Several staff members from MTCC's Network Office spent an inspiring day in Hamilton, Montana with an inspiring crew of folks like Tim Peterson from Bitterroot Collective Impact, Dan Griffin from the Valley Veterans Service Center, Allen Bjergo from the Bitter Root Resource Conservation and Development Area, and Roch Turner and Kate Johnson from Bitterroot College. Kate's serving her second term as an AmeriCorps VISTA and helped organize the conference, and Roch's an MTCC VISTA alum.
At the conference we heard from dedicated leaders like Susan Hay Patrick from the United Way of Missoula County, Deb Halliday from the Office of Public Instruction and Graduation Matters, and so many inspiring Bitterrooters, seeking to meaningful change in their communities. Our staff faciliated sessions on National Service and grant writing, and we came back with a huge charge to do good work! Thanks for inspiring us, Roch, Kate and the rest of the awesome Bitterrooters who attended and participated! This was as good and example of higher ed advancing its public purposes as we can imagine. Good work, Bitterroot College.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Carly Hosford-Israel began her MTCC VISTA service with Fort Peck Community College and Poplar Schools in July of 2016. Within the past three months, Carly's vision and determination to empower students and individuals for educational attainment has been outstanding and with no lack of regular ups and downs. Carly has demonstrated resilience and a wide range of capabilities to support her VISTA service term. The creative freedom and capacity building elements AmeriCorps VISTA provides can be daunting, however for Carly it has been an open invitation to tackle some long standing issues facing the Poplar community and to make big positive changes there.
Below we highlight an initiative begun by Carly to improve the solidarity and community around young mothers through the use of an online open forum called Dear Young Mothers (DYM). Please take some time to read about her work this initiative and to show support for young mothers community by visiting the DYM Website and sharing with appropriate parties.
What led you to the development of this resource?
I work in a high school with a handful of soon-to-be student mothers. From my own life history I know what can go wrong in young motherhood, I also know young motherhood isn’t solely limited to missteps and mistakes. I know we all hold wisdom founded in and directly from our lived experience.
Why is the mental and physical health of young mothers so important?
I know a lot of former young mothers are likely now older mothers and grandmothers. I've
conceptualized a virtual community space to host inter-generational sharing of wisdom between current and former young mothers. It is called DYM (Dear Young Mother). It hopes to be an archive of letters in support and solidarity that all sustainable parenting requires. I personally know that in sharing with elders and others I have been able to better advocate for and orient myself.
What cultural and economic roadblocks to empowering women have you experienced in your VISTA position thus far?
As a VISTA serving in a high school and tribal college setting it is unnerving to watch students drop out of education as a democratic responsibility and timeless personal pursuit. I think much of this disengagement is connected to students' life stresses outside of school as well as the disconnect between classroom lessons and lived experience. It is my hope that DYM becomes a platform to directly confront and combat those barriers to continued education and empowerment.
What do you hope is accomplished through the DYM initiative?
Healthy, educated, and well supported motherhood is essential to the well being of our communities and country. It is the conduit through which we all become a part of, and learn ways in which to take part in, this world. I am writing to ask for your help in securing letters to young mothers at my high school and beyond, who themselves have excitedly reviewed the idea and are looking forward to a trove of: best practices, refuge, encouragement, courage, and teachable moments. I am asking you, and anyone you might think to forward this along to, to take a few moments to reflect on how you can contribute to a system of support for a group of cyclically undeserved women and their children. Thank you.
Friday, October 7, 2016
We're excited to have been a part of the now 1,000,000 Americans who have served with AmeriCorps over its 21 years. We started here, in Montana as AmeriCorps began with a student engagement program called Campus Corps, moved on to support literacy with Montana Reads, and worked with our Colorado partners with the UCAN Serve program, our Washington friends with Students In Service, and Mountain West with the Compact Service Corps. Now we run a program that's just called MTCC AmeriCorps, and we focus on high school graduation, postsecondary access and college completion. Over those past twenty or so years we've engaged several thousand members, tens of thousands of volunteers, and helped improve reading, math and college-going rates for our state. We have alums who served with Compact AmeriCorps programs who are in the governor's office, state legislature, private and nonprofit sectors and federal government and we hear from them regularly about what a difference their service made in who they are today. We're deeply proud to be the education part of a great broader community working with conservation, clean energy, access to nutritious food, quality legal support and antipoverty work. Every day we appreciate our friends with Montana Conservation Corps, Prevention Resource Center, Montana No Kid Hungry, Legal Services Association, National Center for Appropriate Technology, Montana State Parks and more. We also get great support from the Governor's Office of Community Service and Montana Commission for Community Service. What a milestone! Congratulations, Alums, partners and campuses!