is taking place. She is utilizing the tools from Getting Ahead to give back to the community and empower others as well. Getting Ahead is putting hope back in



Very Valuable VISTA: Annmarie Blodgett, Sunrise Health Clinic people’s lives! 1) If you had the means to live in two cities at once, which would they be?

haven’t been yet!

I’d live in Dunedin, NZ and either Bozeman, MT or Missoula. I studied abroad in New Zealand and would love to go back! I’ve also always wanted to live in Montana. As long as the city was bike friendly, had lots of trees and parks, and had access to fun outdoor activities I’d be a happy camper!

I’d be a mountain goat. They live in some of the most beautiful places of the country, have nice warm coats, and are really good climbers and hikers!

2) If you found $100 on the sidewalk tonight, how would you spend it? I’d take all the Vistas to Jump Street near Denver! I can’t believe we

The Vista Verse

3) If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

4) What are 3 things from your bucket list? Live in a Spanish speaking country; learn to play the mandolin or fiddle; and backpack through Nepal. 5) If you could go anywhere where would you go & who would you take? I would go to either Iceland or Argentina with my sister, Andrea. My sister is a great travel buddy and we have similar personalities and senses of humor. We can make even a drive to the grocery store a fun time, so I think a trip with her would definitely be a blast! 6) If you’re in a new city, do you wander or stick to the itinerary? I like to have maybe one or two things planned but mostly wander. I think it’s more fun to just walk around and be open to explore cool things or places that pop up along the way.

For more information, contact Lisa Monsen | VISTA Project Leader United Way of Weld County 970-304-6179 814 9th Street | PO Box 1944 Greeley, CO 80632

7) Why did you become an AmeriCorps VISTA? I had originally planned to go to Grad school after college but the more I thought about national service, the more I realized that path was a

better fit for me. I felt like after spending so much of my life at school learning and studying, preparing to enter the real world, I wanted to get out there and start using my knowledge and cultivating my skills. I am very passionate about a variety of social issues and injustices, and instead of just reading about our nation’s problems, I wanted to be a part of their solutions. Becoming an AmeriCorps Vista seemed like the perfect way for me to transition from the bubble of college to the “real world,” and to work for causes I am truly passionate about. 9) What do you miss most about home? My awesome family and friends, the ocean and beach, my house and cat Pepper, and hearing Maine accents! 10) What do you love the most about being in Colorado? The mountains! And of course I love the people. It’s fun to meet so many new friends that are up for adventures and that share so many interests with me. All the sunshine, farmer’s markets, local breweries, and neat restaurants are also top reasons of why I love it here!

2012-06 Vista Verse  
2012-06 Vista Verse