VERMONT YOUTH TOMORROW INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Tina Weikert, His Legacy Belongs to the Children …………..2 Jackie LeBlanc and Ashley Pelletier, I have a Dream ...for Montpelier …………….3 Meagan Olivos, Paint the Diversity …..4 Orion Lazo, A Community Comes Together ………………5 Lindsey Lathrop, Serving with a Purpose ….. 6 Peter Luby, Martin Luther King Day Project……..……...…...7 Welcome New VYT A*VISTA Members…...8 Matthew Nicholson, ACT for Civil Rights ....8 Ben Fox, Successful Food Drive …………….9 Curtis Moeller, Change of Plans ………………..10
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AmeriCorps members serve on the federal holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 21st 2008
Cara Butterly, 4th Graders Listen to Dr. King’s Message ……………….10 Priscilla Moore, Time to Reflect ………………...11 Hannah McIntyre, A Day On ……………..12 Katy Perry, Bonding Over Service …………13 Amanda White, Time Well Served ………….13 Megan Johnston, Celebrating the Life ……...14 Vermont Youth Tomorrow Program Update ………………..15
The Vermont Youth Tomorrow A*VISTA Program (VYT) places members at Community-Based Organizations that promote or actively engage youth in high quality mentoring, after-school, and employment skill building programs, as well as organizations that support young offenders reentering the community.
His Legacy Belongs to the Children Tina Weikert
Tina Weikert VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at the Collaborative South Londonderry, VT
decorate their homes. A group discussion broke down how diversity means accepting and celebrating differences and the children shared what it meant to them. Answers ranged from “all skin color is beautiful” to “it doesn’t matter if you have glasses or not.” Through our discussions, the children were able to relate to MLK, Jr. on their level and figure out how to implement his beliefs into their lives. Kerri led a game called “Crossing the Line” and had made a multicultural C.D. for the activity. It helped develop acceptance as students demonstrated their inspired dancing skills. Lexi baked cupcakes for all the kids iced with words like “dream” and “MLK, Jr.” She also led a reading activity involving the book, “Rainbow Fish.” After the reading, children worked to complete a group mural full of individuality. During the afternoon we also made diversity puppets with a poem attached as a take home reminder of the day.
I suppose my Martin Luther King, Jr. event started out the same as anyone else’s did. I arrived at my site with one hour of sleep under my belt, having come directly from the hospital with blood shoot eyes, red from the raw emotions that come out when you help your best friend through labor. The story begins the previous day when all my closest friends convened here in Vermont from far and wide to celebrate a birthday. One friend, weeks pregnant, came from Rhode Island. The next morning she went into labor and had her baby, in Vermont! It was a beautiful and blessed event ending in an exuberant welcome of Macey Elizabeth Crosby into the world, an event that had everything to do with the meaning behind my “As role models, we can’t rest on Martin Luther King, Jr. our laurels smug in all our celebration. With my bleary eyes, diversity” I joined AmeriCorps* State members Kerri and Lexi in welcomAll in all, I know those kids left ing our happy little group of kids with a deeper understanding, if not of who had come for the day. They Martin Luther King, Jr., then of his ranged in age from 5-11 and were legacy. I also know that whether you prepared with lunches in hand. Our or I feel we are peaceful and acceptfirst activity involved balloons and ing, it is not enough. As role models, many thought that was too cool! we can’t rest on our laurels smug in We opened with a balloon game on all our diversity. It’s the children I diversity. We read stories on divertaught today who will be responsible sity, peace, and Martin Luther King, for openness in the modern world and Jr. and colored in peace signs to (Continued on Page 3)
yet, one lesson is not enough. We must be examples of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy so that today’s children will see what we do as meaningful and continue carrying the torch. I never knew MLK, Jr.’s children, but I believe in his dream because the children I do know, the Maceys of the world, deserve to see his dream ultimately fulfilled. I held her in that hospital room with her vivid blue eyes and her shock of black hair and I could see no other way.
Jackie LeBlanc and Ashley Pelletier A*VISTA Members serving with enVision Montpelier volunteered at a youth daycamp for Martin Luther King Day. Below are some of the responses the kids gave for their dream for Montpelier’s future.
