Hello Missoula! This is my third AmericorpsVISTA service year and I’m excited to be serving with CFAC as the Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. And just as excited to be in Montana, a place that’s been on my radar for quite awhile.
My answer to the question ‘where did you move from?’ is not a one-word answer. My permanent mailing address is in Albuquerque, where I lived for about 20 years after leaving my home state of Illinois and my farm. Long answer: after a year of grad school at the University of New Mexico, I went through a number of professional incarnations from domestic violence advocate services, English language tutoring, establishing my own landscape business, to managing an estate, house director for a sorority and other jobs too numerous to mention. I also spent several years working and gardening in the stunning Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina, and a year each in Kentucky and Kansas with VISTA. I’m proud to say I’ve lived in every K state in America.
What brought me to VISTA is a life-long belief in giving back. My brother and I were raised to understand that regardless of how it felt to us at the time, we had to share whatever resources we had because, as my mother frequently reminded us, “there is always someone less well off than we are.” I’ve been a food and hunger activist and environmental troublemaker most of my adult life with causes and organizations that pull me across the continent and sometimes the world.
While I’m not the typical age of a VISTA, that, for me is an advantage, as I am free to chose assignments where I can share what I’ve learned–skills, experiences, knowledge–as well as acquiring new skills and living experiences each time. Working with CFAC will certainly provide new avenues for exploring non-profit development and strengthening funding options. I enjoy our homey office and the enormous passion and dedication of this very small staff to the various programs under our roof. I look forward to meeting up with more of our farmers and ranchers as well as all the great organizations supporting food security in this area.
When I’m not out exploring along US 93 for hiking trails and new vistas, I’m working on another book, learning more about native herbs, looking for new dance venues and camping in the pleasure of the big night sky…until the weather changes as I’ve been cautioned to expect could be soon. Guess it’s time to invest in some Muck Boots. Coffee anyone?