AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorpsWYOMING

PEP is an intermediary for the AmeriCorps VISTA program. This is a federal grant that the Powell Economic Partnership manages. People come from all over the USA to volunteer at local organizations for a year to live in poverty and build community capacity.

Bri Graff

Brianna Goodin

Hometown: Boise, ID
Relocated to Powell from: Seattle, WA
Service Site: Powell Makerspace
Position: Developing Makerspace Outreach, Marketing, and Funding Resources
Term of Service (Start and End dates): January 26th 2020 - Jan 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Develop digital marketing brand and best practices, document policies and procedures to-date, create marketing presentation to showcase the Makerspace (and all the different spaces within), build capacity for tech educators in regards to resources and inventory, and gather community contacts and history for focus groups in 2021.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: I feel really fortunate to have been born in a country that has given so much to me, and the VISTA program is a great avenue to give back through service.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: Before moving to Wyoming, I had worked as a graphic designer, and taught a couple terms at an art college. I was a member of a MakerSpace in Seattle. It was a great community to learn from, so when I read the VISTA posting at a Makerspace in a completely different setting, I thought it was a unique and special place - which turned out to be true!

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: I would love to partake in other community events and clubs in Park County - Bingo Nights, Trivia Nights, go to a Roller Derby Tournament, learn Magic the Gathering, and a doodle club at Gestalt are all fun possibilities! The endless outdoor adventures are an ongoing list too, but I’ve been fortunate to have four years in Wyoming to scratch that surface.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? It would be a made-for-TV movie that’s a romantic comedy. It would have dramatic cliffhangers before commercial breaks that always get resolved immediately, in a way that shows the producers were trying to add suspense to an otherwise ordinary storyline.

What genre of book, movie or TV would you like to have if stranded on a desert island or at the top of the Big Horn Mountains? Mystery, gotta have a ‘page-turner’ or ‘bingeable’ series to stayed tuned to when there’s nothing else to do! Assuming basic needs are met, otherwise reality shows about surviving in the wilderness might be more useful...

Wiley Reid

Wiley Reid

Hometown: San Marcos, TX
Relocated to Powell from: Pečurice, Montenegro
Service Site: Forward Cody
Position: Coworkspace Coordinator
Term of Service: August 2020 – August 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Cody, WY/Tacoma, WA

General VISTA Activities or Projects: To encourage the growth of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by developing a space for community members to come together and work collaboratively.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: Prior to the VISTA Program, I was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Balkans. COVID-19 forced my cohort to return to the US, prompting me to look for another route to living in service. I have found that route through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: Wyoming’s spirit of independence situates itself well for locally driven, community focused, grassroots oriented change. I chose this experience in Wyoming in particular to get an education in community economic development in a place where the spirit of community is very much alive.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: To continue to get experience in agricultural work, as I am deeply inspired by the idea that American farmers give their labor in service to our nation and our people. The farmers and ranchers are heroes of the working class.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? Life is woven together by humor. Though the subject matter may sometimes be characterized by dryness or struggle, laughter gives us the ability to process our own stories. Any genre will do, as long as it’s comedy.

 What genre of book, movie or TV would you like to have if stranded on a desert island or at the top of the Big Horn Mountains? The Bible is all I would ask for.

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin

Hometown: Vandalia, OH
Relocated to Powell from: Dayton, OH
Service Site: Northwest College Foundation
Position: Northwest College Career Services and Alumni Outreach VISTA
Term of Service: January 2020 - January 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects:Developing a career service program and athletic hall of fame for the college. Conducting alumni outreach. Attending and presenting findings and research at the alumni board meetings.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: It was a great post-college opportunity for getting introduced to a new town and community in an unfamiliar place. Being able to help a community in some way was always a goal of mine. The service was great for gaining experience and boosting a resume for future job opportunities.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: Wyoming has always been a very beautiful state to visit in the past and I felt the opportunity to live and work there would be an amazing experience. Working for the college and developing career services seemed like a good fit for me since I have known the struggle, and still do, of trying to find a good fitting career for oneself, so if I could help others with that I knew it would’ve been a satisfying experience for me.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: Visit different surrounding cities, explore, hike, camp, snowboard, fish, kayak, essentially anything involving adventure and the outdoors.

Michela Morrissey

Michela Morrissey

Hometown: New Milford, CT
Relocated to Powell from: New Milford, CT
Service Site: Homesteader Museum
Position: Educator
Term of Service: July 2020- July 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Cody, Wyoming

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Creating and implementing an educational traveling trunk program for the museum to send out to local schools and community groups/organizations.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: The educational benefits and it’s a good opportunity to get work experience in a career field I’m interested in.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: Because it was hiring and Covid shut down all museums on the East Coast and because I’d never been to WY before, so this seemed like a good opportunity to check it out.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: Not get Covid and to go to a rodeo

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? A comedy because my life is a joke

What genre of book, movie or TV would you like to have if stranded on a desert island or at the top of the Big Horn Mountains? Forget about books, if I’m anywhere near the top of the Big Horns something is seriously wrong.

Genesis Ranel

Genesis Ranel

Hometown: Zachary, Louisiana
Relocated to Powell from: Zachary, Louisiana
Service Site: Heart Mountain Interpretive Center
Town Living in WY: Powell, Wyoming
Position: Museum Educator
Term of Service:  June 2020-June 2021

General VISTA Activities or Projects (Use VAD Objectives and activities): Virtual Tour program development, visitor engagement, removing financial barriers for school accessibility to the museum, education outreach

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: I was taking a gap year before graduate school and wanted to do something that would give me an opportunity to live in a new community and volunteer.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: I decided on PEP’s VISTA program because there was a position at a museum. I want to be a museum educator and this position allows me to be a VISTA and explore a career field I’m interested in. The location of the program did give me a bit of pause. Being from the deep south and moving somewhere with mountains and snow is a big change, but so far I love it!

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: I’m trying to explore the area. Wyoming is so different from Louisiana so I’m trying to do things I wouldn’t be able to do at home. I’m looking forward to trying new outdoor activities like skiing, and hiking, and visiting the National Parks in the area.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre what would it be and why? A comedy, I love funny movies and making people laugh. A comedic film about my life seems like a perfect combination. Not to mention my family is full of jokesters so, it'd be a comedy whether I wanted it to be or not!

What genre of book, movie or TV would you like to have if stranded on a desert island or at the top of the Big Horn Mountains? I think I would want Christmas movies. I don't know if that counts as a genre, but I could watch Elf for days and never grow tired of it.

Gavin Wasson

Gavin Wasson

Hometown: Winfield, AL
Relocated to Powell from: Starkville, MS
Service Site: Plaza Diane Community Center for the Arts
Town Living in WY: Powell
Position: AmeriCorps Vista
Term of Service: June 2020-June 2021

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Develop website. Create Marketing strategies for membership efforts, develop new programs, modify database, facilitate grants.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: I chose the VISTA program because it offered me a chance to explore the United States and afforded me the opportunity to continue my education or travel.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: I chose this program because it was reflective of my past work experience in the arts, and it allowed me to live in a place that offers many outdoor recreational opportunities.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: One thing I want to do outside of service is to ski in Montana. I haven't been skiing in several years and I want to get back into it.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre what would it be and why? I would make a comedy TV show about my life because I feel like that would capture my personality just right. Secondly, I would make an action adventure movie if I was stuck in the Bighorn Mountains. I would befriend all the animals and become a hermit trying to survive the harsh winter.