Responses to “I have a dream…for Montpelier” Max, 1st grade: “That there will be more water.” Lucas, 2nd grade: “I want more places to skate.” Quinn, 5th grade: “I dream for the world to be more antiglobal warmito have no cars no smoking, and to have clean ng, water.” Zack, 3rd grade: (changed “Montpelier” to “the World”) “Stop the war.” Eleanor, 1st grade: “That people do not throw trash in to tha strem.” Louisa: (changed “Montpelier” to “the World”) “People would stop using so much energy.” Zoe, 2nd grade: “Nobody to starve and lose their home.”
Addie, 4th grade: “That no one would go without food.” Naomi, 1st grade: “Peace on the Earth.” Liam, 1st grade: “Peace on the Earth.” Carson, Kindergarten: “Peace on a Earth.” Emily, 2nd grade: “I wish the world would live in peace.” Shawn, 2nd grade: “I wish there was no war and no judges.” Emily, 2nd grade: “For everybody to have enough food.” Ashden: “That kids have fun sliding hills to slide on.” (Continued on Page 4)
Casey, 5th grade: “I don’t want any smoking in the state.” Riley, 3rd grade: “I want more trees in the world.” Galen, Kindergarten: (scribed by Ashley) “Clean air/ me and mom watching the clouds.” Jesse, 1st grade: “I want a better playground.” Derek, 1st grade: “For people to not litter.” Forest: “Everyone helping each other.” Ashley: “Bike friendly streets.” Jackie: “I want more gardens to grow food for the community.”
Some of the artwork that the kids made to accompany their dreams for Montpelier
Maegan Olivos VYT A*VISTA Member serving at Service Politics Institute Burlington, VT Paint the Diversity Maegan Olivos
Volunteers help to paint a mural at Addison Central Teen Center in Middlebury, VT
On Saturday January 19, 2008, the Service Politics Institute (SPI) teamed up with community volunteers and local legislators to paint a wall mural at the Addison Central Teen Center (ACT) in Middlebury. As part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend of service, the mural was sponsored by Middlebury College's
Alliance for Civic Engagement and Office for Institutional Diversity and was incorporated into Middlebury College’s 10th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The Service Politics Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to bridging the gap between community service and civic engagement, particularly among young people. Service Politics (Continued on page 5)
projects empower participants by connecting nonprofits, community volunteers, and local legislators through service, thus facilitating a healthy dialogue among the three groups. This connection establishes new relationships, updates citizens about legislative policy, and informs elected officials about the grassroots concerns of their constituents.
volunteers mutually agreed that there needs to be more support for Vermont’s 18,165 school-age children that go unsupervised when the school day ends. There was agreement that Teen Centers are definitely a start, but there is still a long way to go.
State Senator Claire Ayer along with State Representatives Betty Nuovo, Steven Maier, and David Sharpe joined 62 community volunteers in Saturday’s mural project. After several hours of painting, the participants engaged in an open discussion on the issues facing teens in Addison County.
Painting fun at Addison Central Teen Center on Martin Luther King Jr. service project
“It would be great if those too young to drive had a way to get from Bridport to the Teen Center in Middlebury," commented one of the teens during the conversation. The demand for a local skateboard park was among the other issues brought up by the teens. Despite the divergent discussion topics, both legislators and
Volunteers helped clean King Street Youth Center on Martin Luther King Day January 21, 2008 Orion Lazo A*VISTA Member serving at King Street Youth Center Burlington, VT
Martin Luther King Day: A Community Comes Together Orion Lazo This year’s Martin Luther King Day was surely a day on, and not a day off for the city of Burlington. I had the luck of being part of the city’s largest community service project, an event that placed over 250 volunteers at over 20 different projects, directly benefiting local non-profits and the city itself. The Community and Economic Development Office AmeriCorps* VISTA Program (CEDO) in Burlington granted me a place on their service project committee. Charged with the task of creating all of the project opportunities for volunteers. Our group was just one of multiple committees with the uniting goal of making this event happen.
