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Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps State Program

Inside this Issue: Molly Walsh


Danica Zirkle


Margaret Lambert


John Powell


Sam Lederfine Paskal


Todd Lavigne


Kerri MacLaury


Allison Baldowski


Lindsay Smith


Jessica Southard


Mischa Tourin


Hannah Mueller


Heather Simson


Tyler Farry


Karyn Norwood


Marley Balasco



Making a real impact in Vermont communities.

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Fall 2011 Edition

Hello, everyone! My name is Molly Walsh and I am serving at the Underground Teen Center and Boys & Girls Club in Winooski. I am originally from Greensboro, NC where I studied Political Science and secondary social studies education. It has always been my passion to work with youth and teens, especially in an academic environment. I chose to serve with the Vermont Youth Development Corps because I knew it would be completely different than anything I could experience in North Carolina and would help me grow personally and professionally. I chose my specific site because of the large refugee population, hoping that I could really make a difference in the lives of teenagers who are new to The United States. At the Boys & Girls club, we I would especially like to encourage provide a drop-in space for youth and the youth in the Boys & Girls Club to take Molly Walsh teens during the week. We offer free, advantage of myself and the staff members AmeriCorps Member nutritionally balanced meals to any local while they are in the club. I have noticed that it kid 3 nights each week; homework help Winooski Teen Center only takes a bit of coaxing and agreeing to a and tutoring every night, with tutors Winooski, VT basketball game to get the youth motivated to from UVM on Tuesdays and Thursdo their homework. days; specialized programming for high school girls; internet access for educational and entertainment I would like to create a more welcoming structure for students to get homework help. Not only will this improve purposes; and access to sports equipment and play areas. grades but it goes a long way towards starting meaningful Throughout my year at the site in Winooski, I hope dialogue with the youth. to increase a feeling of inclusion for girls and other underrepAs for getting higher female attendance rates, I am hoping that by the end of the year I can remove some stigma between male/female dynamics and make girls feel just as entitled to the space as the boys. I am learning a great deal through our Girls Only! program and hope to translate that to our teen center. The most important thing I hope for this year is to not get so wrapped up in what I want to accomplish that I ignore what the kids would like to accomplish. After all, it is their space and it is important that they are allowed to be kids and have a good time in a safe space.

resented populations. I hope to increase healthy habits in teens and pre-teens and encourage academic success.

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Danica Zirkle AmeriCorps Member Spectrum Youth and Family Services Burlington, VT

Fall 2011 Edition

“Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

In just my third week serving the students in the CityScape afterschool program at Barre City Elementary and Middle School (BCEMS), I am blown away by the energy and enthusiasm. CityScape is one of a variety of youth programs run by the Montpelier-based non-profit, The Washington County Youth Service Bureau. The focus of CityScape is to provide a safe environment where youth can positively develop through interactions with their peers and a supportive staff, and to draw from, and cultivate roots in the greater Barre community. So far during my direct service, I have been reintroduced to the games “Go Fish” and “Sorry” (much to my delight). I have witnessed poignant poetry from 6-8th grade girls prompted by the last line—“I don't want to end up simply having visited this world,”—from Mary Oliver’s poem, “When Death Comes,” and I have delighted in seeing displays of powerful emotions that show me there is no lack of energy to harness. The community CityScape serves is Barre City. Barre City, and the greater Barre area, was part of a granite mining empire that exploded as a boom town in the late 1890’s. Despite reaching its peak population size in 1930, Barre is still fully functioning as one of the country’s largest granite produc-

ing areas and holds the self-proclaimed title, “Granite Center of the World.”

truly awe-some place.

As a new Vermonter, it is exciting to be serving and living in both Montpelier and Barre. As a lover of polarities, I am thriving in this dichotomous pair. I was drawn to Vermont by the unknown and the promise of fall foliage and am staying for the potential of new personal challenges and snow. Professionally, during my year with CityScape I plan to create engaging proMargaret Lambert grams in which students feel a sense AmeriCorps Member of belonging while engaging their CityScape, Barre, VT minds and having fun. This next year’s CityScape programming holds the promise of local food, artwork, in the granite rubble—boulders the size science experiments, poetic writing, of desks, and some as large as cars—that solid relationships, and personal lie cast away on every hillside surround- triumphs. Beyond programming, I hope to foster a constructive relaing the quarry, waiting for strong, able bodies to make use of these stone goli- tionship between BCEMS and Cityaths. Potential shines in the strong, re- Scape with a focus on creating a partnership in the school garden. silient children who come every day to And personally, I’m just enjoying the Cityscape program with energy to spare and potential blankets the warriors remembering how much fun it is to be around kids! of positive encouragement who are plentiful within the school. I am deMy motto for this year is, lighted to find myself working within a “Let laughter echo off every program that is in need of, and can feed granite quarry and bring on the snow.” off from the raw potential of such a Last week during my tour of the area, I stood at the edge of the largest granite quarry, The Rock of Ages, and stared down upon sheer granite walls that reached a mile down into the bowels of the earth. As I continue to get to know Barre I see that it is a place full of latent potential. That potential is found

