Melanie Snyder, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who resides in Charles Town, has accepted a position with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society.
She will be with PVAS full-time for a minimum of one year, focusing on such matters as membership development, volunteer recruitment, and the development of partnerships.
She is shown in the accompanying photo on the right with PVAS President Diana Mullis, left.
Ms. Snyder was already well acquainted with PVAS's operations. A graduate of Shepherd University, she helped teach one of the natural science programs the Society offers to local schools while still a student in 2010. In addition, she served as a counselor at the Society's local summer camp in 2013.
She has also been certified as a West Virginia Master Naturalist through the Society's Master Naturalist Program and is currently in her second year of co-chairing the volunteer committee that manages this Program.
One of the requirements of hosting a VISTA volunteer is that the host organization must provide the volunteer with an office, a computer, and other supporting infrastructure.
This was a problem for PVAS, since it does not have formal office space (its three regular employees work out of their homes.)
The problem was solved by the Shepherdstown firm of HFI Wealth Management, which has donated spare office space in its building at 8530 Shepherdstown Pike.
The Shepherdstown Public Library and Jane McSwain have also donated office equipment for Ms. Snyder's use.
Ms. Snyder's services are being made available to PVAS through an AmeriCorps VISTA Project called "West Virginia's Promise - The Alliance for Youth." This is a statewide West Virginia program that mobilizes partners to strengthen the capacity of local communities to develop and support young people. In this case, the goal is to help build PVAS' capacity so that it can expand its youth programs in the region.