AmeriCorps VISTA

About the Program:

In partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Program seeks to activate higher education institutions and their partners to work together to make an impact on poverty in their local community. Our host site’s VISTA projects are developed in accordance with AmeriCorps VISTA’s core principles: an antipoverty focus, community empowerment, sustainable solutions and capacity building. Campus Compact VISTA’s build capacity for high impact programs, organizational approaches and collective impact efforts focused on low income individuals in one of the following areas: education, healthy futures, economic opportunity, and Veterans/military families. The Campus Compact VISTA program is a passionate cohort of 70 individuals dedicated to community development, service and making an impact on poverty.

Program Focus Areas:

In alignment with the mission and goals of Campus Compact, our AmeriCorps VISTA program concentrates its capacity building efforts in the following education-based focus areas:

Within this priority area Campus Compact supports projects that leverage a VISTA member to enhance access to services and resources that contribute to school readiness, k-12 success, college access & success, STEM, and/or career & technical education for economically disadvantaged children and youth. AmeriCorps VISTA programs within this priority target new project development in communities with large concentrations of low-income students (e.g., Title 1 schools).

Within this priority area Campus Compact supports projects that leverage a VISTA member to enhance access to services and resources that contribute to improved economic opportunities for economically disadvantaged individuals specifically in the areas of employment/workforce development and bridging the digital divide.

Within this priority area Campus Compact supports projects that leverage a VISTA member to enhance access to services and resources that contribute to improved food security, opioid addiction prevention/recovery, and access to healthcare for economically disadvantaged individuals.

Within this priority area, Campus Compact supports projects that leverage a VISTA member to build capacity for projects that focus on education, economic opportunity and healthy futures for low-income veterans and military families.

About AmeriCorps VISTA

Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is a federal anti-poverty program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of national service programs.

AmeriCorps VISTA supports efforts to alleviate poverty by providing opportunities for its full-time service to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty. To learn more about AmeriCorps VISTAclick here.

Meet our VISTA Program Team:

Sharon is thrilled to be leading the Campus Compact VISTA Corps. Sharon was the founding Executive Director of Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) and the MACC VISTA program. When family life required relocating away from Massachusetts, Sharon continued to consult with MACC and MACC VISTA working with many of the corps members over the years through training, evaluation support, resource development, and facilitation. Sharon’s career began as an instructor at the Voyageur Outward Bound School and as a teacher of environmental and outdoor education programs following her BA in Psychology from Earlham College. Her passion for education led her to earn a Master’s degree in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and to become involved in the emerging field of service learning. At the Massachusetts Department of Education, Sharon directed the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium for Community Service Learning and led the statewide organizing effort that resulted in the founding of the Massachusetts Campus Compact in 1995. After working as an independent consultant for years, Sharon left consulting to return to the MACC staff in 2014 as Director of Partnerships and Resource Development and then Co-Director of MACC VISTA, Sharon took over as Director of MACC VISTA during the 2016-17 program year and helped develop the Campus Compact Southern New England VISTA program. Sharon balances work with her own active community and family life. When not working with Campus Compact VISTA, you will find her volunteering in the Framingham schools, running swim meets and driving carpool.

Sharon can be reached at: sbassett@compact.org

Tasia is excited to re-join the Campus Compact network. Originally from, Miami, Florida. Tasia attended Spelman College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After college, she joined the Campus Compact network through the Massachusetts Campus Compact (MACC) AmeriCorps VISTA Program where she served at Pine Manor College. At Pine Manor, Tasia developed and implemented a service-learning course that incorporated hands-on experience in New Orleans for students in support of the rebuilding of the city and the surrounding communities after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Tasia served as co-VISTA Leader for two years before transitioning to work in the non-profit sector and higher education where she supported low to moderate income teens and families in roles such as Volunteer Coordinator, Teen Center Director and Educational Advisor. Her work within higher education and her passion for community work encouraged her to pursue her Master’s degree in Education with a concentration of Community Engagement from Merrimack College. Tasia is devoted to institution – community relationships which can provide a holistic approach to student support from all backgrounds while promoting institutional access to all communities.

Tasia can be reached at: tcerezo@compact.org

As a Michigan native, Chelsey is a graduate from Michigan State University where she studied Social Work and Spanish. After graduation, Chelsey served as a Team Leader and Unit Development Assistant for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in the Southwest Region where she completed service projects that spanned from flood recovery to tax preparation. From there, Chelsey joined the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development volunteer in Paraguay.  Through community asset mapping, she partnered with the local municipality, school district, and youth groups to complete town beautification projects and develop courses in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and leadership. By the end of her service, Chelsey decided to return to school so as to broaden her understanding of sustainable development and NGO management. She will be graduating from DePaul University in June 2020 with a Master’s in Public Administration and International Public Management. While completing her degree, Chelsey worked as a Marketing Coordinator with a legal association. She is looking forward to re-joining the AmeriCorps community and offers a diverse background in program management and development. When not at work or writing a paper for school, Chelsey prefers to spend time outdoors with her dog or reading a good book under a blanket with her cat.

