This week, we are celebrating National AmeriCorps Week by highlighting recent Middlebury graduates currently serving as AmeriCorps members in Addison County!
AmeriCorps is “a network of national service programs, made up of three primary programs that each take a different approach to improving lives and fostering civic engagement.” Members, including some of our recent Middlebury graduates, commit to serving the community by engaging in youth and mentoring, fighting poverty, increasing academic achievement, and more.
The state of Vermont produces the 3rd highest rate of AmeriCorps members per capita! We are proud of our alumni who contribute to that ranking and the role that their community engagement experiences as students played in their decisions to serve as AmeriCorps members in Addison County.
Read below to learn more about AmeriCorps member spotlight, Nicholas Leslie ‘19, and his trajectory from student to Addison Central Teens’ AmeriCorps State/National member.
Where are you from? What did you study at Middlebury? How were you involved on campus?
I’m from Lexington, Kentucky, and after starting with an interest in Spanish, I switched my studies to history. Throughout most of my time at Middlebury, I was involved in the scene shop in Wright Memorial Theatre and Seeler Studio Theater, mostly producing sets for shows but also doing some prop manufacturing.
How did community engagement shape your time as a student at Middlebury?
My first foray into the community was a rather small step, with the community choir that met in Mead Chapel twice per week. Although it was still on campus, it was nice that most of the people involved weren’t students because the conversations I had with people never revolved around schoolwork, so it was a decent reprieve from some of the more intense parts of campus culture. I began to get really involved with Addison Central Teens, the teen center in Middlebury, during the latter half of my senior year.
How did these experiences deepen your understandings of civic engagement and service?
In the latter half of my senior year, I began volunteering at the teen center twice per week, which was definitely a more immersive experience in the greater Middlebury community. When I was a student, I saw all these other amazing MiddKids fighting for these massive causes that truly needed and still do require people’s participation. That said, I think many of us forgot about the little battles being waged in our own community that cradled us through our student careers. Engaging in the greater Middlebury community definitely reminded me to look not only at the big picture but also at the small details that create it.
I saw all these other amazing MiddKids fighting for these massive causes…I think many of us forgot about the little battles being waged in our own community.Nicholas Leslie ’19, AmeriCorps Member
What led you to decide to serve as an AmeriCorps member at Addison Central Teens?
I actually left Middlebury for a few months after graduating this past May. I initially thought that moving away from Middlebury would be the best thing for me, but the next few months saw me missing the community and the connections I had made at the teen center. With prompting from some friends and a lot of overthinking, I applied to the position and got it. I was especially happy that I would be able to come and help the teens that I had come to know.
I initially thought that moving away from Middlebury would be the best thing for me, but the next few months saw me missing the community and the connections I had made at the teen center.Nicholas Leslie ’19, AmeriCorps Member
How has living as a non-student in Addison County been for you?
Being a non-student in Middlebury has been an interesting transition. Life seems to have slowed down from the fast pace that campus was for me, and things are significantly quieter at night, which I have zero complaints about.
Have you given any thought to what comes next?
To be completely honest, I’m already planning on applying for a second term of service at the teen center when my first is up. I want to be a consistent figure in the teens’ lives so that I can best support them through this tough time of change in their lives.
Stay tuned for more blog posts featuring other Middlebury alumni currently serving as AmeriCorps members in Addison County!