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It was a brutal spring. No jobs anywhere, man. I’m serious. I was not going to work in schools again. Public school? For real? No pay raises. No guaranteed work. Not making anything better by getting up in the morning. Luckily, summer brought a two-month VISTA position at Big Heavy World in Burlington. I gained some knowledge, met some people, and gained new insight into running nonprofits. This path led to Essex CHIPS. I dig programming and event organizing. I have a ton of experience working with youth. Let’s segue from the schools into working with kids in a cool capacity, and let’s help a whole community while we’re at it. Youth learn how to paper mache in the Essex Teen and Tween Center. I grew up in the town over from Essex, and love the food around Five Corners, so why not? I’m plugged into a lot of other projects around town, so what’s nearby home and what fits my schedule? It was nice to stick with the VYDC from summer to a year-round position. I took on the role of Teen Center Coordinator with ease, almost like it was meant for me. What’s CHIPS? Well, it’s an umbrella organization, involved John Powell with the Essex community in a million ways, but we also AmeriCorps Member have the Teen and Tween Center, a drop-in afterschool spot Essex CHIPS on the second floor of an historic building. Pool table. Ping Pong. You get the idea. After school, kids come, sign-in, Essex Junction, VT hang out. They feel safe, get involved, and get a free snack. So I keep the space in shape. We have dishes to do, doors to unlock and lock, and then there are programs that help keep kids active and thinking. How can we get them eating well? How can we get them to talk about issues? Kids have it rough these days, and we can’t blame them for their issues. We have to support them and alter our perceptions to give them a fighting chance. So, my idea was to make theme months. Rock-tober. Guinness Book of November. May might be Star Wars month. I don’t know yet. I’m not that far ahead. But we can make activities that fall under those themes, and it makes sure each month is a little different from the last. I’m sort of the Dumbledore of the Teen Center, if you will. I’m sort of the Professor X or the Jay Z of the Teen Center. Okay, maybe not the Jay Z, but I’m may be the Dean of the Teen Center. That guy you go to. It’s a great environment. We’re all energized, young, driven, and we have ideas on how to improve the community. I just want to make the kids come back every day. I want them to look forward to getting together. We’re a positive group and good role models for the youth, tweens and teens alike.

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Fall 2011 Edition

I help Maplehill to accomplish this mission by coordinating the Senior Center project and the lowincome housing Food Drop. Twice a week, I accompany students to the As the new AmeriCorps member at Maplehill Twin Valley Senior Center School, I feel fortunate to be following in the footsteps of some amazing former AmeriCorps members who have left a in Marshfield, where we lasting and positive impact. I am a graduate from UVM and spend time with local senhave developed a strong interest in farm-based learning. Af- iors playing games, chatting ter spending time as a Farmyard Educator at Shelburne and having lunch. This seFarms and a Snow- mester we are planning to conduct interviews to help board Coach at us learn more about the sen- Maplehill students learn to use Stowe Mountain an apple press to make homeResort, I was ready iors and the history of our made apple cider to start teaching in a community. The Food more formal setting Drop occurs at the end of and developing my each month and Maplehill provides food—some grown on our teaching skills. Ma- farm, to residents at the low-income housing apartment buildplehill School and ing. Also, I am teaching a dance class, a babysitting class and Farm is a small, pri- helping with a holiday crafting class. vate high school in Plainfield that provides a nurturing learnMy goals are to build positive relationships with stuing atmosphere for students who have had a challenging time dents and engage them in new activities that help them to bein the public school system. Maplehill focuses on teaching come healthier and learn social and job training skills. Addistudents the skills necessary to help them become positive tionally, I hope to help the teachers and staff provide more community members. Part of the mission of Maplehill is “to hands-on learning opportunities, especially at the Maplehill improve the quality of life for people who have limited opFarm, and find ways to connect our students to the wider comportunities, including: children, adolescents, family and senior munity. I am so excited to be off to a good start! citizens, by providing direct education, agricultural, and outreach services.”

