Tonya is originally from a little town called Petersham. After taking a few years off from school, she has returned and found her place in the Urban Studies department. She was married in June of 2007. Her husband, originally from Guatemala, escaped a civil war devastated with hunger and poverty as a child. His perseverance and determination has been an inspiration to her. While working and going to school full time, she has found it in her busy schedule to join the corps. She is the program coordinator for Commonwealth Corps at Worcester State College.
Her organizational skills and capability to multi-task bring a greater sense of structure to the group. “My experience in the corps is a little different because I am mostly dealing with the management staff to the elders.” She has found it truly inspiring to meet so many people who are so dedicated to their work. She became involved with this intergenerational group through her professor Dr. Maureen Power. Her classes with Professor Power include Human Needs and Social Policy, Urban housing Dilemma, and Food for Thought. Her volunteer work in the past has been with Heifer International, and Loaves and Fishes.
Through the education she is receiving at Worcester State College she has gained a higher sense of awareness regarding hunger and social policy. “I wanted to become connected to this project because I am a firm believer in the ‘food as medicine’ perspective.” She has found her food stamp outreach with the corps extremely fulfilling. “I really love the group of people that I am working with. Everyone works so well together and brings new insight and different points of view.” She plans to pursue graduate school and become involved in urban planning and/or social policy.