Author Archives: William DiGravio

Photo Story: Japan Summer Service-Learning Program 2018

This post is the first in a series highlighting some of the Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement’s international programs.

Below you will find a handful of photographs from the 2018 Japan Summer Service-Learning program. Since the program began in 2016, the CCE has sent college students to Japan, partnering with the Middlebury School in Japan and the Service Learning Center at International Christian University (ICU) in Mitaka, Japan.

To learn more about the program, click here.

To learn more about a student’s experience with the program, read Diana Lam’s ’21 reflection on the CCE Blog, here.

If you’re interested in participating in the program yourself, applications for summer 2019 will available in February 2019. Questions can be directed to Kristen Mullins at kmullins@middlebury.edu.

Participants assist in community cleaning, including a garden and pool. 

Part of the service experience includes visiting schools in the area, including the junior middle school below.

Program participants stay with a host family. 

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY: How We Can Help Get You to the Polls

 

TODAY is Election Day and MiddVOTE is committed to helping you get to the polls!

Here’s what they’re doing to help you get there:

Get a Ride to The Polls
Come to ADK Circle to catch a shuttle to the polls every hour, starting at 8:00 a.m. and ending at 6:00 p.m. The shuttle will drive you to and from the Town Clerk’s office! More information can found on Facebook here.

Party at The Polls
Students, faculty, staff, and local community members are invited to MiddVOTE’s #VoteTogether Party at the Polls! Stop by the tent at College Park (across from Shafer’s Market and Deli) to enjoy hot chocolate, pizza, face painting for children, and more on your way to the polls at the Town Clerk’s office and celebrate Election Day. More info can be found on Facebook here.

Register AND Vote in Middlebury
As a Middlebury College student, you are a resident of Vermont! This means you can register AND vote in Middlebury on Election Day. Check out this article by The Middlebury Campus on how to do just that.

And check out the paper’s coverage on elections here in the state of Vermont so you can be an informed voter!

Attend the Election Night Watch Party
Come join us tonight from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for a bipartisan midterm elections viewing party at Crossroads Cafe! Help yourself to pizza, cookies, chips, salsa, and soda as election results come in. Professors Matt Dickinson and Bert Johnson will provide commentary. The even is cosponsored by the Middlebury College Democrats, Middlebury College Republicans, and MiddVote. More information can be found on Facebook here.

Follow MiddVOTE on Facebook for updates throughout the day!

Community Partner Profile: Zoe Kaslow ’15 of Addison Central Teens

Last year, we at the Center for Community Engagement profiled leaders of a student-service organization here on our blog. This year, we are getting to know our community partners, leaders in Addison County and beyond with whom we partner in our work.

Our first profile is Zoe Kaslow ’15, the current executive director of Addison Central Teens, located in Middlebury.
 
What is the purpose of your organization and what does it look like on a day-to-day basis to meet that purpose in your role?
Addison Central Teens provides a Teen Center and after-school alternatives that are welcoming, safe and fun for all teenagers in the community. Teens have a place to hang out as well as opportunities to plan and participate in activities, special events and community service at the Teen Center and throughout the community. We are open every day after school from 3-6pm, and we have snacks, games, and programming!
 
Please share a brief story/moment/memory from your work that captures some of your favorite aspects of your job.
Serving students this summer from Middlebury Union Middle School, Middlebury Union High School, and other surrounding schools in the area, we offered five one-week sessions of summer camp this year with themes ranging from Outdoor Sports to Farm-to-Teen. Driving nearly 900 miles, stopping 7 times for creemees, and competing in 2 cooking challenges, ACT summer camp provided teens with an invaluable summer experience: tech-free hours, time outside, and new adventures. While the camp enjoyed old favorites such as paddle boating at Branbury State Park, hiking Snake Mountain, and milking cows at Shelburne Farms, they also participated in unfamiliar activities too. A highlight of our trip was a survivalist skills workshop in the Green Mountains with Josh Hardt of the Moosalamoo Center at Otter Valley Union High School. We built fires, ate cattails, and created shelters. Seeing teens take supported risks and learn about themselves through this activity was my favorite moment of summer camp!
 
