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LEAP Member(s) of the Month
Simon Thomas - July 2023

Simon MotM Write Up.jpg

Nominate a Member For member of the Month
Do you have a LEAP Member at your host site or know a LEAP Member that you think should be recognized for their great service on or off the clock? AmeriCorps Members can also nominate a fellow Member! 

LEAP Member Great Stories of Service
Throughout service, LEAP members report on their community impact and record "great stories". Below are a few recent great stories shared by LEAP members during the 2021-2022 service year. What could your great story of service be?


As an AmeriCorps team at Green Mountain Farm-to-School, we felt strongly about bringing more Indigenous education into our teaching and knew teachers were excited by the idea as well. In the fall, we attended a virtual Shelburne Farms workshop on the practice of making land acknowledgements and met with a local Nulhegan educator to discuss incorporating Abenaki lessons into our curriculum. Using the virtual workshop as background and adapting resources shared with us by the Nulhegan educator, I created a three-part unit on land acknowledgements and brought them into two middle school classrooms at Brownington and Barton.

Every student created and shared a land acknowledgement for a place that had personal meaning to them, making sure to include the history of the Abenaki who were the first people in this place we now call Vermont.

It was so special to watch students shift their mentality on their relationship to land and reflect individually.

Erin Katz, Green Mountain Farm-to-School 

One of the most rewarding aspects of leading field excursions is when students completely immerse themselves in the lesson. This summer, the education team brought second graders from the St. Johnsbury School to the Matsinger’s Pond on a few occasions. Each year, the trip to the pond is simultaneously dreaded and cherished by the second-grade teachers; by the end, twenty 8-year-old students are soggy and covered in mud on the bus ride back to school. However, the students have a blast searching for pond life, including newts, caddisflies, dragonfly nymphs, frogs, and many more! The teachers joke about how each year, a boot is lost to the pond. This year, a few students’ boots came off in the pond. But this time around, one student was an excellent helper by retrieving his peers’ boots that were stuck in the mud. Everyone enjoyed their experience because they embraced the mess and followed their passion for discovering plant and animal life. The biggest learning moment for students at the pond is discovering the difference between a salamander and a newt (all newts are salamanders but not all salamanders are newts). By the end of the day, other students could confidently correct each other and remember that the amphibians they found were in fact newts, not salamanders.

Alexis Jablonski, Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium 

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