Hi there, my name is Patricia Sanders and I am in Roscommon County putting the re-building blocks in place. I have lived in this community for over eight years now and when I decided to become a VISTA in my own area, I saw it as a big potential to help my own community grow and prosper. I am at Kirtland Community College to work with the community and increase education and higher learning.
Working with Kirtland Community College and all of their groups, and River House Domestic Violence Shelter has given me a deeper knowledge of cycles that people live throughand ideas as how to break them and help a person, family and community thrive again. This little college in the woods always amazes me with its generosity and kindness. They pull together to help each other and their district community. At the beginning of my year, I was proud to help Kirtland’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter (Alpha Omicron Gamma) raise money to purchase a semi-truck full of food to hand out just before Thanksgiving. It doesn’t sound like much to most big cities but this fed over 500 families.
I have been working on a project that will get fresh produce vouchers from our district’s local grocery stores into the Kirtland Community College’s food pantry, helping students to better nourish their bodies to further nourish their minds. This will help with learning retention, student getting better grades, graduation rates and getting a good job in the field they want. I believe this project is in the final stages so it can soon be implemented. I have recently joined Kirtland Community College’s community garden team to help provide food for not only the students but the surrounding communities as well, and maybe create a service-learning class from it. This projecthas just begun this past week but we have big ideas and many connections to make the vision a reality.
After moving up to Northern Michigan eight years ago, I was baffled as to why schools were in session on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Schools are not closed for this day up here so I asked a few questions. Most responses were that MLK was about race and his speeches didn’t pertain to them. Well, I had to reach at least one person with the facts that Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t only about helping the black community but all people living in poverty and despair, so I had a History Instructor create a video to play throughout Kirtland on MLK Jr day in hopes to reach just one student. The look on most of the students’ faces when watching the video was priceless. They realized that MLK was about all humanity living in poverty and he educated people about living a better life. The video was a huge success. http://youtu.be/-UvjdndNfn4
The partnership with River House Domestic Violence Shelter has helped me to be able to raise more awareness about the epidemic of domestic and sexual violence. I have helped fundraise and have put on a few events for them. The first was to bring awareness to Kirtland Community College’s campus, faculty, staff and student body. The event was held on the campus and I had many speakers. The balloon launch symbolizes the survivors and the strength it has taken them to go forward after such an ordeal. 1 in 7 men and 1 in 4 women will be assaulted or abused by someone they intimately know. River House is there not just to help the victims move forward and not repeat the cycle, but to enlighten the community and the world about this problem, so one day there would be no need for shelters. The second project I put on was the Empty Bowls Project. We held it at Kirtland Community College to help raise money for River House Domestic Violence Shelter so they can continue to help all of the district counties. http://youtu.be/2N3HLYHZ40o. We also have another project coming up for River House which is a take back the night march. This march brings awareness that all violence needs to be STOMPED OUT!!
Each blog post was written by one of our VISTAs!