When was a time you learned something surprising, either about yourself or the world around you, in your role?
As a graduate of Middlebury College, I have been surprised by how much I have learned about a community I lived in for four years. After graduating, I did two years of AmeriCorps service in Portland, OR before returning back to Middlebury. Since moving back I have learned so much about the nuances, challenges, and triumphs of Addison County, and I encourage students to get off campus and dive deeper into the larger community around them.
 
When was a time you felt challenged? How did you overcome that challenge?
I feel challenged everyday! I continue to learn about the teens, the community, and the work that we do. It’s never boring!
 
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in doing a job like yours?
Plan well, be flexible. Let your most shameless, silly side shine through, and the teens will love you for it!

MiddVote Wants YOU! to Register to Vote and Volunteer at Registration Drives

MiddVote is a non-partisan organization that works to get out the vote in Middlebury.

This fall, MiddVote will be having voter registration drives all over campus to help people register to vote and request absentee ballots for the upcoming midterm elections!

If you would like to start volunteering with MiddVote, they will be having a training/review session for new and old volunteers on Tuesday, September 18th at 6:30 p.m. in Davis Library room 145. The training/review session will be followed by a registration drive in the entrance of Davis from 7-9:00 p.m.

Please email middvote@middlebury.edu if you are able to come to the training and/or the registration drive on Tuesday, September 18th.

If you can’t make it on Tuesday but would still like to be a volunteer, no worries! MiddVote will be having several drives throughout the semester and its totally ok to just show up—they will show you what to do!

Also—be sure to like MiddVote on Facebook so you know when events are happening and can share them with your friends!

Here is the list of upcoming voter registration drives:

Date Location Time
9/18 Davis Library 7-9 pm
9/20 Proctor Terrace 5-7pm
9/23 Ross Terrace 6-8 pm
9/25 (National Voter Registration Day!) McCullough Patio 330-5pm
10/1 BiHall 3-5pm

Student Leader Spotlight: Maddie Maloney, Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM)

Nutrition Outreach and Mentoring (NOM) is a student service organization with the goal of creating community and connecting people through food and food education. The student-run group organizes volunteer events and classes with the purpose of teaching people how to cook healthy food for themselves on a budget and to acquire the independence and knowledge that comes with this life skill. The aims of these initiatives are to establish healthy eating and cooking habits and to raise awareness about nutrition and current food issues.

This week’s student leader spotlight is Maddie Maloney ’19, the president of NOM.

 

Why should folks join NOM? What will they take away from the experience?

Folks should join NOM because it is a fantastic opportunity to create meaningful connections with some very adorable kids while teaching and facilitating healthy eating habits. Volunteers will walk away from taste tests and other NOM programming having served healthy fruits and vegetables according to the Vermont Harvest of the Month calendar , or having provided educational nutrition lessons that will positively affect members of the Middlebury community in the long-term.

Why did you first join NOM?

I joined NOM because I believe that constructing positive relationships with food is essential to long-term health, well-being, and happiness. I found my own path to a positive relationship with food during the transition from high school to college, and I joined NOM because I wanted to both share this experience with others and assist the youngest members in our community in enacting lifelong healthy eating habits. I firmly believe in the power of preventive medicine and the role that nutritious food plays in protecting and maintaining health. Finally, I so appreciate the opportunity to connect with members of the Middlebury community and create meaningful relationships.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of NOM?

My most memorable experience as a member of NOM was this past March when we had a maple syrup taste test at Mary Hogan. The fabulous team at Mary Hogan found a way to make this month healthy by cooking maple-roasted turnips, which were a HIT! As in, so much of a hit that we had children swarming our volunteers for sixth, seventh, and eighth servings of the turnips. Not only was it hilarious to watch the elementary schoolers chase our volunteers around with their trays of samples, but it was incredibly rewarding to hear that many of the kids really liked a food that is not typically kid-friendly, and wanted their families to make them at home.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of NOM?

