UW-S VISTA welcomes staff member/focuses on community involvement and college access

The University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan will welcome a new member to its staff this fall and a new focus to the campus’ existing AmeriCorps VISTA program. Michael Lampe will join UW-Sheboygan as its newest VISTA volunteer and will continue efforts to get UW-Sheboygan students involved in their local community, as well as incorporating a new focus on college access.

Over the 2009-10 academic year, VISTA volunteer Jena Jaeckels worked to connect university students with area businesses and organizations for volunteer and service learning experiences as part of a one-year grant. For the 2010-11 academic year, the campus kicks off a renewed federal grant, and Lampe will shift the main focus of the VISTA program to reach out to GED completers in the Sheboygan County area who would like to advance their education and earn a college degree. Lampe also will work with at-risk middle and high school students to show them that college is an option for them.

Specifically, the VISTA program will establish a mentoring program and support network for these young, at-risk students and GED completers on the UW-Sheboygan campus to ensure they have the support network they need to succeed.

Lampe, who comes to UW-Sheboygan as a 2010 graduate of St. Norbert College in De Pere, said he is looking forward to joining the campus and moving the program’s new focus forward.

“I joined AmeriCorps because it was a good opportunity for me to turn some of the ideals my parents instilled to me into reality by using the skills I have acquired through education to assist those who want to get ahead,” said Lampe, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and sociology and is fluent in Spanish. “Through many experiences, I have come to recognize that most people want to succeed in their work and in life, but have difficulties achieving success, whether it is financial-, psychological-, or familyrelated.”

AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty in the United States. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and 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 40 years.

VISTA members like Lampe 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.

The UW-Sheboygan AmeriCorps VISTA program is part of the Wisconsin Campus Compact (WiCC), which is part of the national Campus Compact, a coalition of approximately 1,200 colleges and universities dedicated to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. The UW-Sheboygan VISTA program specifically collaborates with the AmeriCorps program at Partners for Community Development in Sheboygan.

Lampe, who grew up in Sheboygan, said he is looking forward to what the upcoming year will bring – and potentially the many local residents and young students he can help achieve a college degree.

“I am excited to be that helping hand for those who want to enhance their education and, essentially, their way of life,” Lampe added. “I truly believe that one who enhances their education not only will positively affect themselves, but will also affect their family, friends, neighbors, and Sheboygan. It is also exciting that I will be giving back to the community in which I grew up and gave me the values I strive for every day.”

UW-Sheboygan is Sheboygan County’s local UW System campus and offers the first two years of classes toward a bachelor’s degree in more than 200 majors. Tuition rates remain frozen at 2006 levels for the upcoming academic year. Fall classes start Sept. 2.

Residents interested in learning more about the campus, its programs or the new VISTA program, should contact the Student Services Office at (920) 459-6633 or e-mail uwshb@uwc.edu, or visit www.sheboygan.uwc.edu.

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