After over a month of meetings, preparations, trials, and tribulations, the volunteers poured into the Contois Auditorium, and heard the words of the speakers brought in to relate Dr. King’s legacy of public service to the chance we all had to volunteer that day for a worthy cause. Subsequent to the speakers stimulating speech, the volunteers voraciously vowed to be a vehicle of service at one of the many projects we had arranged. I led a group of over 20 mothers, fathers, children, and highschoolers two blocks down to the King Street Youth Center to engage in a cleaning project. We are quite busy here at King St, and so the kitchen and play rooms can get really messy. I have never seen a group of strangers have such a good time cleaning up after chil (Continued on Page 6)
dren, maintaining a positive attitude throughout. I put on some music and distributed rags and disinfectant and we all went to town on every nook and cranny in that kitchen and art room. The place had never looked so clean, and when the staff arrived the next day after their holiday they had a less cluttered and sparkling clean establishment to work in. We even got to know each other a little during the cleaning and stayed for a while after every-
thing was spic and span for a cup of coffee. After we were done we all marched back to the Contois Auditorium to enjoy our hard earned delicious dinner of flatbread, lasagna, and salad, then we got down to some music. Regardless of how helpful or important the service projects were, the day was a great success in that many people
gathered willingly to perform an altruistic act for people and organizations they may have never met. We even got a good amount of press coverage, and the project at King Street was mentioned alongside many of the other projects in the Burlington Free Press. A good time was had by all, and knowing that we actually did honor the spirit of Dr. King made all the time spent at coordinator meetings, contacting organizations, and getting supplies really worthwhile.
guidance, and someone to listen. I remember last May, sitting around with the rest of my MBA class, talking about our plans for the future. By then many of them had secured jobs at IBM or GE…and then there was me…wanting “I am taking Dr. King’s message to join AmeriCorps. and applying it to my own lifeTheir sarcastic responses didn’t surprise waking up every morning with the As we all know, Dr. King me. I knew that the affirmation that what I’m doing is believed that each individuals, hold typically business the power to lift themselves up refor a purpose.” graduate didn’t spend gardless of their situation. He knew thousands of dollars to that communities needed to be go volunteer. But I also strengthened in order to support their citizens and to felt a deep need to learn more about the issues that I lay the foundation that would assist those that needed didn’t have the “time” to think about before. I knew it the most. Dr. King also recognized the true impact that if I didn’t take this particular moment to get off that service to the community had on breaking down my butt, take a look around, and actually do somebarriers (whether racial, economic, status, etc.), that thing, then I would probably turn a blind eye for the would have otherwise remained. It is my belief that rest of my life. So, right now I am taking Dr. King’s today’s youth need to have this engrained in them at a message and applying it to my own life - waking up young age because as soon as they see the effect of every morning with the affirmation that what I’m dohelping even a single person, they will want to coning is for a purpose. I mean, sure, I do see my gradutinue to do it throughout their lives. As my service ate friends splurging in the finer things in life and yes, continues, I also see the impact that my organization’s I would love to have these things too…but the bottom work does for Vermont’s youth…refugees, new immiline for me is that all of those things are just things. grants, those with low income, or even those that just They don’t make a difference to the community that I need a little motivation. And the one thing all of these (Continued on page 7) kids have in common? They all need some support,
Serving With A Purpose Lindsey Lathrop A*VISTA Member Serving at Linking Learning to Life Burlington, VT
live in and at the end of the day, they don’t give me the satisfaction that serving does. This is why I think that the MLK Day is so important and as AmeriCorps members, I believe it’s our duty to set an example and spread the word about the needs of our communities and what the everyday “Joe” can do about them, even if we can reach them for the day. In preparation for MLK Day, I have been assisting the CEDO Outreach Committee Team by writing a “Save the Date” press release as well as advertising in local schools. I have contacted several schools to include the event in their newsletters, daily announcements, and PA announcements. I felt it was important to reach out specifically to middle and high school students because as I said before, this is the age to get them involved.
Peter Luby VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at InSight Photography Brattleboro, VT
Martin Luther King Day Project By Peter Luby
inspiring and frightening and stupefying in the community, as it always has and always will.
As part of AmeriCorps National Day of Service, a fellow VISTA and I stationed ourselves in downtown Brattleboro to conduct an oral history of the town honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community members were invited to reflect on Dr. King and his legacy or to share their own stories of struggle for equality and justice.
Our project encouraged Brattleboro to join in celebrating our country’s legacy of peacemaking and activism by recognizing the living, thriving spirit of Dr. King in our community.
