"People rib me about it in the office," Wyatt says of his alma mater. He doesn't seem to mind. Even a winter snow storm that postponed his biggest service event couldn't chill his enthusiasm for Blacksburg. In the fall he enjoyed hiking and other outdoor pursuits, but he spent much of his time visiting community Head Start sites as part of his work to strengthen VT's partnership with the agency. An added bonus has been the community of other VISTAs in the area: "We get together and have pot lucks."
|VT volunteers clean a bus used to transport Head Start kids.|
Wyatt has worked with the New River Valley Head Start system to conceive new ways for VT students to support the children. For example, a new bus buddies program will utilize VT student volunteers as bus monitors to accompany children to and from centers. Wyatt has also worked with students and faculty in VT's Agriculture department to create garden boxes at five Head Start centers. A group of students is designing and implementing age-appropriate lesson plans that incorporate gardening activities.
|Wyatt Taylor (far left, VISTA shirt) with student volunteers.|
His own experience doing community service as an undergrad led him to VISTA. "The idea of student engagement is one I put a lot of stock in," he explains. "It was a big part of my college experience." A native Mississippian with two university professor parents, Wyatt sees the Campus Compact VISTA experience leading him to a career that blends higher education and community engagement.
"Coming to VT was a great option for me," he says. "It couldn't have worked out better."