As a member of NOM, I have learned the value in creating and maintaining relationships with members of the greater community. It can be easy to get caught up in everything that happens on campus (especially when we are all so busy!), but I have learned that it is incredibly beneficial for both Middlebury students and the kids we work with alike when college students are really involved in the community.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I am a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry major with a Global Health minor from Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to being the president of NOM, I am a research assistant in a biology lab on campus, a YouPower spin instructor, and an organic chemistry peer tutor.

Student Leader Spotlight: John Bowllan, Midd Volunteers

Midd Volunteers, formerly called the Volunteer Service Organization, is a service group that helps students become active in various types of volunteer activities in the Middlebury Community.  Midd Volunteers plans weekly volunteer worksites and holds annual events, such as Trick-or-Treating for canned goods on Halloween and raising money to buy traditional Thanksgiving meal items to donate to the local food shelf at Thanksgiving. Learn more about their work, here.

This week’s Student Leader Spotlight is John Bowllan ’19, the president of Midd Volunteers. 

Why should folks join Midd Volunteers? What will they take away from the experience?  

Midd Volunteers is dedicated to offering students with short-term non committal volunteer opportunities most weekends. The events greatly vary so students can hopefully find events that interest them. Furthermore, students can directly recommend what events they would like to see in the future! All in all, it is a great time to give back to the community and meet some awesome people, Midd students and residents of neighboring communities alike.

Why did you first join Midd Volunteers?

I have always found great joy in giving back. What originally attracted me to join Midd Volunteers (VSO at the time) was the Helen Porter Square Dance. It was some of the most fun I’ve had a Middlebury and I wanted it to continue. During my sophomore year, I attended every weekly event (or two in one weekend), became the Treasurer and, as of this term, ascended to being President.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of MiddVolunteers?

The Helen Porter Square Dance was definitely the most memorable experience. A great band, enthusiastic dance participants at Helen Porter, and the amazing Midd students that came ultimately made the experience unforgettable.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of MiddVolunteers?

I’ve learned that it is important to be grateful for what we are given in life and to put our lives in perspective. Additionally, having an open heart and open mind in you daily life is key to an introspective life.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I am from Queens (NYC) and I major in Mathematics. Besides running MiddVolunteers, I play IM Basketball, love to catch up with friends, and read about Machine Learning on the side.

Student Leader Spotlight: Mikayla Hyman, MiddROC

MiddR.O.C. stands for Middlebury Refugee Outreach Club. MiddR.O.C’s community partner is a Burlington area non-profit, R.O.C. Inc. The group focuses on fostering college readiness for high school New Americans in all R.O.C. affiliated programs. To learn more about MiddR.O.C., visit their MiddLink Page.

This week’s Student Leader Spotlight is Mikayla Hyman ’20, the founder of MiddR.O.C. 

Why should folks join your org? What will they take away from the experience?

Folks should join MiddR.O.C. if they want to interact with people from other cultures mentor high school students!

Mikayla Kyman ’20 prepares goody bags as part of MiddR.O.C.’s Valentine’s Day fundraiser.

Why did you first create MiddR.O.C.?

I created MiddR.O.C. because I visited a program for refugee students in Burlington, and I realized this was a service that they wanted but was not being provided. Also, I thought it would be loads of fun!

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of MiddR.O.C.?

Probably meeting the students who inspired the creation of this club; they were so excited to hear about the life of a college student.

What have you learned, either about yourself or the world around you, as a member of MiddR.O.C.?

I have learned how to keep my eye on the objective and be willing to pivot from an original goal if new information comes up. I had to make sure that my first priority was always to the refugee-background students I was serving. That focus was not always easy to maintain, but it was important that I did.

Where are you from and what’s your major? What other activities are you involved with on campus?

I’m from Long Island, New York, and I am an Anthropology major! I am also involved with the Youthful Alliance of Merrymaking, Hillel, Chellis House, and the Pre-Medical Society.