In preparation for the project, we made posters of several of King’s most inspiring quotes, in order to evoke reactions from our interview subjects. We set up audio recording devices, hoping to capture the town’s experiences of injustice and working for change. We discovered Dr. King’s spirit in many corners of Brattleboro; in student demonstrators and in the GLBT community. Echoes of Montgomery sounded in the stories of citizens who had been the victims of unjust arrests or police brutality. The key question of the Civil Rights Movement –how can I make a difference in an enormous and indifferent world? - goes on
Welcome new VYT AmeriCorps* VISTA Members! Lindsay Arbuckle, serving at VT Youth Conservation Corps in Richmond, Vermont. Katherine Buell, serving at VT Youth Conservation Corps in Richmond, Vermont. Scott Courcelle, serving at Montpelier Parks and Conservation in Montpelier, Vermont. Amy Niemczura, serving at UVM Extension Youth Horticulture Project in Brattleboro, Vermont. Holley Schmidlapp, serving at Willowell Foundation in Bristol, Vermont Sarah Schummer, serving at River Arts in Morrisville, Vermont
ACT for Civil Rights Matthew Nicholson I was listening to the events being planned and organized by other AmeriCorps VISTA members in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the effort being put into their coordination was impressive: food and clothing drives, mural paintings,
Matthew Nicholson VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps Richmond, VT VYTALLS
community wide awareness and invitations. The events were so relevant and impactful… and, at first, discouraging. “On Monday,” I thought, “I will be at some sort of workshop on the ADA - what is that anyway, the American Dental Association?” I knew that some of the blind or visually impaired youth who had been through the LEAP program in 2007 would be there, the program for which I am in service; and I knew that we were all going bowling afterwards. Through VYCC and its partnerships the LEAP program aims to provide youth who are blind or visually impaired with the skills needed to become independent, (Continued on page 9)
confident, and productive young adults. Part of their success lies in the ability of the youth to advocate for what they need to be productive in a work or learning environment and assert their rights to reasonable accommodation, when necessary; when, for example, the individual is limited or marginalized due to what I consider a disability of the employer or faculty member. So it turns out that the workshop was not about whitening teeth, it was about equal access to jobs and public services, promotion and training; it was about representation and relieving the threat of discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, facilities, transportation, Successful Food Drive Ben Fox
and much, much more. It was about civil rights within the Americans with Disabilities Act. The youth who I met are courageous, and seem accepting of their impairment that for some is not their only difficulty. It is quite easy, perhaps even instinctive, to assume it necessary to treat an individual with a disability as an individual with a disability. The term ‘at-risk’ is used frequently within the VISTA culture; yet after this experience I feel that I am at risk, as they have a high level of character that a person such as myself can not hope to attain.
Ben Fox VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Cityscape Barre, VT
AmeriCorps Member, Chris Nytch, serving with the Vermont Community Stewardship Program helped Ben Fox collect food donations at Shaw’s in Montpelier, VT
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream, that African-Americans would one day be free of oppression and racial segregation and that they (and other peoples of color) would be treated with the dignity and respect that all human beings deserve. This dream has not yet been realized, even in the year 2008. In support of Dr King’s dream, on January 21, 2008, AmeriCorps* VISTA members serving in Vermont planned and participated in a service-learning projects to honor his legacy. I’ve heard through the grapevine that all the projects from the day went very well, silkysmooth. I’m glad that everything was so successful. The one thing that I know from the day first-hand was that our food drive was just as successful. We pulled in mass amounts of canned goods and other non-perishable food items (along with a couple packages of Huggies and some gourmet food items). Most of the people coming into the store (Shaw’s in Montpelier) were more than willing to help us out and donate an extra item or two (or three or many more than that). I’d like to take this time and thank them now: thank you people! You’re the real heroes. We raked in boxes upon boxes of food from very generous individuals. I heard that the total weight was more than 700 pounds, but I didn’t weigh it so please don’t quote me on that. I heard a lot of positive feedback from those who donated, most said they support the cause and that other organizations should do more activities that support the community. Some people told me that they were glad to be able to help out in this small way, and it was easy to purchase an extra product and just drop it off on the way out of the store. The day of service (a day on, not a day off) is a great idea and I’m glad I was a part of it. MLK Day is meant to not only be a day of reflection on the life and legacy of one of the greatest leaders in world history, but also as a day when the average citizen should pitch in and, in some small way or another, make a contribution. It’s great that we were able to provide that service, not only for ourselves but for the general public as well.
