AmeriCorps VISTA

Americorps_Stackedlogo_Navy

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.

NJ_Headshot_VISTA_Bio_Sketch_5-2021

Nora James

Hometown: Glen Ellyn, Il
Relocated to Powell from: Chicago, Il
Service Site: Heart Mountain Interpretive Center
Position: Museum Educator
Term of Service: June 2021 – June 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Developing new programming for Heart Mountain, including a community-based event for spring of 2022. Increasing field trip accessibility by identifying funding for visiting groups.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: My grandparents coordinated a VISTA program in Ohio in the ‘70s and my uncle was an AmeriCorps member in the early 2000s. They all had great experiences which made me excited to apply.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: My long-term goal is to run an education department at a museum and the position at Heart Mountain seemed like the perfect place to grow my skills and learn while making an impact. I’ve also never been west of Saint Louis before and I’m excited to live somewhere so new to me.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: Although I’ve not historically been the most outdoorsy person, after a year of pandemic, I’d like to change that and go on some hikes. I’m really looking forward to seeing the national parks and I also hope to see a bear (from a very far distance!).

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? I’d like it to be some kind of quirky cult classic but more realistically it would probably be a really cheesy, feel-good comedy sitcom.

 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? A manual on wilderness survival or how to build a raft. Or Castaway, for reference.

Erica_Keble

Erica Kelble

Hometown: Bel Air, MD
Relocated to Powell from: Bel Air, MD
Service Site: Mountain Spirit Habitat for Humanity
Position: VISTA Volunteer and Fundraising Development Coordinator
Term of Service: January 2021 – January 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Program development includes implementing a volunteer database, outreach and community engagement including volunteer recruitment, management and training.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: The AmeriCorps VISTA Program is a well-developed Program and a great way to join the non-profit sector!

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: I was an active volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity in Maryland for a while and decided that I wanted to get more involved with the organization.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: I want to explore and learn more about the beautiful state of Wyoming AND go skiing.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? TBD

 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? A “How to Survive” book about survival on a deserted island.

Samantha Keller

Samantha Keller

Hometown: Sheridan, WY
Relocated to Powell from: I didn’t, I was already in this amazing town!
Service Site: Powell Makerspace
Position: VISTA Volunteer
Term of Service: January 2021 – January 2021
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: During my term of service, I will be working to understand the needs and wants of the community in regards to my site. I will be helping to develop and implement new guidelines for the use of the space and it’s machinery. I will also be working to increase membership and use at the Makerspace. Perhaps most importantly, I will be working to make all of these things work in the long-term for the space. My job will be to ensure that the space is able to maintain function for the long haul.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: After having been a stay-at-home mother to three kids, my youngest was going into kindergarten. The Vista program allowed me to re-enter the workforce and build back up my resume and skills.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: This location was local to me. Because I have a family, including small children, I wasn’t looking to relocate for my term of service. This location involves many things that I love to take part in and allows me to broaden me skillset while doing things I love.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: There is nothing specific as I already lived here. I would like to continue doing the things that I already do, camp, kayak, fish, hike, and generally explore the outdoors around me.

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? Suspense/Comedy. As mundane as a parent’s life may be I feel like it could be written into a suspenseful comedy without too much trouble. What tragedy is awaiting us all? Who knows but it’s sure to make the person watching laugh!

 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? Fantasy. I love books about Gods, particularly those of Greek, Roman, or Norse Mythology. I love books about wizards or other magical beings. I may be a Muggle but I make myself informed.

ML_Headshot_VISTA_Bio_Sketch_5-2021

Michael Lowry Lamble

Hometown: Chicago, IL
Relocated to Powell from: Chicago, IL
Service Site: Homesteader Museum
Position: Museum Cultural Program Educator
Term of Service: June 2021 – June 2022
Town Living in while completing service: Powell, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: My project for my term of service is to expand the community’s access to the heritage resources of the Homesteader Museum.  I will pursue this goal by continuing the development of the museum’s Mobile Trunk program.  This will involve designing new kits for the program, workshopping existing kits, and developing strategies to ensure that the museum’s audience is aware of the resources available.

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: The VISTA Program gives me the opportunity to work and live someplace I might not otherwise have had the opportunity to, and it comes with clear expectations.  This is a great way to explore the country and my field!

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: I’m interested in pursuing object-based museum educational programming in my career, and so the Homesteader Museum’s project is a great opportunity for me!  I was also struck by the beauty of Wyoming when I passed through the region after graduate school, so I was excited for the opportunity to spend a year here.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: Nature photography in Yellowstone

If you could create a book series, movie or TV show about your life, what genre would it be and why? A comedy.  I like to think that I’ve been in plenty of situations which, when remembered, make for funny stories.

 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? Historical nonfiction.  If I were stranded with nothing to do but read, I could get a lot of research done!

Nathan Martin

Nathan Martin

Hometown: Vandalia, OH
Relocated to Powell from: Dayton, OH
Service Site: Powell Economic Partnership
Position: VISTA Leader
Term of Service: June 2021 - June 2022
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.

GM_Headshot_VISTA_Bio_Sketch_5-2021

Gretchen Moretti

Hometown: Powell, WY
Relocated to Powell from: Vancouver, Washington
Service Site: Forward Cody
Position: Community Outreach Program Developer
Term of Service: June 2021 - June 2022
Town Living in while completing service: Cody, WY

General VISTA Activities or Projects: Managing and marketing Forward Cody’s new co-workspace, developing additional community gathering places and activities, and helping to assess & address unmet business needs in the area

Reason why you chose the VISTA Program: The VISTA Program is an excellent way to gain experience in numerous areas in a short period of time. College gave me the theoretical knowledge, and my hope is the VISTA program will give me the chance to begin translating that knowledge into more concrete work experience.

Why you chose this VISTA Program, experience, location: I am originally from the area and as I have gotten older and prepared to settle down and start a family, I had a great desire to return to and give back to the community that benefited me so much as a child. The VISTA position with Forward Cody, in particular, is well connected and will allow me to wear a number of different hats to hopefully find the best fit for a long-term career.

One thing you want to do other than your service tasks, in your year of service in WY: Spend time in the great outdoors! Hiking, fishing, paddle boarding, and cross-country skiing.

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.

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.

AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni

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...

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.