Closing a Chapter of Service to Begin a New One By Eileen Lamble

  Just over a year ago, I packed up my life in Chicago to come to Montana, moving to a state I’d never been, to live with people I’d never met, and to serve in a capacity I had never before. Having just recently graduated from Villanova University, I was so ready to let my post-grad life begin. Serving as an AmeriCorps member through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest (JVCNW), I was placed at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and St. Francis Xavier church (SFX) in Missoula, MT. At the IRC in Missoula, I served with the Housing and Logistics…

Summer at Soft Landing by Mabel and Lorraine Gardner

A Day at Holland Falls By Mabel Gardner It was the last week of June and by this point, Summer was in full swing. Activities and outings with Soft Landing’s youth had kicked off to a great start and everyone, including myself, seemed eager for more. After introducing the kids to mountain biking and campfires, it was clear that Montana’s outdoors was going to be the perfect trend for the summer. Along with a handful of volunteers, Lorraine and I led 12 kids into Flathead National Forest and hiked to Holland Lake Falls. Our group’s excitement could be heard from…

Adapting My Impact by Ethan Marston

Ethan Martson, MTCC AmeriCorps Leader It’s been nearly a year since I began my AmeriCorps service term, and I didn’t really imagine it ending like this. I was assigned to the EmPower Place’s after school program, where I planned and executed fun and educational activities for local elementary- and Pre K-aged kids. But then the pandemic hit. It was no longer safe for groups of children to gather and play like they used to. And, since I have a kid at home myself, I couldn’t visit my host site often since my daughter didn’t have school or safe childcare options….

Serving My Hometown by Serena Whitcome

    When I graduated from high school, I left for college with many scholarships in tow, and although many of  these scholarships were awarded based on service that I had done while in school, I still felt like I owed something back to my community. In high school, I had been part of service groups such as the National Honor Society, Key Club, and Student Council. Each of these groups had a unique service goal and I absolutely loved helping my community, but when I left for college in another city, helping my home community took a backseat to the…

Expecting the Unexpected by Emily McMath

The Lantern Tours at the Museum were a highlight of the year. It is hard to believe that 11 months have passed since I came to Montana. I feel as I have only just been introduced to this magnificent place and it has come time for me to leave. I do not think I could have predicted a single thing that has happened in these last months, but I am glad and thankful for every experience. It was wonderful to meet a group of differently abled adults when Opportunity Resources Inc. payed a visit. From September to December I spent…

Lessons Learned by Megan Ahern

When I began my service term as a Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps Leader, I viewed it as merely something to fill time while I attended physical therapy. I had recently torn my Achille’s tendon, making it physically impossible to do my job as a wildlife biologist technician and leaving me scrambling for work. My recovery was projected for fall 2020, which lined up perfectly with the end of my service term, so I figured I would make the most of the experience, face it with a positive attitude, and hopefully never do it again. Now nine months in to my…

A story of service in 2020 By Siddarth Paladugu

I wasn’t alive in 1968, yet I can recall many vivid images from that year. In grade school, I began to notice a pattern: every distinct thread of 20th-century American history appeared to experience its climax in 1968. Americans began to condemn their own presence in Vietnam; Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, and then Robert Kennedy a few months later; humanity disarmed itself of nuclear weapons, and then reached the moon a few months later. After decades of intermittent history lessons, in classrooms or elsewhere, I’ve assembled in my memory a small repository of 1968’s grainy documentary footage: protests,…

Blog Post: Stevens Youth Center 2020 Americorps Vista

I first applied to be an Americorps Summer Vista because amidst COVID-19 I wanted to help in some way. While sitting at home in Pittsburgh, I felt lost and unproductive while self isolating due to COVID-10. While researching what I could do to be a useful community member amidst a pandemic, Americorps popped up. I was excited and eager to venture into a community different from my own and support students over the summer. Ultimately, I was seeking to go outside of my comfort zone and contribute in whatever way I could. Fast forward a few months and I am…

Look Ugly and Do as Much as Possible by Eli Bowe

No one looks pretty on a Zoom call. Of all the national awakenings in 2020, perhaps this is the smallest and easiest to digest. I haven’t just come to terms with it, however; recently, I’ve found it to be something worth embracing. **** In her powerful video essay, “RENT – Look Pretty and Do As Little as Possible”, Lindsay Ellis critiques the solipsistic, bohème philosophy of the famous musical’s (specifically the 2005 film adaptation’s) protagonists. As engaging a 45 minutes as anything I’ve watched, I give it my wholehearted recommendation (although, would-be viewers should be forewarned of strong language in…

Champions of the Pandemic by Madison McDonagh

We all sat in anticipation waiting to hear who would win the Inspire award at the First Tech Challenge robotics state competition at MSU. This award would determine who would compete at the robotics world championship in Houston, Texas. The Anaconda Robolution team. Champions of Montana! Robolution is a team that consists of Montana high schoolers from Butte and Anaconda; this is only their second year as a team and their confidence has grown immensely since last year. They listened and felt relieved each time they didn’t hear their name called especially for the design award which they won the…

