AmeriCorps VISTA Service and the Mentoring Movement in Vermont

October 8, 2013 AmeriCorps, Vermont Mentoring Database

521730_10100810445592412_249367109_nMy first two months as an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving through the Vermont Youth Tomorrow program with Mobius have been dynamic, challenging, and fun. I love that each week at Mobius is different; the (mostly) quiet days working in the office are interspersed with days spent shuttling from meeting to meeting or making a longer trip to a mentoring event. My favorite part of the position is the opportunity to visit and learn about different mentoring programs across the state. Not only do I look forward to the breathtakingly beautiful car rides through Vermont, I also get to meet dedicated people who love working for and with youth in every corner of the state. I am inspired by program staff who are constantly thinking and working creatively to open up new opportunities for mentor pairs.

As I enter my third month of service, I have taken on more responsibility in outreach and communications through online media and by publishing Vermont’s Mentoring Newsletter. I am also working with the Vermont Mentoring Database, a statewide data management for mentoring programs across the state. As I become more familiar with the system, I will be helping program staff and mentors get to know the database and learn how to maximize its potential for each individual mentoring program. My future projects include expanding Mobius’ current Mentor Discount Card program throughout Vermont and beginning to volunteer as a mentor!  You can visit the Mobius Staff Page to learn more about my duties as the AmeriCorps VISTA at Mobius, as well as my professional and educational background.

AmeriCorps VISTA members and Mobius staff volunteer at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport's Annual 5k at Bolton Valley

AmeriCorps VISTA members and Mobius staff volunteer at Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sport’s Annual 5k at Bolton Valley.

There are many AmeriCorps members serving with mentoring programs throughout Vermont. Mobius is working with members at sites including Essex CHIPS, the DREAM Program, HowardCenter’s Community Friends Mentoring program, and The Collaborative. We are also collaborating with VISTAs with Vermont Campus Compact on the upcoming College Positive Volunteerism Forum,  a training opportunity for mentoring program staff members which features Dr. Paul Hernandez, a leader in the CPV movement and a nationally-renowned expert on preparing and supporting youth for post-secondary education.  One of the best parts of my experience in moving to Vermont and joining the AmeriCorps program has been working with other VISTAs not only through my work with Mobius, but also at events and volunteer opportunities held by other organizations. It’s been a wonderful way to learn about the state and meet new friends.

I’m grateful to everyone at Mobius, in the mentoring community, and with the Vermont Youth Tomorrow program who have been so welcoming. If you have any questions about my work or about the Vermont Mentoring Database, please contact me. I am also looking for content for our upcoming October newsletter: if you have any mentoring news or photos that you would like to share with the statewide mentoring community, send me an e-mail or call the office at 802-658-1888.

Happy Autumn!    VISTA logo

Daron Blake
Communications and Technology Specialist
AmeriCorps VISTA