Tag Archives: News & Events

Work as a CCE AmeriCorps*VISTA member – 2 positions soon to be posted!

Interested in staying in Addison County after graduation? Join our team!

The Center for Community Engagement will be supporting 2 AmeriCorps*VISTA members for the 2017/2018 year:

Do you love working with and for kids? Are you committed to providing meaningful opportunities for mentorship? Interested in social justice work at the youth development level? Come join the Center for Community Engagement as a Vermont Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA member to work as our Mentoring & Youth Programs Coordinator. Gain experience, work in Addison County, and hone your understanding of work that supports positive outcomes for local youth. Current Middlebury seniors: apply for this 1-year position on MOJO (link coming soon!).

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Middlebury seniors: please apply on MOJO by 5/17.

We also welcome external candidates. If you are not a current student and would like to apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references to Megan Brakeley.

 

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The SerVermont AmeriCorps VISTA member will work as our Poverty Initiatives Coordinator. Join CCE to weave together co-curricular poverty-related programs and mobilize students to help alleviate poverty in our local community. Work to build Middlebury College’s Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster, combining curricular & co-curricular opportunities with community partners to address issues of poverty. Current Middlebury seniors: apply for the Poverty Initiatives Coordinator Position on MOJO (position will be posted on MOJO by 3/17).

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Middlebury seniors: please apply on MOJO by 5/17.

We also welcome external candidates. If you are not a current student and would like to apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for two references to Tiffany Sargent.

March is National Nutrition Month

Since 1973, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics has celebrated nutrition every March, encouraging Americans to learn more about the food they put in their bodies and to develop healthy eating habits through the National Nutrition Month campaign.

“Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” is this year’s National Nutrition Month theme. “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” promotes mindful eating behaviors that strike a balance between nutrition and pleasure. After all, eating is just as much about nourishing our bodies as it is about enjoying food traditions, social interaction, and flavors.

Although it’s still winter here in Vermont, there are plenty of nutritious and flavorful local foods available through cold storage and other methods. Think: root veggies, winter squash, carrots, and cabbage. However, many residents of Addison County struggle to gain access to fresh, healthy foods. Organizations like HOPE, the Vermont Foodbank, and others work to expand access through food shelf services and initiatives such as Gleaning, VeggieVanGo, and more.

Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM), a student organization on campus engages and educates local children and families around issues of nutrition, working towards the mission of National Nutrition Month year-round.

Chelsea Colby, president of NOM, describes National Nutrition Month as “encouraging people to return to the basics of healthy eating. We are asked to recognize that there is no one right way to eat but that it is important to incorporate an array of healthy foods,” Colby says.

NOM introduces children and young adults to new fruits and vegetables they may never have tasted before and sends them home with print-out recipes.

“Even if they don’t like it the first time we know that children are more likely to try a food again if they are already familiar with it. So, every exposure counts,” Colby says.

Going further than exposure to new foods, NOM also teaches young people about different ways to consume healthy foods. Whether challenges arise to eating healthy foods due to cost impediments, lack of variety in preparation, or even picky eating habits, NOM works with young people to find ways to overcome these barriers and to connect students with helpful information and services in Addison County.

This semester NOM hopes to attend the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Action Conference in May and continue their local programming and outreach in schools and beyond.

Interested in attending the Vermont Foodbank’s Hunger Conference? Want to learn more about NOM and the chance to join the organization as a volunteer?

Visit go/nom, or email Chelsea Colby, ccolby@middlebury.edu.

 

~Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern

What Happens When 50+ MiddKids Go on MAlt Trips

This past February break, six groups of Middlebury students escaped the wintry Vermont weather, traveling as many as 3,000 miles to six respective locations around the globe. Middlebury Alternative Break Trips, affectionately referred to as MAlt trips, are service-oriented experiential-learning trips. This year the 50+ MAlt participants traveled to Guatemala, Washington DC, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Miami, and New York City, and addressed issues ranging from permaculture to privilege and poverty in vastly diverse local communities.

“The trip was eye-opening and life-changing […] I intend to try to lead a MAlt trip myself, motivated by how powerful and influential and rewarding this trip has been,” one MAlt Washington DC participant said.

Returning to campus, many students remarked that their MAlt trip has left an enduring mark on them.

Another student who participated in the Building Communities trip in Guatemala, working with Constru Casa and Tecnologia Para Salud (TPS), noted that “[…] it was more than I ever imagined and will have lasting impact on me. It taught me the power of active learning. Moreover, it taught me that it is not enough to be ‘book smart’.”

As students reflected on their rich experiences and personal growth, they also explored the ethics of service and development work. What role does service play in a community? How can we responsibly contribute to a community that is not our own? What is sustainable service and development? How can we unpack our own privilege in relation to certain communities based on identities of race, class, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, and so on? How can we best learn from each other?