Samantha Lederfine Paskal AmeriCorps Member Maplehill School and Farm Plainfield, VT

Getting Things Done For America! My name is Todd Lavigne and I’m serving at the Teen Center in Winooski. I’m originally from Western Massachusetts and graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2010. I decided to serve in the Vermont Youth Development Corps for many reasons, one of which is that I look forward to living in Vermont. Along with my co-AmeriCorps member, Molly Walsh, I supervise the Teen Center in Winooski, which is probably the most diverse Teen Center in the state of Vermont.

Our Teen Center provides three free, nutritious dinners for youth per week. The youth must be under 18 years old to qualify for our free dinners. After dinner we open up the Teen Center for any youth in grades 9 through 12. We offer billiards, homework help, time on our computers, arts and crafts, as well as board games to our youth until 9 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Friday nights the Teen Center stays open until 11 pm, and members are allowed to use the gym from the YMCA.

I’m really hoping to mold some young minds through my year of service. We have many youth that could simply use the benefit of other worldviews in their lives. I’m going to try hard this year to get some of our youth to participate and buy-in to the advantages that our Teen Center has to offer.

Todd Lavigne AmeriCorps Member Winooski Teen Center Winooski, VT

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Kerri MacLaury AmeriCorps Member The Collaborative Londonderry,. VT The Collaborative, a substance abuse prevention coalition serving the Northshire and Mountain Communities in Southern Vermont, promotes the development of a healthy, involved community supporting substance free youth in a caring environment. I am a proud Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps State member, serving a third term with The Collaborative. After two years away from VYDC and The Collaborative, life circumstances lined up for me to come back. I was very excited to return to the community that I grew up in and where I did two years of AmeriCorps service. One might think, What is she crazy!? Three terms of service! To that I would reply, “Crazy, yes. Insane, no.” A lot of people, when they talk to me about AmeriCorps jump straight to this statement, “They really don’t pay you a lot for that.” While the statement might be true from a bank balance’s perspective, I find that sentiment about AmeriCorps misdirected. AmeriCorps is all about the spirit of service. It’s about giving with no thought of return. Showing up to help someone else instead of helping oneself. To see what AmeriCorps is about, all you have to do is check out The AmeriCorps Pledge. AmeriCorps members strengthen, act, seek common ground, and persevere. We get things done for our communities, state, and country. We do so to make “our people safer, smarter, and healthier.” AmeriCorps do not serve to gain riches; they serve to simply be of service. This term, I have a wider and deeper understanding of the spirit of service. I will give to The Collaborative, my community, my state, and the youth within each, with no thought of return. I will seek only to be helpful and hardworking. I will encourage all youth in my community to lead healthy lives, providing them with the information and support to do so. The secret to successful AmeriCorps service, and perhaps even to life itself, is that true joy is found in serving others. We may not make millions as AmeriCorps members

Fall 2011 Edition

but the connections and memories we make, the lives we touch, the help that we give are priceless. To conclude, I will remix the AmeriCorps Pledge so that it reflects the service I do here at The Collaborative.

The Kerri MacLaury VYDC AmeriCorps Pledge I will get things done for the Mountain and Northshire Communities—to make our youth and teens safer, smarter, and healthier. I will bring young Vermonters together, to strengthen our communities and state. Faced with apathy, I will play Broomball with teens. Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground through team building games. Faced with adversity, I will make a Member Service Project Plan to help make my substance-free event planning go smoother. I will carry this commitment with me FOREVER! I am an AmeriCorps member, I will get things done!

