We are both saddened to say goodbye to this year’s crew of Americorps members and excited to see them on their way to new adventures. Ryanne Maldonado, Megan Riggs and Nicole Ryder touched many lives while working in Second Harvest’s Nutrition Programs group and made a difference in our community.
Americorps members commit one or two years to serving the community. Depending on the program they participate in, members either receive housing or a small living allowance to pay for rent and food, so they don’t go into debt while in service. Once members finish a year, they receive an education award that can be used to pay off student loans or continue their education.
Teresa Moran, Nutrition Programs Manager, says that Ryanne, Megan and Nicole each brought something unique to the group. “Nicole really shone when she worked with the kids at Food For Children distribution sites. She coordinated physical activities and was out there with them showing them how to have fun and get exercise.” At every site, Nicole tried to leverage existing resources to encourage the kids to get out and be active on their own.
Nicole wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she graduated from college. “After working at Second Harvest with Americorps, she has decided she would like to continuing working in the non-profit sector, either in the Bay Area or Northwest.
Megan worked closely with Teresa to open the farmer’s market style sites for Second Harvest’s Passion for Produce program. “Megan has a real sense of compassion for the community and she connects with people right away,” says Teresa. Megan also made her mark inside Second Harvest, encouraging staff to go green by using reusable cups instead of paper, among other things. She started the Second Harvest softball team, and, along with Ryanne, made a healthy breakfast for Second Harvest employees at monthly all-staff meetings.
Megan is signed up for another year with Americorps and is moving back to her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, where she will be working at a homeless shelter. Megan says she gained confidence while working at Second Harvest and that she feels now like, “I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Ryanne was with Second Harvest for two years. Passionate about getting people to eat healthier, she encouraged clients to try new foods through tastings and cooking demonstrations. Ryanne also created the first Second Harvest cookbook. “Ryanne showed clients that making food from scratch can be easy and fun and something that you can enjoy with your family,” says Teresa.
According to Ryanne, her time at Second Harvest gave her a really good sense of what she wants out of a career. “I learned a lot about working with different cultures,” she says. “Second Harvest gave me the freedom to be creative and try new things.”
We wish them all the best!