Read on: MAlt participants will answer these questions, explain the ins and outs of travel in-country and abroad, talk small group dynamics and new friendships, and tell of the challenges and lasting benefits of volunteerism and service.

Over the course of their trips these Middkids kept quite busy. Elsa Avarado ’18 of MAlt Miami, a group that worked at a schools, wrote in, “Some of the projects that we did for the school included: spreading wood chips all over the playground, re-planting the garden, etc. Our days were very packed.”

Dylan Gilbert and Mariam Khan, both class of 2017, wrote about their trip to Mexico and the opportunity it afforded an unlikely group of students to get to know each other. Dylan Gilbert is an Art History and Russian double major from St. Peters, Missouri and Mariam Khan is a student of Math, Religion, and Education Studies from Waterville, Maine.

They wrote, “MAlt trips really have the ability to bring together a variety of students from across campus that would most likely never intersect otherwise. Our trip was no different. We had an extremely diverse group of 12 students (including us). Every class year was represented. Majors ranged from Physics to Art History to Women and Gender Studies to Math, and even geographically our participants came from all over the United States and even the world. All of our participants were exceptional individuals that each contributed their own unique perspective and experiences to the group dynamic.”

Dylan, Mariam, and other MAlt Mexico participants also reflected upon certain challenges that the group faced, from linguistic capabilities to the politics of international tourism.

“In addition to working with children at the daycare, our group also explored issues of inequality and poverty in San Miguel de Allende, a town known for its expat communities and tourism. Our goal was the offer a caring hand to Casa and a critical eye to privilege as we engaged in our work at the center […] Not everyone on our trip knew Spanish, which was challenging but encouraging since everyone was still able to engage equally […] The town of San Miguel itself has a problematic history with tourism and expats, and through this trip, we were able to observe and analyze the complex nature of the community while still recognizing our own role in the broader narrative of San Miguel. Overall, our experiences in San Miguel de Allende provided able opportunity to physically engage with our work and each other and also to better understand the effects of tourism on the local populations of San Miguel.”

Similar to the reflections of MAlt Mexico participants, a MAlt Puerto Rico participant noted that, “This trip was useful in informing me on culturally-appropriate service abroad.” This learning, however, certainly came with challenges, even if small ones. On the MAlt Miami trip, for instance, showering at night in an outdoor shower and staying in a low-income neighborhood posed an adjustment for some of the participants.

As far as community partners goes, the reviews of the Middkids were extremely positive. Jessica Towers of DC Central Kitchen worked with the Washington DC trip focusing on issues of privilege and poverty. She said, “The Middlebury students that came to work with us were awesome! They were friendly, helpful, and hardworking.” Community partner Cale Johnson of Casa de los Angeles, a non-profit in Mexico that provides a safe haven for single mothers and their children, writes, “We were really pleased and impressed with all of the students in the group. They came willing and enthusiastic to help and as such left a great impact on our organization.”

The students in turn expressed their appreciation for the community partners and organizations with whom they worked. MAlt Miami wrote in, “I would most definitely recommend ICO to other MAlt leaders because they truly made us feel welcome and they were so grateful for our help. Even though we were so grateful to be part of the team!” MAlt Puerto Rico also chimed in, “Working with Plenitud was a very symbiotic relationship.”

Indeed, many trip-goers said they would recommend the organizations they worked with to future MAlt participants. Despite the challenges they encountered, participants found that they made a difference in and learned from the communities they served thanks to moments of reflection, communication, and hard work. In the words of one MAlt Guatemala participant, “Service is possible by team work and willingness to learn.”

So, what do you say? Will you be next? Will a life-changing MAlt trip be part of your 2016 or 2017?

Learn more about Middlebury Alternative Break Trips at go/malt and view photos from this year’s trips on Facebook.

 

~Alison Haas ’16, CE Communications Intern

National AmeriCorps Week

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Interested in serving diverse communities across the country in a variety of essential roles? Join Community Engagement and CCI during National AmeriCorps Week for an AmeriCorps Panel on Tuesday, March 8th from 12:30-1:20 pm @ the 118 South Main St. Conference Rm. Hear from several current and former AmeriCorps members about the ins and outs of AmeriCorps, including benefits and how to apply. Check out the event on Facebook!

Lunch provided! Please RSVP by Friday, March 4, 2016 to Elle Bacon, ebacon@middlebury.edu.

Alicia Roderigue is the AmeriCorp Team Leader for the City of Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office. She is responsible for providing support to team members at their service sites, facilitating bi-weekly team meetings, and leading topical discussions related to issues surrounding social justice, diversity, and marginalized populations. Alicia also serves as the program liaison between more than fifteen non-profit organizations and City Departments and CEDO.

