Author Archives: William DiGravio

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.

Join the CCE for 2018-2019 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member!

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 Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement (CCE) as a VISTA member in Middlebury, Vermont! The Middlebury College VISTA member will support our youth and mentoring programs to promote college positive volunteerism, or the idea that kids who spend time with college students, hang out on college campuses, or talk about college with an adult role model, will more easily envision themselves attending a postsecondary institution. We seek a motivated and compassionate individual for a one-year position beginning August 2018 to work closely with the CCE team and help coordinate eight youth and mentoring programs advised by our office.

Responsibilities:

CCE Youth and Mentoring programs’ activities include one-on-one mentoring, college application support, group mentoring, taste tests of vegetables in area schools, afterschool reading programs, and more, but most have the common theme of seeking to provide opportunities for youth in low-income families. Your work may involve:

 

  • researching and sharing current national and local best practices for screening, matching, new and ongoing volunteer training, match database management, and match closure
  • supporting Student Organizations’ adoption of best practices for diversity and inclusion, group management, etc.
  • attending program events and community meetings as a staff liaison
  • holding open office hours for mentors or student organizers
  • creating a parent newsletter to share program updates
  • helping to deepen our collaboration with our valued campus and community partners, including parents, teachers, childcare providers, guidance counselors, and local agencies and organizations
  • … and much more!

 

Requirements:

Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills are essential to this position. Bachelor’s degree required. Driver’s license and own transportation are recommended but not required for the position.

Benefits:

Benefits for the 1-year position include a modest living allowance ($910/month), 10 days of personal leave, 10 days of medical leave, a relocation allowance, and a monthly rent assistance stipend of $350. Upon successful completion of service, the candidate may select either (a.) an educational award of $5,818 that can be applied to student loans or future education OR (b.) a cash stipend of $1500. AmeriCorps members are also eligible for forbearance for most federally-guaranteed student loans. Finally, for one year after service, members receive non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs.

Contact Ashley Laux, alaux@middlebury.edu with any questions and visit go.middlebury.edu/middvista for updates about the application process.

 

Middlebury Lacrosse Visits Nicaragua on Service Trip

Players from the Middlebury Women’s and Men’s lacrosse teams visited Nicaragua earlier this month. The trip was organized through Lacrosse the Nations, a nonprofit organization dedicated to using “the lacrosse field as a platform to teach students valuable life skills and health education, while ultimately bringing joy to their lives.”

The students visited Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, as part of Lacrosse the Nations’s Team LtN campaign, which is a “network of individuals, lacrosse players, and teams across the country who come together to help spread awareness and raise funds for our life skills, nutrition and scholarship programs in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and the U.S.”

As part of their service trip, Middlebury Lacrosse players engaged in community service projects to help improve infrastructure in the organization’s partner schools, raised funds for scholarship programs, and played lacrosse with students.

Check out some photos from the tip on the organization’s Facebook page and below!

Middlebury College Center for Community Engagement Blog 2018-02-20 18:54:39

Catherine Harrison talks with prospective Sister-to-Sister members.

Sister-to-Sister aims to support the middle school girls in the Addison County area. The mentors interact individually with the girls in an informal and comfortable environment and discuss common issues in the girls’ lives, including school, body image, peer pressure and relationships. Many of the participating girls suffer from physical or mental disabilities or have difficult home lives. The mentors act as a support system for the girls which in turn has led to more participants to return regularly for the monthly events. Monthly events have included log rolling, zumba, and game night.

The STS Summit is the highlight of the year, and it is on the basis of the Summit that many girls keep returning to the monthly events. It gives a chance for the girls to spend an entire day bonding with other girls from their school and the surrounding area, in addition to learning new skills and talents in workshops and sharing their experiences and difficulties of middle school.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sister-to-Sister, please click here.

This week’s Student Leadership Spotlight is Catherine Harrison, president of Sister-to-Sister.

