Two New Faces at TRIP

Joining the TRIP team this month are two new AmeriCorp VISTA Volunteers. Claire Pitts and Mary Rynasko will be spending the next year as an Outreach Support Worker and a Program Support Worker respectively.

But what is a VISTA Volunteer? AmeriCorps “Volunteers in Service to America” has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years. 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, volunteers create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.

Mary Rynasko is a 2011 graduate of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. At Skidmore, she studied studio art and sociology focusing particularly on her interests in textiles, drawing, and gender studies. Mary says, “I learned of the position at TRIP through a family friend and started the ball rolling from there. I’ve spent the last four years taking a lot of art classes but always with an eye on how my work speaks to larger social issues. Through my study of sociology, I have become acutely aware of my own privileges and hope that my past and future decisions will position me to use those privileges as a tool for advancing equality; those who can do—should.” If you are curious to see how Mary spent her time and what sort of art she made at Skidmore, feel free to visit!!
Claire Pitts is a recent graduate of Alfred University with an Interdisciplinary Art major and a Dance minor. Though she loved living in a small town for the last four years, she missed her home in Troy and found herself excited to return at the end of her senior year. Claire states, “There is a creative and innovative energy in Troy that refuses to fade. I became a VISTA to encourage that energy to grow! I grew up guided by parents who were always involved in local non-profits, and it rubbed off on me in a big way. This year, I am looking forward to acquiring a skill set that will be helpful to not-for-profits. Already, I am excited about seeing some of TRIP’s current plans come to fruition. Troy is a beautiful place and I’d love to help its residents feel good about living here!” Claire makes sound and performance art and specializes in site-specific, modern dance. She has no website, but can provide links to some pretty silly dances she’s taken part in.