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Allison Baldowski AmeriCorps Member UVM Extension-Afterschool Programs Middlebury VT “So, what are you doing now?” The most dreaded question for many college graduates. Reluctantly, many of us have answers that were perfected from more practice than we would like. I used to be among those who hated that question, until I was given an amazing opportunity to serve in the AmeriCorps State Program with the Vermont Youth Development Corps. I had previously served with AmeriCorps for 3 months in Lewisville, Texas, but the current opportunity in front of me was for 10 months. Before I knew it, I was packed up, leaving New Jersey and heading for Vermont. While serving UVM Extension in Middlebury, Vermont, I will have the opportunity to go to schools and offer after school programs in various subjects. I am currently teaching a Junior Chefs program at Otter Valley Union Middle School in Brandon. Over a peGreetings! My name is Lindsay Smith and I am the AmeriCorps Resource Coordinator at Spectrum Youth and Family Services here in Burlington, Vermont. I am very excited to be a part of the Vermont Youth and Development Corps team this year and looking forward to my year of service. While I have only been here at Spectrum for two weeks, I already have met some awesome people and feel like I am working with a great team. As the AmeriCorps Resource Coordinator, I will be searching for local resources in Burlington and surrounding areas that will be beneficial to our youth. This includes housing, employment,

Fall 2011 Edition

riod of 7 weeks, the students I serve with will gain experience working in a kitchen as well as valuable information on eating healthy. Each week has a different theme such as different food groups or MyPlate, which is the new replacement for the food pyramid. We cook a new food and play a game or two during each session. Other programs that I offer include the following: environmental education, various robotics programs, digital photography, and videography. All of the programs are Junior Chefs show off their culinary masterdesigned to be pieces during a UVM Extension program. fun, hands on, and educational. Over the next 10 months, I hope to make a positive impact and spark some new interests within the youth that I will be interacting with.

education, volunteer opportunities, and any other youth needs.

Lindsay Smith AmeriCorps Member Spectrum Youth and Family Services Burlington, VT

During my year of service I hope to provide the youth in my community with necessary skills and resources that they will continue to use to warding experiences seemed like a great make healthy decisions as young adults. fit for me. Along with this, I hope to gain valuable In addition, serving at a site experience that will help me grow and with older youth was a new challenge succeed as a young adult. that I wanted to take on, being that I To tell you a little about myself, have primarily worked with younger I am from New Jersey and I recently youth. graduated from the University of VerHere at Spectrum Youth and mont with a degree in Global Studies. Family Services, we provide resources While I had no set direction after I and assistance to teenagers and young graduated, I began the job hunt and a adults with troubled backgrounds. We couple months down the road I came serve two meals a day and offer a safe across Vermont Youth Development Corps AmeriCorps State Program. Re- space for clients to spend their time proflecting on who I am, I do enjoy work- ductively (building resumes, searching for jobs, looking for housing, etc.). I’m ing with youth and have spent a lot of time doing so. Being able to be part of a very happy to be part of a great site and program that allows me to give back to look forward to carrying out Spectrum’s my community and take away many re- mission this year!

Fall 2011 Edition


When people see my Iowa license plate, they often stare and look at me with a confused expression. Some (especially born and bred Vermonters) ask, “And, you chose to come to Vermont? You must be crazy.” I don’t dispute that, moving to a place with equally or more vicious winters was probably not my sanest idea, but I find myself looking at the mountains and the beautiful landscape. I moved to Vermont from Iowa at the beginning of September, right after Irene had packed a mighty punch to the area with the intent to try something new. I had been in Iowa for all of my 23 years and I was ready for a change. And Vermont is certainly a change. The land is not flat and you can’t see 20 miles in every direction. The farms are organic, not factories producing only corn and soybeans, and people here still listen to Phish.

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its work with youth is founded in a strength-based, harmreduction philosophy, which I was immediately drawn to. Youth Services provides a range of programs from the Young Mom’s Support group, to Court Diversion, to a 24/7 crisis line for homeless youth, to case management for youth who are homeless or live in precarious situations. As Youth Services’ Peer Outreach Coordinator in both Brattleboro and Bellows Falls, my position is exactly as it sounds. I am in charge of the outreach for our communities. I run a free weekly meal for youth aged 16-22 at the Boys and Girls Club in Brattleboro; I help at our Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program and work with the Young Moms group in Bellows Falls; I manage our Peer Outreach Workers, who are youth who help facilitate events; and I do some other things too!

