Thursday, August 18, 2016


Our staff member Lacy Fiore checked in with AmeriCorps Leader Shanada Hicks to see how her service is going.  Shanada comes to Montana from Denver, CO and serves with Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming and Rocky Mountain College.  Keep reading to learn more about her service to Montana:

Where are you serving and what does a typical day look like?
I am serving in Billings, MT. A typical day starts with preparing materials and lesson plans for our Girl Scout Troops. The best part is getting to engage the girls in these activates. I enjoy watching them learn and expand their horizons.  We are always preparing for upcoming events which takes a lot of organizing and preparation. I am always looking for ways to collaborate on projects with other Billings organizations.   

What are some focus areas of your service?
Working to incorporate college access activities into our Girl Scout lesson plans and activities with young girls. 

Inspiring the girls I work with to always feel empowered.

What inspires you to serve?
I am very passionate about teaching, and being a big role in the development and growing process of children. I believe that every child needs someone who wants to learn about them and push them to be all they can be despite any circumstances that they think may hinder the process of them being who they dream to be. I want to be that person. I grew up in a low income family and for a long time college wasn't something I was looking forward to doing, now I'm two years in and also serving for a national service branch. I never thought I'd be doing anything like this and I want to show other kids like me that truly anything is possible if you work at it. 

How are you incorporating your campus partner into your service?
I will be meeting with them when classes start back up for a possible collaboration on National Service Day!

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I hope to gain a better sense of self and a better understanding of why I do what I do everyday and what purpose I serve.


Thanks for checking in, Shanada and good luck with the rest of your service!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


C:\Users\sam.garetson\Desktop\DSCN0841.JPGCommunity service and bonding is the source of change from the ground up. A trickle up approach that changes the heart more so than the wallet. In this way AmeriCorps Summer Associates not only fight the material and monetary pressures of living in poverty but also empower others to open their hearts to the possibility of community inclusion.
Throughout the summer, members participated in diverse activities to help Montana community organizations fight local poverty, including increasing tutoring and mentoring resources, managing various summer activities and support services for children and families, supporting feeding programs to help alleviate hunger within the community, mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to assist with events, developing programs to help literacy rates among disadvantaged youth, and planning for future VISTA members’ efforts.
Given the short amount of time summer VISTAs serve, the number of personal and community accomplishments over those ten short weeks is astounding. In order to get an understanding of the diverse impact our Summer Associates had, we would like to highlight a few communities that were positively affected by their service-minded contributions.
Elisha Buccholtz with the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition of Missoula
Elisha’s overall goal was to increase outreach to Double SNAP Dollars (DSD) stakeholders, mainly potential participants/customers and farmers’ market vendors.  Her main duties included identifying organizations who serve a number of SNAP recipients and providing them with information about the DSD program; launching a Facebook campaign; collecting feedback about the program from vendors. She was instrumental in increasing the number of individuals receiving food security services from 185 to 397 over the course of her term.
Steph Reinwald with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming (GSMW)
Steph’s service with Girls Scouts has proven to be a great success for the program and the girls they serve. Her monthly accomplishments were stocked full of fun bonding adventures and interactive learning experiences with the girls. She planned and carried out two summer programs. The first was with the Polson Boys and Girls Club doing detective science for an afternoon, and the second was a morning of fishing at Silver's Lagoon in Missoula. She also facilitated a week long camp partnering with the M.O.R.E program that consisted of teaching spin and fly fishing and a three day rafting trip. Additionally, she helped lead a four day Girl Scout service trip in Glacier National Park. The girls performed service in the park by picking up trash, collecting data and picking over 300 lbs of invasive weeds. Listed here is a Go-Pro video recorded by Steph and the girls promoting the great activities going on with GSMW. HERE
David Farmer with the Billings YMCA
David’s mission throughout his term of service with the YMCA in Billings was to implement programming designed to help kids in the areas of art, personal awareness, physical activity and nutritional education. He was also instrumental in the literacy component which improved the reading levels of several students. While serving, David was able to balance the stresses of working with individuals from diverse backgrounds and the behavioral challenges associated with disadvantaged youth who have difficult or subversive home lives. David also played a key role in parent communication to ensure parents were aware of future activities, announcements and in general how the day was going for their child. Farmer’s service emphasizes the effective yet often overlooked network potential of college age students and K-12 education.
Our Summer Associates have proven to be adept at building relationships with co-workers and communities. Summer Associates step beyond the boundaries of traditional definitions of service. Through their actions and willingness to relocate to new communities, VISTAs realize the vision of manifesting networks for increased solidarity and mobilizing themselves and community partners to be in service to others. We thank you all deeply for your ambition to serve others and the compassion with which you accomplished this mission. We wish you well in all your future endeavors.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Rocky's beautiful campus.
You may already know that through your CEO’s affiliation your campus is a member of Campus Compact, a national (and Montana) network advancing the public purposes of higher education.  Our state Compact office offers training, programs, awards and scholarships to our members to support their work to address needs in our communities and educate students for civic and social responsibility.

We are excited this month to offer a Service Learning Professional Development Workshop in eastern Montana for faculty, staff and administrators from the Campus Compact network. Rocky Mountain College will host the event on Friday, August 12. The workshop is free for Compact Affiliates in good standing, and will be led by MTCC’s Executive Director, Dr. Andrea Vernon. Andrea has worked in the field of higher education service learning and civic engagement for the past twenty years in Montana. The service learning event in Billings will focus on our affiliate campuses in the eastern half of the state, though any are welcome to attend. We will offer workshops in central and western Montana as well this fall.

Registration and additional information can be found here. Please share this invitation widely at your campus, and encourage anyone with questions to call the network office (406-243-5177)