Curtis Moeller VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Lakes Region Youth Orchestra Rutland, VT
Change of Plans Curtis Moeller We had a great project all planned: we would have high school students volunteering to read picture-books with the subject of prejudice to young children followed by arts and crafts that correlated to the afore-mentioned books! But, as they say about the best laid plans… A fellow AmeriCorps member had to step down from service before we finalized the project, so it was on to Plan B. (I knew I should have come up with a Plan B!) Eventually, I decided to perform a piano program for three to four nursing homes in the Rutland region. However, because of the short turn-around time, I will not be able to do my first performance until January 24. (Who knew that some nursing homes set their schedules months in advance?!?) And yet, there was something else in my planner which I think fit in with “A Day of Service.” That evening, I met with ten other people to rehearse a play. While we do enjoy the time together, none of us were compensated for our time. Over the course of the production, each of us will spend some 10-20 hours a week for 6 consecutive weeks working to create a piece of entertainment that is locally and cheaply available for anyone who wishes to attend. Besides the value of attending live entertainment, this particular performance is also educational. Our production is The Laramie Project. This play is drawn from interviews and records taken after the brutal killing of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming of 1998. The event made national headlines because Matthew was gay. It brought into light our nation’s varied attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality all across the country. It brought out compassion and hatred, indifference and activism. While these events transpired ten years ago, the message is no less relevant today. Inequality and injustice still exists for homosexuals, and for many other groups of people. It exists at home within us, and abroad – in our friends, families, and neighbors. I would urge you all to take part in confronting it, through the implementation of change. For it is only through our society’s change of heart, of mind, and of actions, that Dr. King’s vision will be realized.
Fourth Graders Listen to Dr. King’s Message Cara Butterly Last year I worked with a group of other VISTAs to put on a film festival with the theme of civil rights and social justice. It was quite a large project, lots of coordinating and meetings, and turned out to be a great event. This year I decided on a project that was more direct. I teamed up with my sister’s 4th grade class to teach them a small part of who Martin Luther King, Jr. was. Serving at an organization that does not offer programs to 4th graders, I was a little leery as to what a 4th grader actually looked Cara Butterly like. My questions were answered and all wonder cast aside in VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Vermont Youth Conservation Corps the first thirty seconds of meeting them. Returning from recess they were a flurry of boots, hats, mittens and chatter – astounded Richmond, VT (Continued on page 11)
by the fact they were meeting a member of their teacher’s family. Settling into their seats I introduced myself and explained why I was there. I gave out some background information on Martin Luther King, Jr. and asked some general questions to gauge their knowledge. I was surprised to find out that the students knew quite a bit and were eager to share what they knew. The activity for the students was one of personal reflection. Each student was given a piece of drawing paper and a note-card with an excerpt from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on it. On the drawing paper the students were to tape their notecard and draw or write one way in which they are similar to their classmates and one way in which they are unique from their classmates. Markers, crayons, and pencils went to work and soon all twenty-one of them had a representation of their similarities and differences.
recording of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous speech. As the speech played when each student heard the excerpt written on their note-card they held up their poster for the rest of us to see. Although sixteen minutes and fourteen seconds is a long time for a tenyear-old to focus, the group listened attentively for their excerpt to be played. Afterward, they all thanked me for joining them as I collected their posters to be put up on display. Although I’m sure they didn’t grasp the full magnitude of the speech, they heard it, and especially paid attention to a small part of it. As I was leaving I was introduced to the school’s principal who asked me to return next year and, maybe, visit more classes to talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. Before I knew it I was committing to a service project months after my VISTA service will end. Despite my initial thoughts, it turned out to be a bigger project than I originally intended!