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

Sister to Sister is a great way for a busy student to get involved because our events are only once-a-month. This allows for us to really put our all into each event. The events are tons of fun and they’re a great way to bond with the younger “sisters.” We learn as much from the girls we are mentoring as they learn from us.

Why did you first join Sister to Sister?

I joined Sister to Sister as a sophomore, last year after transferring to Middlebury in February. Every summer I work as a counselor at a children’s sleep-away camp, so I was looking for a way to work with kids during the year. Sister to Sister was the perfect fit as the events combine fun activities such as scavenger hunts and spa nights with meaningful conversation that allows us to act as mentors to the younger girls.

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

The first Sister to Sister event I attended was my favorite. It was cold outside so we had a pool day in the gym, and we had a raft building competition. We helped the girls build these massive rafts out of pool noodles and duct tape and then we had a race. I had forgotten how much fun it is to do stuff like that.

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

I’ve found Sister to Sister to be a valuable experience as it has allowed me to get back in touch with what it was like to be kid. In our group discussions at the events, the girls really open up to us and talk to us, and that’s when you realize that in a lot of ways, 21 isn’t really so much different than 12. I think so many adults find it easy to dismiss children because of their lack of life experience, but when you actually talk to these kids, you realize that they really are insightful and what they have to say is valuable.

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

I’m from Tampa, Florida. I’m a Film major and I’m also pursuing a Theater minor. I sing a cappella with the Middlebury Paradiddles and am one of the group’s social chairs, and I’m on the board of Chromatic social house as well.

Student Leader Spotlight: Kathryn Bullen, Relay for Life

Relay for Life Co-Presidents Isabella Alonzo ’18 (left) and Kathryn Bullen ’18 after last year’s Relay for Life event.

 

Relay for Life is a yearly fundraising event held by the American Cancer Society. Each year, thousands of communities come together to walk in order to both raise money and spread awareness.

Middlebury has hosted a Relay for Life event each year since 2004. Members of the college and wider Addison County community come together for the event, and have raised tens and often hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

This year’s Relay for Life event will take place on April 18, 2018 at the “Battell Loop” outside Battell Hall. For more information on the event, please click here.

This week, we talked with Kathryn Bullen ’18, one of the co-presidents of the college’s Relay for Life student organization.

Why should folks join Relay for Life? What will they take away from the experience?

In one way or another, everyone is touched by cancer at some point in their lives. Relay For Life is a great way to help raise awareness regarding cancer and honor/celebrate those who have been personally touched by the disease. At Middlebury, this organization provides an avenue for working with both the student body and surrounding community members. This experience allows people to give back in some way towards a disease that often leaves people feeling powerless in their ability to help those personally affected.

Why did you first join Relay for Life?

I joined Relay For Life because I wanted to become more involved on campus in a meaningful way. From friends and family members of mine who have been touched by cancer, I felt motivated to join Relay and help give back in the ways that I could. Also, I participated in Relay For Life growing up and they were always fun events to attend.

What has been your most memorable experience as a member of Relay for LIfe?

I think my most memorable experience as a member of Relay is always the luminaria ceremony. During this part of the event, everyone walks around the loop, which is lined with luminaria bags in honor/memory of people affected by cancer. As we walk, each bag gets a glow stick and it truly turns into a beautiful moment where everyone can reflect on what the event is truly all about.

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

From being a member of Relay For Life, I have learned so much about how to organize a large-scale event on a long-term basis and how to be an effective student leader. I have definitely realized how much planning truly goes into events like Relay and the importance of having a great committee to delegate tasks to and help with all the details throughout the year-long planning process. I also think Relay For Life is a unique organization in that it requires targeting both college students and Middlebury community members, which necessitates almost two separate marketing tactics. While this has been a challenge for our committee, it is an aspect of our event that we definitely have put greater emphasis on this year.

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

I am from Cleveland, Ohio, and am a psychology major and double minor in political science and global health. I am on the Women’s Swimming and Diving Team and a captain this year. I also am a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).