The UW-Green Bay Center for Civic Engagement – Civic Scholars Leadership Program grows with the help of an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer
The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) is welcoming Brad Riddle as its first AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. Riddle graduated from UW-Green Bay in spring 2020 with a degree in Political Science and Public Administration.
Riddle was born in Oxford, Miss. and grew up in Cleveland, Wis. From 2001 to 2015 he served in the U.S. Air Force. Riddle is interested in civic engagement work because he says it is the best way to make an appreciable, positive impact on our community. His background in social science research, program evaluation, and service prepare him for this new role.
Riddle’s focus with the CCE will be to grow, assess, and improve the Civic Scholars Leadership Program, which was piloted last year. Civic Scholars was designed to introduce UW-Green Bay sophomore students to the city of Green Bay, help acclimate them to their potential new home after graduation and foster the growth of their overall civic identity.
The year-long, credit-bearing program consists of community visits with area leaders in government, non-profit, and commercial sections in the fall semester, followed by a community internship placement in the spring. Last year, Scholars interned with organizations like the City of Green Bay, Aging & Disability Resource Center, the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Mouth Bookstore, and more.
While the spring semester was disrupted by COVID-19, many students continued their internships virtually or from home. The Center received valuable feedback from scholars and community partners alike that the program was meaningful and made an impact on their learning and sense of purpose. Along with offering a mix of in person, socially distanced, and virtual visits, the program also includes additional community partners, service project work, opportunities to walk and explore the downtown districts and mentorship from our Civic Scholar alumni group.
Beyond the Civic Scholars program, Riddle will be assisting in the overall mission of the Center by helping build capacity through grant writing, program evaluation, and outreach. The AmeriCorps VISTA program is directly in line with the goals of the CCE as it represents a network of national service volunteers who focus on community needs to improve lives and foster civic engagement. Communities with strong civic infrastructure and civic health can better resolve challenges like increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty and become more sustainable and vibrant places to live.
Riddle hopes to continue on to graduate school in the future with a focus on International Relations. Ultimately, he would like to pursue a career in public service in the foreign policy field. This AmeriCorps VISTA position is supported by Campus Compact and UW-Green Bay.
Please visit the Center for Civic Engagement website at uwgb.edu/civic to learn more about our 2020 Civic Scholars class, and all the different activities and programs the Center is working on.