 

Eimilie Bishop serves as a AmeriCorps State Member at the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services as an Outreach Coordinator. She advocates for restorative justice indicatives in crime victim services. She also does outreach services to victims of crime with disabilities or have limited English proficiency.

 

Elle Bacon serves as the AmeriCorps*VISTA at Middlebury College’s Community Engagement Office. Elle works on continuing initiatives related the Privilege & Poverty Academic Cluster, as well as annual Community Engagement events. She strives to mobilize and educate students through service in areas of poverty alleviation.

 

Benji Thurber is the Communications and Technology Manager at Mobius. Benji graduated from Middlebury College in 2008, and received his Bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature. Benji joined Mobius as an AmeriCorps VISTA member (through the Vermont Youth Tomorrow program) in 2009, and helped recruit new mentors, promote public awareness of the mentoring cause, and expanded the Mentor Discount Card program for mentor pairs in Chittenden County.  Benji transitioned to a staff position with the organization in 2011, and worked collaboratively with mentoring programs and funders across the state to expand the organization into Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership.  In his current position as Communications and Technology Manager, he manages communications and marketing for the organization, and works with mentoring agency staff to expand public awareness efforts across the state. He is also the administrator for the Vermont Mentoring Database, an online system that allows mentoring agencies to store program information on the Mobius website, apply for grants, and manage information and outcome data for their mentoring matches.

LiM Spring Deadline Approaching…!

Do you have an intercultural passion?

Are you an upper-level language student with cultural awareness?

Have you returned from study abroad or spent time abroad?

Are you an international student?

 

Meet Language in Motion!

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Language in Motion (LiM) is an educational collaboration that connects Middlebury’s international, study abroad, and upper level language students with local high school and middle school teachers, students, and classrooms.

 

With support and training, Middlebury College students prepare and deliver lessons that promote global awareness, cultural competence, and world language acquisition.

 

LiM presentations are designed to support the host teacher’s learning objectives. School-age children gain new exposure to diverse culture, language, and experience, and the opportunities that college can offer. Middlebury College students gain exposure to the secondary teaching environment and deepen their international and intercultural experience through personal and shared reflection.

 

Language in Motion is currently accepting applications for fifteen presenter positions for the spring semester. There is an optional information session this Thursday, February 25 at 7:15 in the Community Engagement Office at 118 South Main Street (behind the library). Applications and more information can be found at go/lim, or on Facebook at facebook.com/middlim.

National Mentoring Month

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The end of January is approaching which means we’re also coming to the end of National Mentoring Month!

National Mentoring Month, NMM for short, was created by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and MENTOR in 2002. This month aims to focus national attention on the need for mentors, highlighting how we all – individuals, business, government agencies, schools, faith communities, and nonprofits – can do our part. For the past 14 years, NMM has celebrated mentoring and the positive effect it can have on young lives with the goals of 1) raising awareness of mentoring in its various forms, 2) recruiting individuals to mentor, and 3) promoting the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring. This year, NMM’s theme is “Mentor in Real Life”, lending way to discussion of mentoring’s real life benefits. In Vermont, the organization Mobius: Vermont’s Mentoring Partnership is an NMM ambassador.

This month works to celebrate and set apart the special role that mentors play in the lives of others through various events and days of gratitude. All the while, we must remember that our involvement, gratitude, and excitement for volunteerism and mentorship cannot be contained to a single month, and instead carries us throughout the entire year. So, with one week left to this special month, go forth: thank the mentors in your life and consider stepping up as a mentor in the life of someone else!

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MLK Day of Service

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Join the Community Engagement Office and the Anderson Freeman Resource Center in a day of service and subsequent reflection dinner in memory of Martin Luther King Jr!

While MLK’s actions show us year-round that “justice is what love looks like in public” (Cornel West), a day of service reminds us how we can take daily action within our communities.

Please sign up to volunteer!

Volunteer groups will head out to:

image001HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects), time TBD

The Addison County Food Shelf at HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects) serves over 600 people a month with non-perishable, client selected groceries. Students will help process squash with RAFFL (Rutland Area Farm and Food Link) for the food shelf.

mini_logoElderly Services/Project Independence, 1-2:30 pm

Project Independence is a nationally recognized adult day center providing a closely supervised daytime home away from home for elderly adults whose independence has lessened due to chronic illness, disability, or very advanced age. Students will interact and converse with residents in a Google Earth activity.

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College St. Children’s Center, 12:30-4:30 pm or earlier if the project is complete

Students will bake snacks for the Children Center’s use for the coming months.