Chelsey can be reached at: chudson@compact.org

Megan grew up in Vietnam, where she attended the United Nations International School of Hanoi. She then went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The University of South Alabama from 2014 to 2017. Following her undergraduate degree, she worked in Human Resources for a short period before starting her Peace Corps service as an English Education Volunteer in Nepal. In Nepal, she learned about the importance of community and collaboration and worked on English teacher capacity building through co-planning, co-teaching, and organizing teacher communities of practice where positive reinforcement practices for classroom management were discussed. During her Peace Corps service, she trained 18 teachers in first aid, founded and facilitated two English clubs and an art club focused on communicative language functions, critical thinking, building student confidence and creating a safe space for expression. She also promoted literacy through reading by collaborating with Darien Book Aid to obtain English books for her school’s library. Though she was evacuated from her post in March of 2020, she hopes to continue her career in public service as a Campus Compact VISTA leader, assisting VISTA members with their projects in any way that she can. In Megan’s free time, she enjoys being outside, traveling, and watching movies. 

Megan can be reached at: mnewell@compact.org

Gwen grew up in Windsor, Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2017 with a degree in economics. Through her coursework, Gwen became interested in international development which led her to join the Peace Corps shortly after graduating. Gwen served in the Dominican Republic from 2018 to 2020 as a community economic development volunteer in a rural community in the northwest province of Dajabón. As a Peace Corps volunteer, Gwen led a number of economic empowerment and community development projects. Her favorite was her Somos Mujeres course, which taught financial literacy and basic entrepreneurship skills to local women. The women who graduated from the course formed a club to produce household products such as liquid soap which were not previously available within the community, and which they could sell as an income generating activity. Gwen worked closely with the individual club members to train them in bookkeeping, promotion, inventory management and other administrative skills. Gwen’s Peace Corps experience sparked her passion for service and community development, which led her to Campus Compact as an AmeriCorps Vista leader! Gwen is excited to apply her project management and leadership skills in a new context and continue to grow as a non-profit professional. Gwen enjoys exploring new places, learning about cultures and languages, and dancing bachata (she is usually only slightly off-beat)!

Gwen can be reached at: gpeyton@compact.org

Stephanie is originally from Omaha, Nebraska. She attended Creighton University where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. After college, Stephanie worked as a bilingual family liaison for an afterschool program until she returned to school to pursue her masters. Stephanie attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) for a Masters in Social Work and a Masters in Public Administration. Stephanie worked at the Service Learning Academy as a graduate assistant until the end of her masters programs. She returned to the Service Learning Academy as a Campus Compact VISTA (2019-2020), creating content on the intersection of education, poverty and service learning. Stephanie created multiple opportunities for K-12 teachers, UNO professors and community partners to come together and discuss how to create intentional service learning projects. She has also supported service learning partners by compiling resources and research to guide exceptional service learning opportunities. While working at the Service Learning Academy, Stephanie worked as a counselor at Girls Inc. of Omaha. She hopes to continue working with K-12 youth and college students in the future and is excited to be a VISTA leader in Chicago. When she’s not working, Stephanie loves watching movies, taking care of her plants and cats and cooking new recipes.

Stephanie can be reached at: sdiaz@compact.org

An Illinois native, Nathan grew up in Peoria. He completed his B.A. Cum Laude with Honors at Bradley University, double majoring in Organizational Communication and French, with a minor in Spanish. While at university, Nathan studied abroad twice, in Costa Rica and France. As an undergraduate, Nathan worked with the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council, where he supported the Greater Peoria Pathways initiative, which sought to expose students to post-secondary options beyond the traditional baccalaureate model. Seeking new adventures, Nathan moved to Chicago after completing his degree, where he served as a VISTA at Loyola University Chicago, working to bridge the resource gap between the university and nearby neighborhood public schools. Nathan is thrilled to be serving as a VISTA Leader and hopes to help others realize the tremendous benefits of the Campus Compact VISTA program. In his free time, Nathan can often be found contra dancing, running, biking, cooking, baking, or spending time outdoors.

Nathan can be reached at: nwiesehan@compact.org

Aly grew up on Cape Cod, MA. Following her undergraduate years at Saint Michael’s College, where she studied Spanish and Political Science, Aly pursued a career in the legal field as a paralegal. After becoming involved with Big Sister of Greater Boston as a mentor, Aly was inspired and sought a career and life change. She joined the Peace Corps and served in Guyana, where she worked in a primary school from 2015-2017. Aly worked on several community projects with community partners, ranging from revamping the school library, to developing three after school programs to support the social emotional learning of youth, to working with her neighbors on animal welfare and care. Following her service, Aly wanted to learn more about community-based development. In 2019, Aly completed a Master’s degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. Aly enjoyed learning about youth and community development, monitoring and evaluation, grant-writing,  project management, and gender and equity in development initiatives. She is excited to share and further develop her new knowledge and skills as a Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA Leader. Aly lives with her adopted Guyanese fur-babies: a cat named Bora (Guyanese for “string bean”) and a dog named Phoenix. She enjoys making pottery, painting, and binge-watching Netflix with her pets. Aly has served as a VISTA Leader since July of 2019!

Aly can be reached at: akenney@compact.org

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