"I first saw the listings for the Rural Health Service Corps positions (a branch of Americorps) in the CCE newsletter! My eye was immediately drawn to the opportunity with CHOW - The Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse of Broome County--I'm passionate about environmentalism, social justice and alleviating food insecurity. I worked 300 hrs over the summer of 2015 as CHOW's Broome Bounty Assistant. Through the 2015 Youth Employment Program, I managed 9 at-risk youth ages 16-20, planning their time on the CHOW bus (a low cost/no cost mobile food market) and at the CHOW Farm (a volunteer-run farm that grows healthy food for the community). In addition, I involved them in many learning opportunities, including yoga sessions, financial literacy classes, a tour of a working farm and a behind-the-scenes look at the wetlands in the Binghamton University Nature Preserve!"
Melina Martin '16 currently works in the CCE as a Faculty Student Scholar where she helps coordinate programs for students that focus on various social justice issues. She loved spending her summer with Rural Health Service Corps and being able to give back to the community that has given her so much.
"Binghamton is a city that is struggling in a lot of ways. After being lucky enough to spend three years attending university here, I wanted to give back. After spending over 90 hrs and six weeks with the youth, it was hard to say goodbye to them! Seeing them open up, challenge themselves and learn new skills was the highlight of my summer. I gained a lot of faith in myself--it's no small task to plan and manage a whole youth program! I learned to be confident in my abilities, my decisions and my leadership."
Both Melina and CHOW have bright futures ahead of them. Melina plans on earning an MPA and working as a physician assistant to combine her love of non-profit work and medicine. And CHOW has a new venture: a Community Wellness Center--a hybrid food pantry/test kitchen/educational center. Melina hopes that more people get involved with CHOW and recognize that the meals and services they provide to thousands of families in the area are crucial.