Greetings Love Your Block Community,
We would like to take a moment to introduce ourselves. We are the AmeriCorps VISTA members, Brooke Wells and Tyler Cook, serving in the first year of the Cities of Service Love Your Block program in Hamilton City Hall. In the first year of the Love Your Block program, we will be building the foundation for the Love Your Block Hamilton Program. The Love Your Block program will award residents in low-income areas of Hamilton with up to $1,500 for home repairs. The repairs will be completed by volunteers from the neighborhood as well as the city as a whole, with the guidance and assistance of construction professionals. We want to spread the love neighboring homes, and maybe even the whole block if possible. Our goal is to bring Hamilton residents together to help one another out and create clean, safe, and engaged neighborhoods.
We began our VISTA service term in the start of September 2018. We are both committed to serving the Hamilton community, and excited to build the foundation for the Love Your Block program!
Brooke: I am a hometown girl, born and raised in Hamilton, OH. I recently graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.A. degree in Psychology and a minor in Education. I took an interest in psychology because I love learning about people, and I have a passion for serving others. Although I enjoyed my time at Ohio State, like many other graduates, I left feeling very uncertain about my academic and professional strengths. I knew I was passionate about helping others, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity, and where I fit in as I entered the workforce. I applied for AmeriCorps VISTA hoping I would receive an opportunity to explore my strengths while gaining invaluable experience in a professional setting. This year, as a Cities of Service Love Your Block VISTA in the City of Hamilton, I hope to make a positive social and environmental impact by promoting collaborative and bottom-up change in the city in which I grew up in.
Tyler: I grew up in the Dayton area, and lived in the suburb of Kettering for most of my life. I decided to attend Xavier University in Cincinnati because I wanted the smaller school environment and the Jesuit values of service and community really appealed to me. I ended up majoring in Criminal Justice, but found myself uninterested in a lot of the standard career paths for the major. I felt very uncertain as to what I wanted to do with my life, and decided to look into some other options. I did a good amount of service work during my time in school, so doing a year of service seemed like a good way to do meaningful work, while smoothing the transition into adulthood.
I hope this year will help me figure out what my strengths and weaknesses are, as well as help me determine what kind of work I find satisfying, so I can hopefully have a clearer picture of who I want to be. In the meantime, I’m extremely excited to be working with the residents and leadership of Hamilton, and all of their lovely community groups, in order to make Hamilton cleaner, friendlier, and an overall better place to live.
We both are thrilled to work together this year and are excited to take on the first round of the Love Your Block program. We are also looking forward to building relationships with neighbors and gaining project management and volunteer coordination experience. We hope that the combination of our knowledge and skills will fuel our abilities to build connections with residents and we hope that the communities we serve will share our enthusiasm for the Love Your Block grant.