Americorps VISTA Volunteer to Help Coordinate Community Service at PSU

August 14th, 2006 by Adam

Amber Rethwisch has done volunteer work at an outdoor education center on Orcas Island in Washington, a children’s center in Peru, a conservation organization in Ecuador, a college orientation program at The Colorado College and a teen hotline in Minnesota. Now, Rethwisch will spend a year putting her service, leadership and organizational skills to work at Plymouth State University as a volunteer with the federal Americorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program.

As a VISTA volunteer, Rethwisch will work with PSU’s Community Service Learning Center to help organize volunteer, service learning and Federal Work-Study opportunities for University students, while connecting with community organizations that serve families and individuals living in poverty. Rethwisch will live on campus and receive a small living allowance from the VISTA program. At the end of her year of service, she will be eligible for a stipend that can be used to pay for higher education or student loans.

Rethwisch has been dedicated to community service since high school, when she was president of a teen crisis hotline in her hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minn. Since graduating from The Colorado College in 2004, Rethwisch has participated in a number of volunteer programs, including her 2006 work in Ecuador and a year spent at Moran Outdoor School on Orcas Island through the Americorps program in 2005. When she applied for the VISTA program, Rethwisch chose Plymouth State University in order to experience New England and work with students and community members.

“I’m really excited to work with college students,” said Rethwisch. “They have so much energy.”

Nancy Conklin, coordinator of the Community Service Learning Center, is eager to work with Rethwisch to improve the quality of service learning programs on and off campus and learn more about the social and economic challenges facing residents of northern New Hampshire. Conklin herself was a VISTA volunteer six years ago and says she understands what a unique and fulfilling experience the VISTA program provides.

The Community Service Learning Center at PSU promotes volunteerism and service learning in the greater Plymouth community. Projects include Alternative Spring Break, an annual international service trip, Community Service Orientation and other community-based volunteer and Federal Work-Study opportunities. For more information about Community Service Learning Center programs, call (603)535-3026 or visit

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.