It’s an exciting place to be, and I’m surrounded by a Once I decided I wanted to move to Vermont, I had staff who really care about the youth they work with and their to decide what sort of work I could do communities. I hope that in my year of service here. As someone with a background in we can build stronger relationships between Jessica Southard non-profit work mostly with “at risk youth and the communities they live in. I’m AmeriCorps Member youth,” the Vermont Youth Develophappy to be here and happy that I get to serve Youth Services, Inc. ment Corps AmeriCorps State Program with such amazing youth at such a dedicated Brattleboro, VT seemed like a perfect fit. The site I was organization. most interested in was Youth Services;

My name is Mischa Tourin and I who have taken a pledge to stay above the Mischa Tourin have recently begun my year of service as influence and to come together as a positive AmeriCorps Member example for their peers. Recent activities have the Youth Program Coordinator at Essex Essex Chips CHIPs! I was drawn to Essex CHIPs with included “tag it,” where students created their Essex Junction, VT a desire to work toward building and beartistic versions of the ATI symbol and put ing part of a strong community. I wanted them up around the school and “be it” where to provide youth with fun and exciting experiences that we discussed what it means to be a brand and came up with would empower them to grow and make healthy choices. I our own personal slogans. Some highlights were “Smile if will be supporting a variety of student groups this year as You’re Happy,” “Getting’ it Done,” and “Be Your Own Influwell as helping out in the drop in teen center. Here are just ence.” some of the exciting programs I am and will be leading. Red Ribbon Week – A great success in the Essex CommuStomping Ground – A group of four high school youth nity! We brought together advisors from five local schools and whose task is to host as many as two substance free events a helped organize a variety of activities from picking up cigarette month. So far the group has held an open mic night with butts, baking brownies at the High School, hosting a coin war, local acts as well as a Halloween dance, with around 180 and encouraging students to dress up as superheroes at the students in attendance! They are looking forward to putting Middle Schools. Other upcoming events include: on a rap battle this month and Winterfest, the annual concert with local bands this December!  Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Above the Influence (ATI) – A group of about 10 Essex High School teens, actively engaged in their school’s sports teams

 Learn to Snowboard Camp  Adventure Orientation Program

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Last year, I loved watching the seasons change at the Willowell Foundation land, and I feel fortunate to be able to sign on for another year and take part in the cycle from harvest to planting to harvest again.

the school to the Hannah Mueller Walden garden at Willowell, compost AmeriCorps Member them, use the comThe Willowell Foundation Willowell hosts the Walden Project alternative out- post in the garden, Monkton, VT and send fresh and door public high school program on its land in Monkton. Walden students learn by interacting with the natural world healthy food back to the school. We’ve already held a trash audit and have become to build deeper understanding of the environment, their communities, and themselves. I get to be there for part of “Certified Compost Operators” with the Highfields Center for that journey with them. As a VYDC member, I also serve Composting. This month, we’ll hold a Local Foods Feast and ice cream fundraiser at the school, and in the spring, we want to as the Farm to School Coordinator for Willowell, and spend part of my time build! serving directly with the I’m also looking forward to seeing the seasons change Addison County Relo- at Monkton Central School. For the first time last year, thanks calization Network in part to a grant that I wrote, the school worked together to (ACORN) to promote plant a garden and care for it over the summer. We held family Farm to School progarden days with scavenger hunts and beet pizza. In October, gramming in Addison foodservice and teachers held a Harvest Meal that drew over 40 County. community members to the school for a lunch that featured pumpkins and carrots from the school’s garden. This year, I’ll continue working with a particular Walden student on a composting project at the high school. Her vision is to take food scraps from

Heather Simson AmeriCorps Member The Hub Bristol, VT As a native of Connecticut I came to Vermont for college. This August I graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a degree in Religious Studies and a minor in Art History. In college, I fell in love with Vermont and decided to stay to serve. I joined AmeriCorps for the opportunities that it gives me through the trainings as well as the education award. I am serving with the Vermont Youth Development Corps at the Bristol Hub Teen Center and Skate Park, which is a great opportunity to interact with teens.

The cafeteria was entirely covered with vegetablethemed art made by students, from the tablecloths to the posters declaring how many pounds of vegetables the school garden produced (210 pounds of squash!). It was a lot of fun to see the whole community come together to celebrate its efforts around what had been, in April, a big patch of weeds.

The Hub provides the youth a safe and substance free place to hang out. Along with allowing the kids to be supervised during after school hours, it also is a place to go during their free periods during school. The Hub provides youth with snacks and the opportunity to receive food and free music lessons on top of every-

thing else the Hub has to offer. I have many ideas for programs to offer that will help enrich the youths’ lives. One in particular I would like to do is start a girl group; this would give girls an opportunity to vent or talk about anything that is on their minds, including positive body image.