I gathered them all in a circle and we listened to a
Time to Reflect Priscilla Moore The “Day of Service” on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an important part of the AmeriCorps* VISTA year of service. While planning the food drive in Montpelier, I had plenty of time to think. I thought of the people who are forced to use cardboard boxes or bridges as shelter, especially when the weather is below zero. I realized I had fallen out of the habit of putting a can or two of food in the Food Pantry box during my weekly grocery shopping. I wondered why there is no homeless shelter in Montpelier. Priscilla Moore VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Kellogg-Hubbard Library Montpelier, VT
A Day On by: Hannah McIntyre ‘Twas a day made to honor Doctor Martin Luther King a day off of work to most people it did bring. But for those who are called VISTA, this was not the case, a day on, a day of service, is what we did face. As my roommates lay sleeping all snug in their beds, the sound of the alarm clock rang through my head. With a terrible groan, I got myself up, and went to the kitchen to get tea for my cup. Back to my room, with a sigh and a yawn, blue jeans, t-shirt and my AmeriCorps sweatshirt I donned. Glancing at the clock, I realized I was late, Plucked up my courage and accepted my fate. Away in my car I flew like a flash, Down to Contois on Church Street I made a mad dash.
After the work was finished and done, back to Contois we returned for the fun. Dinner was served and met with delight, and we sat down to enjoy the entertainment that night. Rick Polari sang songs and gathered people in, while fellow VISTA, Lajiri, spoke about the color of skin. A struggle we still face, to see one another as all together sisters and brothers. As I looked around at the people gathered there, I thought about how people really did care. Not everyone had a day off as it seemed, this was what Martin Luther King Jr. had dreamed. A day on, a day of service, is the thing that was right, we were all there to fight the good fight. And as Jay Kalu danced and played on their drums, you could hear us all say, Go AmeriCorps we got this stuff done.
Then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a room full of grey all there to volunteer. There we all stood wondering what we should do, when the VISTA leaders came into view. Now Kecia, now Sarah, now Megan and Elana Go Debby, go Ryan, go Emily and Hannah. Let’s get those signs up, let’s get on the ball, Now dash away, dash away, dash away all. Like snow in a blizzard, we swept ‘round the room, and the start of the event largely did loom. Just as our patience was starting to wear thin, the emcee took the podium, we were about to begin. The speak out was first and the panelists were seated, while the guests in the audience warmly were greeted. The discussion was lively and thoughtful questions were asked, and once they were done, we set to our tasks. Around the community, folks gathered to serve, and attacked the projects with much vigor and verve. There was organizing done and new coats of paint, cleaning and hammering without complaint. My job was to travel to sites during the day, the work, with my camera, I hoped to convey.
Hannah McIntyre VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Community Friends Mentoring Burlington, VT
Katy Perry VYT A*VISTA Member Serving at Mobious, The Mentoring Movement Burlington, VT
A group of volunteers paint the VNA Family Room for MLK Day
Bonding Over Service Katy Perry This Martin Luther King Day was really a wonderful time for me. I joined the team of Community and Economic Development Office AmeriCorps* VISTA (CEDO) members in Burlington for the day and participated in everything from set up to take down. Specifically I was on the Community Service Team. Our group of VISTA members were in charge of finding, organizing, and carrying out enough service projects around Burlington for 250 volunteers! We started the planning for this over a month before this day, and I have to say it was definitely a great feeling to see each service opportunity fill up with willing volunteers on the MLK day. I personally led a group of nine volunteers to the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) Family Room. This is a space that is used by children under five to go for daycare. The space is also used by VNA staff to put on various community classes,
Time Well Served Amanda White
one of them being a fatherhood class. Our task that day was to paint the room. The group of us, along with a couple staff members managed to paint two coats on the entire room. It was a lot of fun- the whole day we all talked and really bonded over community service. It really illustrated what being an Americorps member is all about, but on an even wider level. I felt like all the volunteers for the projects were there for the same reason we all are serving as Americorps Volunteers- to create stronger communities and work towards total equality on all fronts. By the end of the day I had made some new friends and really had been energized by Burlington community members who came together for a day on, not a day off.
Amanda White VYT A*VISTA Leader Serving in Montpelier, VT
For AmeriCorps Members, Martin Luther King Day is a day of service as opposed to a day sleeping in and lounging around the house. As an AmeriCorps* VISTA member I was thrilled! You see, as a VISTA I don’t have many opportunities to work directly with the community, my service usually places me in front of a computer. Several months before the date I called a brainstorming meeting for AmeriCorps members serving in the central region of Vermont. I had a great turnout and we came up with lots of ambitious ideas. Over the weeks that followed we finally narrowed our event down to a food drive and planning activities for a youth day camp.
