Volunteer joins Van Buren project

VAN BUREN, Maine — Chelsea Ouellette, a sophomore majoring in occupational therapy at Husson University, has accepted a position as the VISTA summer associate with the Van Buren Resiliency Project, a fully volunteer non-profit agency that was formed in 2019. 

The Resiliency Project exists to educate Van Buren and the surrounding communities about adverse childhood experiences and their serious lifelong negative effects on physical and emotional health. It is also working to examine community needs and resources, and to assist community members to work together developing programs to lessen the adverse effects of ACEs and promote resiliency for the area communities and their families. 

VISTA — Volunteers In Service To America — is a federally sponsored national program that fights poverty by expanding the capacity of homegrown efforts to address community challenges. Partnering with VISTA to enable Ouellette’s placement with the Resiliency Project were the Center for Advancement of Rural Living in Caribou and Good Will System Partnership, a service of Good Will Industries of Northern New England. 

In her summer position Ouellette is analyzing community needs, especially those of senior citizens and youth, and researching successful programs in other communities that can be adapted to meet the distinct needs of north-central Aroostook County. She is also developing training and informational material to help board and community members to design and conduct programs to effectively assist children, youth and seniors. 

Vanda Madore, the president of the Resiliency Project board of directors, stated, “We are so fortunate to have Chelsea working with us this summer. She brings a great deal of knowledge about community needs, and an impressive talent for discovering and organizing so much of the information that we need to accomplish our mission. 

“We’re grateful to VISTA, the Good Will System Partnership, and the Center for Advancement of Rural Living for their part in helping us to benefit from her talent and hard work this summer,” Madore said.

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