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Fall 2011 Edition

Much more inviting then it sounds

The rules are few (just be respectful)

Often we just call it the Basement

No drugs,

Underneath the City Hall

You do not need them,

The location is more accommodating

No weapons; why would you use them?

than it can seem

Ping pong baseball,

It is just in front of the police station

Video games, pool,

It’s not a big deal,

Cornhole is not a gross game at all!

We blast music when we feel like it, but

This space is as much as you make of it

Only after 5pm and not if the theater is open.

We have the tools to stoke your dreams

Want to write a song?

Get creative and we’ll grow the beans

We have myriad technology and plenty

There is a garden out front

Of guitars. You could even make a movie!

And we use it to make lunch

The Basement is the place

Dinner on Fridays, we do our best to make it tasty.

Where you can win the Amazing

We’re always open to critique

Race. We hold it each Summer, be sure to register.

A monthly youth council gives you a voice

The Basement Teen Center

Your fate is your choice

A lot can happen in such a small space There is always something to eat.

You make this place great

At first, intimidating

This is your space.

But you are safe, do not worry! When I first mentioned to my father I had received a position with the Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile, he immediately recounted a somewhat awkward tale of how he and his siblings would trudge on board a bookmobile that would visit the island in Canada on which he lived as a kid; he’d get on as quickly as possible, make no eye contact, return eight books, take out eight new ones, and run off the bus. Two months later, with ninety stops, seventy story times, and 500 children visited a month, my father’s experience seems to me to be quite singular, for I have yet to see one child who has not been utterly excited to be visited by the FGI Bookmobile. I will confess it now: I am both bookworm and bibliophile. I am therefore very much at home in a room (truck) of wall-to-wall books. Add to that, spending my mornings reading, singing, and lending books to kids, and I am thus quite completely content. To serve in this environment, to encourage youth to read and to have a love of

Karyn Norwood AmeriCorps Member Franklin Grand Isle Bookmobile Swanton, VT

Tyler Farry AmeriCorps Member The Basement Montpelier, VT

books, and to develop community connections through literature is why I decided to serve in the Vermont Youth Development Corps with the FGI Bookmobile. We serve a rural populace in the northwestern-most counties in Vermont; our patrons are mainly childcare providers and preschools, but we do also visit senior centers, community centers, and libraries. On a typical morning, we visit four to six sites, read and sing with children, then allow them to take books out to borrow. In the afternoons, I switch gears to teaching after school programs in Franklin County schools; topics vary from math games to origami. There are, these days, a fair bit of exciting things going on with the bookmobile (I’ll just share a few!). We’ve been participating in a smoke-free campaign to encourage smoke-free spaces for youth. We’ve also initiated theme months with relevant topics for our patrons; this month is the month of giving thanks. Next month: Winter! The first Bookmobile Kids’ Night Out was held in early November with great success. Volunteers and staff read stories to kids, and children made their own pizzas and played activities, while parents had a night off. The bookmobile just had its final Reading (continued of page 11)

Fall 2011 Edition

Marley Balasco AmeriCorps Member Operation: Military Kids Burlington, VT


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It’s really how you play the game figured the Vermont Youth Developthat counts. Success is not a “for sure” ment Corps team would be exceptionthing, but what is “sure” is that there is ally awesome, because youth work rea way to play the game which will give you a chance for success: aim yourself at your target, understand your role, take that responsibility seriously, stay focused and make an effort every day with your goal in mind. 

Within me lies this innate desire to motivate and inspire. I have this awesome inability to relate life to anything other than sports. That being said, I must confess that this particular article is barely In life, we have the chance to be going to hit the required talking points for on many different teams. Play hard for this newsletter, and shamefully wields each one. sports as a metaphor for life to further Be sure that your efforts have inspire the Vermont Youth Development the effect of making your teammates Corps team. and other teams better for your presI am not much of a basketball fan, ence. Making a habit of doing this will but I am American. Like most people, I increase the positive contribution you watch the March Madness tournament make to each team you join during every year. And, just this past year, I was your “playing career” known as life.
 reminded of the top reason why I am I am this classic, upbeat visionproud to be a college athlete. After every game, the teams are interviewed and asked ary who believes that, in order to for their comments about the game. With- achieve a higher understanding of all out exception, the coaches and players talk things, people must work together. People add value and meaning to life. about their teams. Being able to build people up to be the 

