Geneva community members recently came together to give thanks to Kelsey Lagana ’10, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, for her service to the Geneva Community Center over the past two years.
Since graduating from William Smith in 2010, Lagana has served the Geneva community by operating the AmeriCorps VISTA program under the direction of the HWS Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning. Lagana has been accepted into the Teach for America program and will begin teaching at Ortiz Middle School in Houston, Texas, this fall. She joins seven HWS graduating seniors who have been accepted into the competitive program this year.
Grateful members of the Geneva Community Center and its Youth Garden Club surprised Lagana with a send off event and presented her with a special gift in recognition of her efforts.
“Kelsey enlivened the Community Center with a smile on a daily basis. She’s a pillar here and her presence just fills the Center with happiness. I’m going to miss her and so are the kids,” said Alfredo Bizardi, the Community Center’s membership and safety coordinator.
Brandon Mclamore is a seventh-grader at the Geneva Middle School who participated in the Center’s Garden Club. “She’s really nice and was like a big sister I never had. I really like the Garden Club because it helps me stay focused on what I really like–cooking. I think everyone here is going to miss Kelsey a lot,” he said.
Lagana said she enjoyed her time in Geneva as both an HWS student and a VISTA volunteer. “For myself and other friends who continued to live here after graduation, Geneva has been our first adult home. My time in VISTA has made that experience very meaningful. I loved working with all of the kids,” she said.
The Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning Katie Flowers thanked Lagana for her service.
“As the Colleges’ AmeriCorps VISTA, Kelsey has dedicated more than 3,400 hours of service on initiatives through her leadership with the Geneva Reads strategic planning process, with youth engagement programs at the Boys and Girls Club Teen Center, and support for HWS student volunteers. The campus and community have greatly benefitted from her tireless efforts and wish her well in her new role as a teacher with Teach for America.”
In the photo above, Kelsey Lagana ’10 (center) gathers with participants at the Geneva Community Center.