BENNINGTON, Vt. -- Two recent college graduates will bring the vitality of a federal volunteer program designed to address poverty to South western Vermont Medical Center.
Veronica Ariel, of Millville, and Nicole Rau, of North Clarendon, are the first members of the Americorps Volun teers in Service to America program to serve at SVMC. For the next year, they will work on a variety of projects in the health system’s Com munity Health Improvement Department.
The overall goal of the VISTA program is to address poverty by improving public health, housing and education.
In addition to data collection and analysis on a variety of health-related topics, The VISTA volunteers also will be working directly in the community.
For example, they have already begun working on a project, Photovoice, with the Alliance for Community Trans formations and area students. Photovoice is a documentary project that uses video and pictures collected by students to show how healthy community design looks from the perspective of the community itself. The volunteers also will be building youth ambassador programs in local high schools to help engage and focus area students on making healthier choices.
Ariel is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in health policy and administration. Rau graduated from the Col lege of the Holy Cross with de grees in psychology and sociology.
They both bring experience in health care policy, community service and peer health education. Ariel served an internship in operations at The Miriam Hospital in Provi dence, R. I. Rau actively promoted health choices to Holy Cross students as part of her work with a student organization.