Staying the course, especially through best versions of themselves, well that’s adversity, is the key to most successful worth even more. And, essentially, efforts in life. Sport lets us see what can that’s what brought me here. The happen when the individual subjugates world does not seem to be so conhim or herself to the team’s goal over a cerned with the “playing the game” relatively short time span called a component anymore. AmeriCorps “season.” Teams that have success over a members though, for the most part, period of years are an even better example represent a group of people who have for us to learn what leads to a pleasing, not lost sight of this. I wanted to sursuccessful life. A team does not need to round myself with good people, teamwin the “national title” to be a success. mates with moral fiber. Furthermore, I Karyn Norwood (FGIB) Continued from page 10

Is Fundamental Month where kids had an opportunity to select a book to keep; unfortunately, the government has cut funding for this important program, but we hope funding will be reinstated soon! I am looking forward immensely to inspiring a love of reading in the youth I visit, to providing creative and educational after school programs, to strengthening access to the bookmobile, and bringing the local community together around literature!

quires much patience. 

 I serve with Operation: Military Kids which provides educational programs that provides military youth with the opportunity to work through the deployment cycle together. And my team members serve in other forms. But really, we’re all working toward one goal: to increase number and quality of assets that will allow youth to engage in healthy behavior. The previous VYDC program was able to further the efforts made by previous years, as we will further theirs, and the group following us will further ours. As an individual, I hope to facilitate quality activities where youth can learn skills that will carry them through challenging stages of their lives. If I commit myself fully, and trust that my teammates will do the same, then this will allow the VYDC team to be the best blessing we could possibly be in just a year’s time. 

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VYDC 2010-2011 Team At-a-Glance Accomplishments:

“The 2010-2011 VYDC Team was tremendously successful. The program exceeded all of its performance measures.� Together, VYDC members during the 2010-2011 service year: The 2010-2011 VYDC Team was tremendously successful. The program exceeded all of its performance measures; the outputs showed the creativity and effort of members, and the outcomes showed the dedication, flexibility, and perseverance of the members. All but two of the 31 alums are either employed, in school, or reenrolled in service. Four members were hired by their sites, and one was hired by City Year. Some of the highlights of the 2010-2011 year included the following: -Youth Served: Members created and implemented high-quality programs and activities that served more than 6,865 (unduplicated count), including 210 youth whose parents serve in the military. -Youth Programs: Member planned an implemented 88 Civic Engagement discussions, 271 Healthy Future programs and activities; 134 School and Workplace Readiness programs and activities; 81 community service projects; and 388 other youth activities. -Impact on Youth: Youth engaged in the following programs showed increases in skills and knowledge, as well as showed positive changes in attitude and behavior. Programs and Activities

Increase in skills and knowledge

Positive Change in Attitude or Behavior

Civic Engagement Discussions



Community Service Projects



Healthy Futures Programs (nutrition, physical activity, agriculture and environment, substance abuse prevention, abuse prevention, healthy development) School and Workplace Readiness Programs (academic help, job skills, college preparation, and communication)





-Community Volunteers: Members and recruited and managed 764 community volunteers who gave more than 5,005 hours to youth serving organizations. -Member Development: 100% of members reported gaining knowledge and skills through service; 100% plan to stay active in their communities after service. -Capacity Building: Members raised more than $91,850 in non-federal grants, cash and in-kind donations, and fundraising events; developed partnerships with 296 community stakeholders; created and disseminated 197 public relations tools (flyers, posters, websites, social media); and provided 47 opportunities for community members to give feedback.

Vermont Youth Development Corps Program

P.O. Box 627 / 38 Elm Street Montpelier, VT 05601-0627 Phone: 802-229-9151 Fax: 802-229-2508 Contact us: Program Director: M. Kadie Schaeffer Assistant Directors: Meghan Jaird Luong Huynh Member Support Coordinator: Lauren Pyatt

The opinions expressed in the newsletter articles belong to the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the site where the AmeriCorps State member serves, Vermont Youth Development Corps, the Washington County Youth Service Bureau, the Boys and Girls Club, SerVermont, or The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

Left: AmeriCorps members Johnny Powell and Mischa Tourin share a high-ten during a monthly professional development training.

VYDC Fall 2012 Newsletter  

Vermont Youth Development Corps (VYDC) members introduce themselves and share their initial service experiences in the AmeriCorps State prog...

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