Our Leadership Team
Natalie Keane, a recent cum laude graduate from the College of Saint Benedict has joined the Office of Experiential Learning & Community Engagement as the CSB Community Kitchen VISTA. Natalie graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor's in Philosophy, pre-medicine pre-professional track. She is also a member of CSB/SJU's chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society. While a student at CSB, Natalie was very active in the Sustainability Alliance which inspired her interests in environmental, social, and economic sustainability and justice. She was also selected to present her philosophical work at the Prindle Undergraduate Ethics Symposium at DePauw University Spring 2013, where she participated in discussions of environmental ethics with a group of scholars nationwide.
Natalie relishes her experiences during her four years at the College of Saint Benedict, especially in regards to her opportunity to study abroad in Cork, Ireland and sing with CSB's women's a cappella group. Natalie is excited to headline the CSB Community Kitchen Program and to serve our surrounding community with quality and nutritional meals. If you see Natalie around campus, please feel free to say a quick, "Hello" or ask her about the program.
Bailey Weirens, a Junior at the College of Saint Benedict, is a Nutrition-Dietetics major and a Psychology minor. Her favorite foods include anything with potatoes and chicken, along with fresh fruit and vegetables! Some of her hobbies include spending time outdoors, singing, traveling and going on adventures with her friends. Bailey joined Community Kitchen first as a volunteer and then was trained in as an Operations Leader before becoming the Volunteer Coordinator for the program. She joined the program because she felt that this program was a great aid to the hunger issue in the Saint Joseph area and the rural communities, and wanted to help however she could to eliminate the hunger problem and reduce food waste at the same time. She enjoys seeing the growth the program has had this past academic year, and looks forward to the progress that is up and coming. If you see Bailey around campus, don't hesitate to ask her how to become involved with the program, she is always looking for more wonderful volunteers on campus!
Nathan Johnson, a Junior at Saint John's University, is a Nutrition and Hispanic Studies double major. His favorite food is beef/chicken tacos! His hobbies include camping, hiking, rock climbing, and canoeing. Nate chose to become a part of Community Kitchen because he wanted to help reduce the food waste that occurs at Saint Ben's, as well as help provide nutritious meals for fellow community members. In addition, this program fits well with both of his majors, and he hopes to continue on with work like this once he graduates from SJU.
Ally Fishbach, a Sophomore at the College of Saint Benedict, is a Communication major, pre-law. Her favorite food is chinese food and a funny skill she has is the ability to "make a million difference faces". Allison joined Community Kitchen because she enjoys meeting new people and sharing in conversation. She has loved getting to know members of the community and fostering realtionships all over a very delicious meal.
Kathy Hohmann, a Junior at the College of Saint Benedict, is a Nursing major. She does not have a favorite food because she is always willing to try something new, but if she had to choose it would probably be potatoes, any kind and prepared any way. Some of her hobbies include snowboarding, rollerblading, fishing, and playing the occasional game of pond ice hockey. She also recently started doing some knitting as well. Her supervisor for the summer, S. Sharon Nohner, recommended Community Kitchen as a volunteer opportunity. Kathy had not heard a lot about the program before, but was very eager and interested in being a part of helping others through Community Kitchen. After learning more about the program, she was even more excited in helping to provide to those who are food insecure and to help reduce food waste.
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Authorized in 1964 and founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years (Corporation for National & Community Service).
VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, VISTA members both create and expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty (Corporation for National & Community Service).
The Initiative Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Little Falls that aims to improve the quality of life in central Minnesota. At the core of their work is the belief that local people possess the talent, passion and ability to achieve a brighter future. Their programs and investments strive to give every person an opportunity to contribute to a shared vision and plan of action that strengthens community character and relationships (Initiave Foundation).
As an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsoring organization, the Initiative Foundation oversees the recruiting, placement, training and supervision of 20 VISTA members across central MN. Host sites interview and select their own VISTAs from a pool of local and national candidates. In 2012, the College of Saint Benedict became one of these lucky VISTA host sites for the first time in its history, a new tradition that the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement hopes to continue (Initiave Foundation).