VISTA News

 

VISTAs Convene in New Orleans for Service Project

12/6/2017 by Mia Dillard


Lutheran Services in America Welcomes New Vista Leaders

9/26/2017 by Mia Dillard


PAST VISTA LEADERS

LSA Welcomes Six AmeriCorps VISTAs

Lutheran Services in America, Inc. (LSA) is pleased to welcome six Resilience AmeriCorps Volunteers, In Service to America (VISTA) members as part of the new LSA Community Resiliency VISTA Program.  Earlier in this year, LSA was awarded a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps VISTA.  This award supports the placement of VISTA volunteers at 6 LSA member organizations to work in vulnerable, low-income communities and strengthen the capacity to rebuild and rebound when natural disasters and other unforeseen events occur.

A group of dedicated individuals from many walks of life, were selected after a nationwide search conducted over several months. The VISTA members hail from all parts of the U.S. and have a diversity of skills and experience that will be valuable as the program is developed in its first year.

The VISTA members and their member site locations include:  Ayanna Woodberry at Lutheran Services Carolinas, Tavis Leighton at Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota,Laura Jenkins at Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri, Sarah Malwal at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, Chelsea Iron Thunder at Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, and Lars Anderson at Upbring. During their twelve months of service VISTA members will be working on a variety of projects such as conducting community needs and risk assessments, volunteer recruitment, community and government engagement and disaster risk mitigation.

LSA and our participating member organizations are excited to welcome this team of enthusiastic and service minded volunteers who will work together in the coming year to improve the resilience of low-income communities across the network. A biography of each VISTA member and their planned projects for the year are provided below. For more information about the VISTA program contact LSA VISTA Leader, Tamaria Kelly at tkelly@lutheranservices.org. 

 

Lutheran Services Carolinas

 

 Ayanna Woodberry

 

Ayanna has attended Pace University in New York City and received a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Union University. She has served an AmeriCorps service term as a Program Specialist for the City of Richmond’s Camp Diva. Currently, Ayanna is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Project: Through the LSA Community Resiliency VISTA program, Lutheran Services Carolinas will develop programs to better equip low-income members of the Richland county community to prepare for and address the risks from substantial disruptions, such as the recent floods which devastated the area. 

 

Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota


Tavis Leighton

 

Tavis is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  He recently graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics. As an undergraduate, he studied aboard in London for a summer and participated in yearly service trips at Grace University Lutheran Church.  

Project: Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota will enhance the ability of Camp Noah, a preparedness and resiliency day camp for elementary children in communities impacted by disaster and/or crisis, to serve the whole family in under-resourced communities across the United States. 

 

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS Missouri)


LAURA JENKINS

 

Laura grew up in Southern California. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Concordia University, St Paul. Laura has volunteered for two Lutheran churches: Messiah Lutheran Church in Prattville, Alabama and Our Savior Lutheran Church in St Charles, Missouri.

Project:  The resilient project will build the capacity of LFCS Missouri by developing and implementing community needs assessments and congregational inventories for the communities with the highest percentage of households living at or below the poverty level in Jefferson County, Missouri.

 

Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota


Sarah Malwal

 

Sarah moved to Fargo, North Dakota 12 years ago. Currently, she is pursuing a Bachelor degree at North Dakota State University. As President of North Dakota State University’s African Students Union Organization, she has helped New Americans in the Fargo/Moorhead community find work, housing, and use local transportation.

Project: The resilient project at Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota will provide outreach to New American community groups. The main goal is to increase resiliency by improving food and financial security and providing emergency preparation assistance. 

 

Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota


Chelsea Iron Thunder

 

Chelsea is a native of Lower Brule, South Dakota. She is an active student at Lower Brule Community College. In addition to her involvement with Lower Brule Community College, Chelsea has helped organize the Lower Brule Diabetes Program.

Project:  Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, along with other local partners, will strengthen resiliency in Crow Creek and Lower Brule reservation communities by expanding and strengthening partnerships and networks to increase local capacity and equip the communities to prepare for disaster and disaster risk mitigation. 

 


Upbring-the new Lutheran Social Services of the SoutH

Lars Anderson

 

Lars is a recent graduate of Valparaiso University, where he earned his BS in Civil Engineering. During his tenure, he has volunteered at various organizations such as Brothers Reaching Out (BRO) and Engineers without Borders. Lars aspires to bridge the technology in civil engineering to the local capacity and resiliency present in impoverished communities.

Project: Upbring – the new Lutheran Social Services of the South will implement a Community Resilience-Building Program focused on disaster preparedness and resiliency training for individuals and families within their existing networks and programs in vulnerable and underserved populations.

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