Torey Repetski, GHCC-Sponsored VISTA member at The Housing Authority of the City of Frederick, credits her family with shaping her love of service. Read below to learn how she is using her VISTA term to give back to a Central Maryland community.
I grew up in a comfortable Philadelphia suburb surrounded by supportive friends and a loving family who made me feel like the world was a place of limitless opportunity. Frequently I wanted to find ways to serve those in need, but often felt like I could be doing more or needed to have a bigger reach to really make an impact. During college I began volunteering with the Youth Leadership Foundation as a mentor for middle and high school girls. Here I began to see how strong families and communities created stable foundations for children that set them up for success later in life.
It wasn’t until I started my VISTA term that I realized I owed my own family a lot of credit for my desire to serve. They are the kind of people that will go out of their way to help anyone around them – not for recognition, not for money, but simply because they can. This “drop everything and help” model of behavior, combined with the impact strong families and communities have on children, showed me that service doesn’t need to be on a large scale to make an impact in peoples’ lives.
That’s why I love the concept of Americorps*VISTA – there are thousands of VISTAs working to affect change in their little corners of the country in hopes that they will see a reduction in poverty on the national level. In my case, I get to work with the dedicated staff and amazing residents of the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick, MD. I am working to develop a program that will increase food access for the Housing Authority’s low-income neighborhoods through a community garden and nutrition and cooking classes. My favorite part of my work is the collaborative piece that my role brings to the table. It’s exciting to make connections with organizations like the Maryland Extension Office, Seed of Life Nurseries, or the Frederick County Delta Sigma Theta Alumnae Chapter and see how they all contribute to the betterment of the project and the community as a whole.
Eventually, I would like to get my Masters in Public Health and study chronic disease prevention through community-based efforts. For now, I am enjoying the progress the project is making and look forward to its development over the remainder of my term!
P.S. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu