Your AmeriCorps VISTAs and co-hosts, Hugh and Ken, sit down with friend and producer Dan Dorsch to talk about themselves, discuss Cheyenne and lay out the goals of the podcast.
Joining the show for the first edition of VISTA Voices is Daniel B. Daniel serves with the Aging Division: Wyoming Department of Health. The Aging Division operates 3 community facilities: 1) Wyoming Pioneer Home- Assisted Living Facility in Thermopolis Wyoming; 2) Wyoming Retirement Center in Basin; 3) Wyoming State Government Veterans' Home of Wyoming in Buffalo. Daniel's efforts are primarily on behalf of the Community Living Section, who contracts with senior centers across the state to provide congregate meals, counseling, transportation support -- enabling folks to "age in place".
Daniel talks about his Long Island roots, his Jewish/Korean upbringing, his travel experiences in Wyoming, and his unique Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology studies at Washington University in St. Louis. Since arriving in Cheyenne last July, Daniel has devoted himself to preparing Wyoming's State Plan on Aging for 2021-2025, seamlessly continuing the work of predecessor, Claire Q. Quick, final shout-out: Starting Fall of 2021, Daniel will pursue an MD from Weill Cornell Medicine.
These two AmeriCorps VISTAs serving with WCADVSA are fearless advocates in the fight against gender-based violence, whether that’s at Ft. Washakie or in Laramie. Mari’s anti-racism education efforts, which she has dedicated herself to in the past year while serving on the Wind River Reservation, are building an essential foundation for the state’s future. Brea commemorated April’s Sexual Assault Awareness month by launching the hugely successful “Wyoming Wears Teal” campaign. Not only do the shirts send a message of hope and healing to survivors in our communities; they are leading to important and intentional conversations on sexual violence. You can still participate in the fundraiser, here: https://www.bonfire.com/wyoming-wears-teal/
This Fall of 2021, Brea is enrolling in a Clinical Community Psychology Ph.D. Program at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, an opportunity she prepped endlessly for. One of Brea's biggest champions was none other than Mari, who looks to further her own journey in higher ed. by pursuing the Doctoral Program in Women and Gender Studies at University of Toronto.
If you want to get an idea of what investing in your community entails, look no further than our AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the Wyoming Children's Law Center, Inc.! With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam decided to defer his admission’s decision to University of Wyoming College of Law for one year. Nonetheless, Sam had a desire to serve in the Cowboy State—in that time—and his search led him to Laramie, where he has performed essential data-collection tasks for juvenile justice related projects. He also is responsible for kickstarting the “How will you help a Wyoming child in need in 2021?” campaign. Best of luck in 1L. The world needs more Sam M.’s!
Leora Hoshall and Grant Gergen are exceptional, given they serve as Equal Justice Wyoming’s VISTA Supervisor and VISTA Leader, respectively. These two work tirelessly in tandem to make sure that the AmeriCorps VISTAs at Aging Division: Wyoming Department of Health, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Habitat for Humanity of Laramie County, Wyoming Children's Law Center, Inc., and the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are supported throughout their year of service.
Whether it’s weekly check-ins, leadership discussions, monthly newsletters, short trips to see one another, or Zoom calls, our VISTA cohort has kept connected with one. And we owe that to Grant and Leora. Leora will be staying on in her role, thankfully, but Grant will be moving on to pursue a Master of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dedicated would be an understatement, in describing Dana’s commitment to AmeriCorps service. Even off the clock, you will find her discovering new ways to communicate safe sex practices to at-risk populations, gauge the prevalence of substance abuse issues, and raise suicide prevention awareness in Cheyenne. As the first AmeriCorps VISTA at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Dana has ensured commitment to continued harm-reduction efforts for next year.
Our 2021-2022 Equal Justice Wyoming cohort will also include Legal Aid of Wyoming Inc. and the Wyoming Children's Trust Fund, as sites.
Thanks for tuning into our VISTA Voices series! As the 2021-2022 cohort is oriented, come June, July, August, and September, we will be getting the new VISTAs involved with the podcast to talk about the projects and teams they will be a part of for their year of service in Wyoming.