“Anything can inspire you if you look for its beauty!”
We are delighted to have Elizabeth Lavoie as our 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VISTA! Elizabeth began her year of service back in August, with a VAD (VISTA Assignment Description) in Research and Marketing. Elizabeth grew up in Manchester, NH and studied creative writing at Holy Cross in Worcester. Prior to working with AIR, she served young women via the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and worked as an ESL classroom aid. She also spent a summer in France, working as a counselor at an English immersion camp! Elizabeth’s literary arts background, extensive volunteerism, and professional experience with youth, makes her a great addition to the AIR team! When she heard about the VISTA position at Arts in Reach, the fit was evident: “I have really valued my volunteering experiences with young women and I have always loved the arts, so AIR seemed like the perfect way to combine my passions. I wanted to be involved with AIR because I knew I would learn a lot, while also supporting an organization that provides amazing opportunities for teens.”
Elizabeth’s artistic passions have early roots: “My first masterpiece was written in second grade about a horse who wanted to learn how to moo.” Her affinity for art persists to this day, although her recent work is less equine-oriented: “Now, I tend to focus on poetry, but often with themes just as absurd. I also love arts and crafts.” At a recent session of our Writers’ Workshop program, Elizabeth expressed an interest in found poetry, which involves an intentional transformation of pre-existing text.
When asked what AIR means to her, Elizabeth said, “AIR means community to me. I recently moved to the Seacoast and I have immediately been swept up into this welcoming environment. It can be really scary starting a new job in a new place, with new people- just like some of our participants might feel at the beginning of a program. And yet, AIR provides a community that has allowed me to feel accepted and valuable.” In Elizabeth’s short time at AIR she has etched a place in the AIR community, especially at our programs.
One of Elizabeth’s roles with AIR involves completing field research. This means she attends each program session in order to collect participant observation notes. She’s begun this work in our 2019/2020 Performance Project and has been a wonderful presence! She intuitively knows when to actively participate and when to remain a neutral presence to collect the data she needs. When asked about her favorite AIR memory to date, it’s not surprising that it’s from our programs: “Well I have only been to a handful of program sessions so far, but I would have to say my favorite memory has been laughing along with all the teens at the recent NHTP performance of Pride and Prejudice. I sat surrounded by our teens who were cracking up and left with sore muscles from all my laughter! I cannot wait to make more memories!” We look forward to making more memories with you too, Elizabeth!
“I’ve learned that ‘finding yourself’ isn’t a thing. I think you discover new pieces of yourself day by day and that’s perfectly fine.”