BENNINGTON >> AmeriCorps Week is designed to celebrate the commitment of AmeriCorps members and alums by highlighting the impact they make across the nation every day. Currently, Bennington hosts three AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) members. VISTA is a branch of AmeriCorps focused on poverty alleviation and capacity building. Members commit to one year of service, affecting sustainable change in the community.
• Nevin Lessard, 24, is a VISTA serving as the Youth and Community Engagement Project Coordinator with the Alliance for Community Transformations (ACT). From Belgrade, Maine, Lessard holds a Master's Degree in Public Health from the University of New Hampshire and a Bachelor's in Medical Biology from the University of New England. Since August, Lessard has led the Youth Ambassador Program in which students serve as ambassadors to their peers regarding health topics and participate in a variety public service projects. He has been collaborating with the community to fulfill the requirements of the Drug Free Communities Grant, building infrastructure building developing the ACT program.
• Michelle Marrocco, 25, is a VISTA serving at the Bennington County Regional Commission since November. From Dracut, Massachusetts, Marrocco received a Bachelor's in Music Education from Hofstra University. She has written multiple grants for workforce development and arts and cultural institutions in Bennington and worked with local nonprofits to coordinate resource and planning. She serves on the Board for the Cultural Bennington Arts Council and has been helping to coordinate local food systems projects.
• Rory Price, 23, is a VISTA serving at Southwestern Vermont Health Care. From Northport, Michigan, Price holds a degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan. In the position since August, Price has launched a health tip message service at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) and has assisted with the community outreach and education efforts of the Bennington Oral Health Coalition. She is also working to expand and improve the Health Care Share at SVMC, an initiative which delivers local produce to individuals in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs.
All three VISTAs act as Project Advocates to the Idea Fund, a non-profit organization that distributes small grants to people and organizations, empowering them to alleviate poverty and stimulate the local economy. The VISTAs also collaborate on various youth engagement projects including Youth Appreciation Day, a yearly event held in Bennington.
More information about programs offered by AmeriCorps can be found at www.nationalservice.gov