Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) welcomes Bronson Herr to Team ACAP for a year-long assignment as an AmeriCorps VISTA member. Bronson’s VISTA assignment within the organization will be concentrated around capacity building and food insecurity. The objectives of his assignment will be geared towards grant research and drafting proposals, developing a network of food insecurity organizations in Aroostook County, educating the community about the causes and conditions of poverty, and generating outreach materials to recruit new volunteers. He hopes to bring his professional assets as an editor and writer to facilitate an increase in opportunities for funding ACAP services.
Maine has committed itself to being hunger free by the year 2030. The Hunger Free Maine (HFM) initiative is housed within the Commissioner’s Office of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, and it is guided by a broad-based Advisory Group of public and private agencies that are working to ensure all Maine’s people have consistent access to healthy food today and to eliminate the root causes of food insecurity for the future. The VISTA project will seek to support the development of Maine’s roadmap for ending hunger, and build the capacity of public and private entities implementing that plan. All 185,000 of Maine’s food insecure people stand to benefit from this anti-hunger effort.
Bronson comes to ACAP with a diverse background. “Having my BA in English and Writing,” he says, “it was always my intention to work in publishing and write novels. I love language, words, stories and writing. Because of this, I have also received my Teaching English as a Second Language (TEFL) certification, and was set to volunteer last year as an instructor for refugees through a program called Literacy Pittsburgh until the pandemic put this vision on an extensive hiatus. From there, I sought out other opportunities to volunteer. After a long process, I finally found VISTA.”
Bronson currently lives just north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, though he hopefully plans to eventually relocate to Maine. The pandemic and its subsequent virtual working environment has given him time to sort out the logistics to continue his work for ACAP remotely from Pennsylvania. Bronson shares, “My experience so far has been wonderful, and I hope to continue leveraging my abilities for the betterment of the agency and community at large and express my gratitude towards the staff and management for providing such gracious hospitality. I am so excited to begin this journey and look forward to working the community members and stakeholders. ”