Tag Archives: Student Org Profiles

Student Org Profile: VSO

The Volunteer Service Organization (VSO) provides students with weekly, varied volunteer opportunities. Through established connections with a wide array of community partners, VSO brings groups of students to worksites that range from Helen Porter Medical Center to Wild Roots Farm. In the spirit of enacting direct, measurable service, student volunteers not only get the opportunity to grow closer to the people of Middlebury and the surrounding areas, but do so while assisting local organizations with their own programming and service endeavors.

After beginning my VSO journey at the beginning of last year, I have steadily increased my commitment to the organization and its events. Since the outset of the ’16-’17 academic year, I have been the president of the Org. As president, I had the opportunity to not only plan programming in conjunction with community partners, but also attend each of the events. Having the chance to spend a few hours a week with different groups of student volunteers has opened my eyes to the true power of cooperation. VSO’s events simply would not be possible without the incredible amount of student support we receive. Seeing groups of students – who are, more often than not, strangers – come together while giving back has been continually inspiring. The forging of new friendships, both on campus and off, has been a formative component of my time at school. It is my sincere hope that students decide to get involved with VSO. Whether that means coming to one event a semester or applying to work on our board, any and all interest is welcome.

-Jay Silverstein ’19

Student Org Profile: Friends of John Graham

Friends of John Graham was initiated by Maya Peers Nitzberg ’16.5 in the fall of 2014. After spending the summer as a Shepherd Poverty Intern, she wanted to continue a connection with John Graham and Middlebury beyond seasonal interns. She recruited a group of interested students (including myself), and we began going to John Graham on a weekly basis with the intention of providing weekly activities and tutoring services as an outlet for relaxation for the members of JGS. Above all, we are constantly adapting to the needs and desires of the JGS staff and residents. Volunteering at John Graham puts the Vermont housing crisis into perspective while experiencing the important role John Graham plays in providing food, shelter, housing, services and hope to homeless individuals and families from around Vermont. For more information, visit the John Graham website at http://www.johngrahamshelter.org/ .

-Zorica Radanovic ’19

Student Org Profile: Community Friends

Community Friends mentors are matched with children from the greater Addison County community. Mentor-mentee pairs meet for approximately two hours each week and explore campus, grab snacks in the dining hall, play games, attend organization-wide events that Community Friends hosts, like caramel apple-decorating and pool parties; and more! A really special part of Community Friends is getting to know a child closely, and learn their interests and what activities are fun for them to do. Community Friends matches have the potential to last all four years that students are at Middlebury, so there is a really unique and wonderful bond that forms when pairs are matched for a while and get to know each other well. For students, learning about the area surrounding Middlebury from a child’s perspective can be very interesting and informative. For kids, it is fun to have a big person to spend time and talk with who is a little different from family members or teachers. For both mentors and mentees, Community Friends is an opportunity to build a friendship in a new and different way while having a fun time!

Through Community Friends, I have had the opportunity to get to know my mentee over the course of my four years at Middlebury. My mentee was five years old when we started meeting, and now when she is eight I feel like I have really had the chance to see her grow and develop different interests. My mentee and I love to do arts and crafts and explore outside, but sometimes match time is just a really nice opportunity to engage in conversation. There is something incredibly special about getting to hear about the world from a child’s perspective, and I have learned so much from my mentee. She shares with me thoughts about school, play, and more that have impacted the way that I think! I am grateful for my own experience with Community Friends, and feel so happy when I learn about other mentor-mentee pairs who have positive experiences as well.
Eleanor Fisk ’17

Student Org Profile: Brother to Brother

Brother to Brother is a male mentoring organization that gives middle school boys a chance to engage with college students in a group setting. We hold monthly events with a wide range of activities, all with the ultimate goal of fostering healthy concepts of masculinity.
 
“I have been with Brother to Brother for three years. BTB has given me the opportunity to be a kid again as well as reflect on some of the challenges that male-identified middle schoolers face on a daily basis. Each of our events consist of a fun activity, like rock climbing, Quidditch, or pizza baking, as well a reflection/discussion portion that touches on some aspect of masculinity. One of my favorite events this fall was called the Egg Olympics. The event was just as goofy as the name sounds. We held a series of egg-themed competitions (egg drop, egg toss, egg relay, etc) and there was super high level of energy among both mentors and mentees. Then, after a pizza dinner at the Grille, we gathered for a thoughtful discussion about romantic relationships– in middle school, college, and beyond. To me, the night really embodied what Brother to Brother is all about– having fun, making connections, and learning from one another.”
– Kyle Dickey ’17

Student Org Profile: FTK

For the Kids (FTK) is a Middlebury College student service organization that raises money for our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, the UVM Children’s Hospital, in Burlington, VT. We are a part of a nationwide movement of over 300 schools to support local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Our culminating fundraising event of the year, the Middlebury Dance Marathon, was held this past Friday from 4-10 pm in the McCullough Social Space. This year we hosted over 150 students, volunteers, CMNH Champions, and hospital staff for a night of live student performances, local food, and, of course, dancing! At the end of night, we were excited to announce that we have raised nearly $20,000 for the children’s hospital! All of the money raised will go directly to the hospital to provide child-life care, research, and medical equipment for the children and families it serves.

Student Org Profile: DREAM

 

DREAM is a mentoring organization that pairs college students with youth from affordable housing neighborhoods. DREAM aims to empower children to lead healthy, productive lives through weekly gatherings with fun and rewarding activities.

During my first semester on campus, I was interested in community involvement and mentoring, and was lucky enough to find DREAM (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring). DREAM is a group mentoring organization for kids living in affordable housing developments around Middlebury, and centers around weekly programming each Friday with activities such as tie-dye, sledding, science demos, field days, and more. As a part of DREAM, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the summer camp vibe of these fun Fridays, as well as the chance to develop long term mentoring relationships with kids of a variety of ages in the Middlebury community. Getting to know these kids has become a weekly treat, and watching them mature and grow over the past year and a half has been one of the most rewarding parts of my time at school.

-Sadie Dutton ’19.

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