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MTCC Welcomes New Class of AmeriCorps VISTA Members

March 06, 2014

MISSOULA – Thirteen candidates took the oath of service to become AmeriCorps VISTA members with the Montana Campus Compact on Jan. 24 in a special ceremony conducted by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in Helena.

During the next year, these MTCC VISTAs will work with college and university campus partners in communities across Montana and Wyoming to further antipoverty efforts in the areas of education and veteran/military family support. Their projects include the expansion of science, technology, engineering and math opportunities; developing programming for K-12 success and retention; expanding veterans’ services; and leveraging volunteers and funding for local nonprofits.

“MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA members commit a year of their lives to using higher education resources to fight poverty,” said Brian Christianson, MTCC program manager. “When this happens, mutually beneficial, long-term partnerships develop between community organizations and higher education institutions, providing college students with exciting civic engagement opportunities and addressing the most pressing issues facing their communities.”

The new class of MTCC VISTA members, their sites and partner campuses are:

  • Marissa Bremner, serving with Blackfeet Community College in Browning;
  • Ambur Cameron, serving with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming in partnership with the University of Great Falls;
  • Mallory Cooper, serving with Montana Education Partnership in partnership with Helena College;
  • Lacy Fiore, serving with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming in partnership with Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell;
  • Meghan Fullam, serving with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming in partnership with Casper College in Casper, Wyo.;
  • Erich Hellstrom, serving with Montana GEAR UP in Helena in partnership with Montana Tech;
  • Alexander Herlich, serving with Salish Kootenai College Upward Bound in Pablo;
  • Maureen Hopkins, serving with Poplar School District in partnership with Fort Peck Community College in Poplar;
  • Ellen Snyder, serving with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming in partnership with Gillette College in Gillette, Wyo.;
  • Recynthia Robinson, serving with Lewis and Clark Region Troops to Teachers in partnership with Montana State University in Bozeman;
  • Samantha Vernon, serving with Global Health Equity Foundation in partnership with Montana State University-Billings; and
  • Adelle Yin, serving with Carroll College in Helena.

This year’s class also includes one member who re-enrolled for a second year:

  • Kristen Hollum, serving with the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation in partnership with Montana State University-Billings in Red Lodge.

MTCC VISTA members come from around Montana and across the country to forge campus and community partnerships in Montana and Wyoming. In addition to working with low-income populations, VISTAs take a vow of poverty and are prohibited from holding employment outside their service. At the end of their one-year term, they receive a federal education award that can be used to pay back student loans or further their education.

“The impact VISTA members make on the communities they serve is significant,” Christianson said. “In the past year, MTCC VISTAs generated $372,311 in cash and in-kind donations for projects addressing poverty problems in Montana. They recruited more than 450 college student volunteers to serve with local VISTA projects.”

The Montana Campus Compact works to improve communities and educate students for their civic and social responsibilities. MTCC member campuses include Aaniiih Nakoda College, Blackfeet Community College, Carroll College, Dawson Community College, Flathead Valley Community College, Fort Peck Community College, Great Falls College Montana State University, Helena College University of Montana, Little Big Horn College, Miles Community College, Montana State University-Bozeman, MSU-Billings, MSU-Northern, Montana Tech, Rocky Mountain College, Salish Kootenai College, Stone Child College, UM, UM Western and the University of Great Falls. MTCC also works with campuses in neighboring states.

For more information, call MTCC VISTA Program Manager Brian Christianson at 406-243-5427 or email christianson@mtcompact.org.

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State, Casper Star-Tribune, Gillette News Record

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Contact: Brian Christianson, VISTA program manager, Montana Campus Compact, 406-243-5427, christianson@mtcompact.org.