National Service - A Stepping Stone to Success for OSMRE Western Hardrock Watershed Team VISTAs

July 8, 2015

Professional Development for our AmeriCorps and VISTA participants is one of our core goals - We are proud to celebrate the future plans for “Life after VISTA” for six OSMRE Western Hardrock Watershed Team (WHWT) VISTAs who are nearing the end of their service years.

Elizabeth Atwell – Nonprofit, Wholesome Wave

Elizabeth Atwell serving with the Valley Food Partnership in Montrose, Colorado will be hired by the national non-profit Wholesome Wave following her term. Based in New Haven Connecticut, she will hold the position of Associate with the Double-Values Coupons Program and work to ensure SNAP Double Value Coupons are offered at grocery stores increasing SNAP recipient access to fruits and vegetables and other healthy food options. Elizabeth describes her VISTA service as both an "honor" and "a great professional experience." 

Douglas Chapman - Noncompetitive Federal Hiring, US Forest Service

Douglas Chapman, the final OSMRE/VISTA serving with the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas in Salida, Colorado, will start his new position with the United States Forest Service as an Apprentice Appraiser in mid-August. He will be working out of the USFS Regional Office located between Golden and Lakewood, Colorado, about ten minutes west of downtown Denver, Colorado. Doug will be working with the Valuation Services Team and as an apprentice, conducting property appraisals for land purchases, swaps, leases while he prepares for the Real Property Review Appraiser Exam. After becoming certified, he hopes to join the USFS as a Review Appraiser. "I'm very excited to join the US Forest Service and continue my commitment to conservation. This opportunity to work with a federal agency was possible only through my service as an AmeriCorps VISTA and the non-competitive hiring eligibility I earned as a member of the Conservation Legacy VISTA Team." – Douglas Chapman

Kyle DeCarolis – VISTA Leader, Western Hardrock Watershed Team

Kyle DeCarolis, the final OSMRE/VISTA serving with the City of Victor D.R.E.A.M. Committee, will start a new role  as OSMRE/WHWT VISTA leader in early September, taking over for current OSMRE/WHWT VISTA leader Sarah Meade. We are excited to welcome his enthusiasm and passion for community development onto our leadership team. “My service as a VISTA has positively influenced my life in a way unlike any other experience. I am proud to be moving along this path as a VISTA Leader and excited to bring this positivity to new VISTAs.” – Kyle Decarolis

Pat Johnson - Peace Corps, Armenia

Patrick Johnson, serving his second term of service with Mountain Valley School in Saguache, Colorado, was accepted into the Peace Corps after completing a yearlong application process. He will begin his two year Peace Corps term in Armenia in March 2016 with a focus on Youth Development, working at the grassroots level toward sustainable change. “The last two years as a member of the Western Hardrock Watershed Team have provided me with incredible opportunities to grow personally and professionally.  I am excited to use the skills that I developed during my VISTA terms as I continue my service abroad in the Peace Corps.” – Patrick Johnson

Samia Singleton – 2nd Year VISTA, West End Economic Development Corporation

Samia Singleton working with the West End Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) in Naturita, Colorado, has recently chosen to serve a second term of VISTA service with the non-profit. This will allow her to  bring their vision of a business incubator in Naturita, servicing the West End of Montrose County, to its reality. The building is currently in WEEDC's stewardship, and they are waiting to hear back on a grant to fund renovation. "As I approach the end of my first year with WEEDC I realize I have more experience on how to handle adverse and unexpected situations; I've become more resilient so to speak. I'm happy I will be with WEEDC a second year, because I feel that there is more to accomplish[…]" - Samia Singleton

Nancy Sprehn – Nonprofit Consulting, Denver Area

Nancy Sprehn, serving with Downtown Colorado Inc. (DCI) in Denver, Colorado, will be hired on to work part time with DCI, developing communication strategies and updating website and collateral materials following her term. Additonally, Nancy has secured a second part time job in the community she serves with a consultation business that offers services to growing organizations. "Every day with DCI I have learned so much about best practices in community revitalization as well as what it takes for an organization to respond to the changing needs of its constituents. I am so glad to be able to extend my time with DCI and continue what has been an incredible learning experience." - Nancy Sprehn