As of August 31st, 2012 I became Corning Community College’s first AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) member. Corning Community College is located in Corning, New York. During my year of service here, I worked with the Food bank of the Southern Tier, the Steuben County community, and students, faculty, and staff on the campus.
Throughout the year, I worked on projects designed to alleviate poverty by working to meet the food security and healthy eating issues of the local community. My first project consisted of performing a comprehensive assessment of campus and community assets and needs relating to food security. In order to do this, I volunteered at the local food bank, food pantries and had emergency food for students when they needed it. I also developed a survey in order to learn more about what the community was lacking, or what they already had that can be made better. My main goal was to see if a food pantry was needed on the campus or in the surrounding community. From the survey findings, it was unclear, but I decided to start one anyway. (my biggest success of the year) My second project consisted of establishing a week long healthy eating awareness campaign. This is where my nutrition major came into play and was a huge success educating nearly 600 people. My third project consisted of promoting and supporting the development and use of container gardens at CCC facilities and in the community. This turned out to be a great accomplishment– with the help of the college and my volunteers, we were able to build a container garden bench in one of the buildings. Also, 3 new container gardens were put in the nearby nature center of the college.
I hope I left an impact while I served my year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. I certainly learned a whole lot in a short amount of time. Not only was the college campus supportive of me all year, but the entire community was as well. This was my first time being away from my small town at home and being placed into a new area. It was definitely a huge change for me, but I am extremely grateful to have been given such a rewarding opportunity to enhance my skills and learn something new everyday. And of course, meeting such amazing people who have made such a difference in my life was the highlight of my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA.
For more information to get involved with AmeriCorps visit: http://www.americorps.gov/