The Impact an AmeriCorps VISTA Can Have

January 25, 2021
Joy Ayodele (top left), Alexandria Anderson (bottom left), and Joy Ayodele’s Instagram Post

Joy Ayodele (top left), Alexandria Anderson (bottom left), and Joy Ayodele’s Instagram Post

Stephanie Farris

On behalf of the CCE I would love to take a moment to recognize just how much we value our AmeriCorps VISTA members. Our VISTAs work hard to connect SSU students, staff and faculty to local community service opportunities, and the impact they can have on others does not go unnoticed. 

Recently, Joy Ayodele, a civil rights activist and the founder of What We Are Fighting For, a non-profit organization in Sonoma County, made a social media post discussing her experience working with our VISTA, Alexandria Anderson. Ayodele wrote, “ A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to chat with a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA that was assisting with community engagement for the city of Santa Rosa. She played a huge role in contributing to what would ultimately become the Multicultural Roots Project for Santa Rosa, which delves into the past, present and future of Black, Native/Indigenous, and Asian communities within Sonoma County… this was the first opportunity I had to sit down and speak with a BLACK woman from my community. I can also say that this was the first time I was truly able to talk about myself. We quite literally discussed some deep kinks and curls in my life - and after months of fighting for Black Lives it was so good to just talk about being black!” 

I asked Alexandria about her perspective on this experience and being a VISTA in general. She responded, “I've been very grateful to meet with some incredible and inspiring community leaders/members. That is one of the main things I wanted to take away from this position is making a real impact in my community and the lives of those I work with. I had a really great conversation with Joy Ayodele - we connected on a deeper level and it was more than just me interviewing her. We were able to share our experiences as young Black women with one another and it felt really good! This work that we do is not easy, but the people make it so much better.”

I would like to say thank you to Alexandria and all the VISTAs who have worked for the CCE. Your efforts and contributions are extremely important and truly make a difference in the community. Black Lives Matter. Representation Matters. Service Matters.