What I Learned From Three Years of Volunteering By Sarah Poole

I started my service journey more than three years ago, when I decided to join the Peace Corps with my partner. We accepted positions in the Nepal Food Security program, where we practiced sustainable agriculture with community members, encouraged folks to eat more nutritious meals, built improved cook stoves, and educated people on menstrual hygiene and gender equality. An experience of a lifetime that taught me about a world much different from where I grew up and what I knew in Montana. I think it is only fair and honest to say that I learned so much more from the…

An Unexpected Journey by Lana Petrie

I am not Bilbo Baggins, and this blog is not about the journey of reclaiming the kingdom of Erebor from Smaug. But I have had quite a journey with an organization called AmeriCorps, specifically Montana Campus Compact (MTCC) AmeriCorps. I have served 3 terms with MTCC, one as the Senior Leader and two as an AmeriCorps Leader for Indigenous Research and STEM Education (IRSE) at the University of Montana. This 3rd term will be my last. I have learned a lot during my service years in Montana. I do believe what you put into your service is what you get…

Serving During COVID-19 by Kate Dantzlerward

On the last day I was allowed to do my AmeriCorps service in public, I was in an elementary school helping children with their counting skills. I was inwardly celebrating the promising development of a boy who previously could not add numbers and who finally learned how to add and subtract A teacher I worked with told me that the schools would shut down and send the children home indefinitely. I told her I understood, but I was hiding disappointment: I loved the children very much, and I felt like a safe place for them. Without being able to be…

What I’ve Learned in Six Months by Gabe Alderson

When I joined the Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps program, I was looking to not only make a change in the world, but a change in myself and how I viewed my role in the world. I had been working for years in the private sector chasing money and reputation, which is what I had originally wanted for most of my young life, but it was leaving me with a lingering sense of emptiness that couldn’t be satisfied with money or career aspirations. When I joined AmeriCorps, it was nearly instantaneously that life changed, and the lingering sense of emptiness began…

Masks for the Masses By Megan Ahern

At the start of the year, billions of people kicked off 2020 with resolutions and cheers, largely unaware of the looming pandemic. By mid-March however, those who remained unaffected by the spread of COVID-19 were in the vast minority. Widespread school closures and business shutdowns resulted in tens of millions of layoffs nationwide over several weeks. On April 9th, America’s unemployment rate reached 13%, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. The evening news painted a picture of pervasive panic on the streets and dire straits in the medical field as hospitals across the country struggled to cope with…

MTCC VISTAs in Service to Combat COVID-19 Crisis

Two of our VISTAs, Sarah Poole, serving with the University of Montana Food Pantry, and Haransh Singh, serving at OCHE, are dedicating their service to combating issues that have arisen due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Before the outbreak, Haransh spent the majority of his service developing positive mental health programs for students within the Montana University System. Sarah spent her time in service before the outbreak organizing the UM Food pantry by training pantry volunteers, taking inventory of food donations and other such important pantry functions.  Since the outbreak, Haransh has continued creating positive mental health programs, now through a…

New VISTAs Begin Service

Montana Campus Compact has recently welcomed two new VISTAs! At the beginning of March Cony Craighead and Siddarth Paladugu began their service.  Cony Craighead is currently serving in Butte, Montana with the Montana College Attainment Network. The network supports and serves affiliate members in their work aiding all Montanans to achieve their higher education goals. These first few weeks have certainly proved unique, and have meant that Cony has spent most of her time getting to know her new organization remotely.  Cony herself holds a BA degree in International Political Economics and Comparative World Religions from the University of Puget…

“Community” by Sara Feilzer, MTCC AmeriCorps and VISTA Alum

Playing with Dry Ice in Potions class! Thinking back on my year of service with spectrUM Discovery Area in Missoula, one theme really stands out to me, community. The community of support from my AmeriCorps family, the community of scientists and coworkers and the community of Missoula, which is truly like no other. I grew up in Missoula and when I graduated from Big Sky High School it only made sense to continue my education at the University of Montana. Right away (actually, while I was still in high school!) I started volunteering at spectrUM, UM’s hands-on science center, and…

Who Would Have Ever Thought by Laurie Berg

In the summer after my college graduation, I was working at a bed and breakfast and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life, now that I held a degree. I really had no idea what was next. I found myself looking at tons of jobs, but nothing looked exciting. I somehow came across some AmeriCorps programs, and eventually I was only looking at those programs. When you make an AmeriCorps profile, cohorts all across America reach out to you with a message similar to: “come serve with us!” That’s what the messages sound like,…

Meeting the Most Resilient Children by Kelcie Murphy

I’m lucky enough to have these awesome AmeriCorps Team Members serving alongside me at the IRC. I became a volunteer, family mentor, and intern for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in 2016 when they reopened their field office in Missoula to resettle refugees into the community. The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. The IRC operates in more than 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities. Our dedicated teams provide clean water, shelter, health care,…