When the day arrived we all gathered at Bethany Church in Montpelier where we met 25 excited kids from different area schools. We all sat in a big circle and introduced ourselves then participated in a Martin Luther King Day activity presented by Paul Erlbaum who was recruited to volunteer his time by a Vermont Youth Development Corps (VYDC) AmeriCorps Member. After that the day was off and running. Because the kids at the camp were from grades K-4 they needed to move quickly from activity to activity to keep up with their attention span. The AmeriCorps Members facilitated several projects with the kids; decorating quilt squares and making “I Have a Dream”mobiles to be donated to the Central Vermont Medical Center, creating favorite food pictures to be “donated” to a giant food basket poster for the VT Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, and drawing their dreams for Montpelier in the future. The kids had a great time and learned about Martin Luther King’s legacy. (Continued on Page 14)
VYT A*VISTA Member Jackie LeBlanc helped make soup at the youth day camp for Martin Luther King Day Kids share the artwork they made for VT Campaign to End Childhood Hunger
The other AmeriCorps Members participating that day headed down the street the Montpelier Shaw’s to collect food donations for Montpelier’s Food Pantry. On my lunch break I took a walk to visit them and see how the drive was going. To my surprise two VISTA Members had been driving box after box of food donations to the Kellogg-Hubard Library for storage all morning! I was there for 40 minutes and three boxes were filled, I was
so inspired by the generosity. The day was a great success and well worth time it took to coordinate everything. I was really proud of enthusiasm the AmeriCorps Members had for serving that day. I hope that next year they’ll think again about volunteering or creating a service opportunity in the community they’re in.
VYDC A*State Member Joanna Dillon helps the kids decide what their favorite food is for an art project on Martin Luther King Day
Megan Johnston VYT A*VISTA Member Serving with Linking Learning to Life Burlington, VT Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Through Service Megan Johnston On January 21st, I joined fellow AmeriCorps VISTAs and nearly 200 Burlington community members for the CEDO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Celebration to celebrate and remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On the day of this event community members were given the opportunity to choose from a variety of service projects to take part in at non-profit organizations throughout the Burlington area. My main role on this day was to help coordinate and facilitate service projects for community members to participate in. I co-led a service project at ReCycle North, where I worked with 14 volunteers to remove old carpet in the administrative office and also to remove nails from lumber at the Building Materials Center. (Continued on page 15)
Throughout the day I thought about service, and the importance of giving back to the community. During the service project at ReCycle North, I looked at the volunteers around me, all of who came out that day to take action and try to make a difference in some way. I felt proud and happy to live in a place where there is a strong sense of community, and where people have the desire to serve others and make change happen.
Dr. King exemplified what it means to live a life of service. He demonstrated that acts of service, kindness, and compassion make an incredible impact, and that one personâ€™s actions can create positive change in the world. Participating in the CEDO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events gave us all the opportunity to reflect on the immense impact Dr. King made, and the importance of promoting service and activism in our communities.
o T h t u o Y t e n t o a m d p U Ver m a r g o Pr
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Since July 1, 2007 VYT A*VISTA members have accomplished the following: Raised more than $105,841.50 in cash donations and grants Procured more than $16,415.32 in in-kind donations Managed 353 community members to serve as volunteers and mentors who gave 6,239 hours of their time Planned and implemented 27 Recognition events for volunteers
21 members created or implemented PR plans, and produced more than 250 PR documents Made 29 community presentation, to more than 1,120 people Collaborated with more than 130 community organizations and stakeholders
Developed or enhanced 36 youth program curricula or service projects that involved 370 youth
Vermont Youth Tomorrow A*VISTA Program Director - M. Kadie Schaeffer Assistant Director - Nicholas Nicolet Team Leader - Amanda White Email: VYT.VYDC@gmail.com Phone: 802.229.9151
Vermont Youth Tomorrow A*VISTA Program Washington County Youth Service Bureau/Boys & Girls Club P.O. Box 627 / 38 Elm Street Montpelier, VT 05601-0627