VISTA Spotlight: Kelsie Brand
I am serving as a VISTA in Winona and Lacrescent, Minnesota as a part of adult literacy programs in both cities. Winona has a small but strong program, with 4-5 different classes being offered. I am working to improve the orientation process for students by extending the length of it and making it more useful for each student. We are also looking to introduce navigator services to our program, as well as potentially expanding our class offerings with the help of teachers and volunteers. In Lacrescent, there isn’t really a program yet. Come January, I will be helping to get a program up and running, focusing on distance learning as a main project. The biggest success I have had so far is simply getting to know the students. I feel that a lot of the time, it is easy to focus on numbers, rather than the individuals being helped. Because I can recognize the students and ask them how classes are going, I feel that we can do a better job of making our programs helpful for them.
What’s your number one suggestion for a fun activity that’s VISTA-budget friendly?
Get outside! Hiking is free, healthy, and can lead to some awesome photo opportunities.
What’s your favorite tip for making the most out of being a VISTA?
Try everything. If an opportunity comes up and you are uncertain about it, give it a shot! The worst that can happen is it won’t be a good fit for you. No matter what, it will give you confidence and experience!
What’s your favorite cheap restaurant?
I’m a sucker for Perkins’ late night menu ( half off apps!)
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
PASTA! ( I LOVE to splurge and add garlic, kale, mushrooms, and shallots to pasta dishes)
What’s your favorite book?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
If you could have any job in the world (other than a VISTA member), what would it be?
I would want to be a school counselor. Or a professional Netflix watcher. Either one would be fine.
My favorite article of clothing is…
My footie pajamas! They’re so cozy!
If I could live in any fictional universe I would choose…because…
The Who-niverse. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan! I also love the Walking Dead, but I’m not a fast runner so that wouldn’t end well for me.
My favorite joke/comedian is…
Any lame puns or jokes. The punnier, the better!