(Reading, PA) — Three AmeriCorps*VISTA workers began new one-year community outreach programs through Alvernia University’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement this summer. An afterschool program at Millmont Elementary School for first and second graders complements an educational outreach program at Tyson-Schoener Elementary School. And a third VISTA project aims to create a more-sustainable food system in the City of Reading.
Melody Dillee, from Lansford, Pa., is a 2017 graduate of DeSales University, where she studied biology. As Project Manager of the Millmont-Alvernia Educational Partnership, Dilee is managing an established afterschool program for first and second-graders at Millmont Elementary School.
“This year I hope to continue to make this program a fun, educational resource for the children that will inspire them to strive for academic success throughout their time as students,” said Dillee, whose biggest passions include working with children and serving others.
Daisy Porrazzo, from Shillington, Pa., graduated from Alvernia University in May, with a degree in liberal arts and a focus on sustainability and art. Through her Regional Reading Food Systems project, Porrazzo hopes to gain an understanding of the local food system, develop a framework that enables the food system to function effectively and efficiently, and implement projects that target reducing the food insecurity while making connections with local organizations and community members.
“Throughout my college career, I was fortunate to be involved with Alvernia’s student-led farm project, Bog Turtle Creek Farm. The farm project’s core mission is aligned with this VISTA project’s mission, which made my decision to apply easier,” said Porrazzo. “I am excited to see how things will fall into place as events start happening and I am able to participate with the community organizations and members.”
Briana Pearson, Mount Bethel, Pa., a 2016 Alvernia biology and sustainability graduate, is continuing a Tyson-Schoener Educational Outreach project that she began during a Post-Graduate Year of Service.
“I connected with the kids and community of Tyson-Schoener [last year] and knew that this is what I wanted the next step in my life to be. I hope to give our employees a life-changing experience by working with these kids and I hope that together we can change these kids’ lives by helping them succeed so that they can feel confident.”