Francis Sharpstene, Program Director
Francis has been working with the VHCB AmeriCorps Program in 2007, first as the Program Assistant, then moving into the Director role in 2012. His AmeriCorps experience began in 2004 when he served as an AmeriCorps *NCCC Member in the Southwest region, and continued in 2005 when he served as a Team Leader. Over his two years of service, he worked on a variety of projects including trail maintenance in Big Bend National Park, teaching adaptive sports with the Sports Center for the Disabled, and monitoring endangered Kemp Ridley Sea Turtles on Padre Island. Serving in AmeriCorps was a transformative time for Francis, and he’s happy to be in a role in which he can now help others have a similar life changing experience.
Francis hails from the Adirondacks of Upstate New York which inspired a love of the outdoors. In his late teenage years, he began spending his summers working in Acadia National Park. He would pass through Vermont when traveling between Maine and his home state, which is when he first fell in love with the Green Mountain State. Now settled into Vermont, he spends his free time cooking, gardening, volunteering, and traveling.
Erin Riley, Program Coordinator
Erin joined AmeriCorps in 2006 where she served in a San Francisco elementary school developing after-school programming and providing individual and small group tutoring. Encouraged by the impact AmeriCorps has on local communities; she sought another chance to serve and moved to Casper, Wyoming in 2011 to fulfill the role of a VISTA member with HealthCare for the Homeless. In Casper, Erin organized community awareness events focused on reducing the stigma of homelessness and secured funding for a backpack program to benefit clinic clients. Erin jumped at the opportunity to continue her involvement with national service by joining the VHCB AmeriCorps team as Program Coordinator in 2015.
Oliver Kelley, AmeriCorps Team Leader
Oliver Kelley served with a variety of communities, including the St. Bernard Project (New Orleans) and the Danny Woo Community Garden (Seattle), in the AmeriCorps National Community Civilian Corps (NCCC) from 2009 to 2010. After that he attended Tennessee Technological University, volunteered with his sister’s Girl Scout troop, and advocated for LGBTQ+ rights in Middle Tennessee. Upon graduation with an interdisciplinary degree in history and sociology Oliver decided to relocate to Vermont, the place his grandfather is from and where he spent a few weeks every summer as a child.
Oliver decided to return to AmeriCorps because he has always been active in community service, and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board seemed like a great fit. Additionally, one of the reasons Oliver’s service with NCCC was successful was the support of his team leader. Oliver hopes to use his position as the VHCB AmeriCorps leader to give that same level of mentoring and support to VHCB’s AmeriCorps members.