Welcome Brenda, Iris, Jesus & Liliana!

August 14, 2017
From left to right: Jesus, Brenda, Iris, and Liliana.

From left to right: Jesus, Brenda, Iris, and Liliana.

Merith Weisman
Merith Weisman

I'm excited to welcome 4 new AmeriCorps VISTA members to the CCE! Brenda, Iris, Jesus and Liliana have committed to serve as AmeriCorps VISTAs for a year. They will provide direct support for any faculty member, staff member or student who gets involved with the organizations they work with four days each week and they will be at SSU in the CCE one day each week. They each have three main responsibilities.

  • The first is to be the point of contact and organizer between the off-campus site and SSU students, faculty, and staff who have projects at the site, such as community service, service-learning, community-based research, and internships.
  • The second is to strengthen the infrastructure at each site for volunteer management (training, orientation, record-keeping, etc.).
  • The third is a capacity-building project identified at each site. [[1]

[Learn more about the VISTA program in: Welcome Amanda & Gustavo!]

The VISTAs are:

-Petaluma Health Center -- Petaluma Health Center is a private non-profit organization committed to ensuring access to comprehensive primary health care and disease prevention services to residents of Sonoma County, especially low-income and medically underserved individuals and families with children in our service area. Brenda will support and strengthen the impact Petaluma Health Center and collaborating partner's programs and services to low-income individuals and communities, improve the sustainable linkages to SSU, and build Petaluma Health Center's capacity to manage and support volunteerism to further our mission and in high-need neighborhoods in Rohnert Park identified by the Portrait of Sonoma. 
-In the CCE on Thursdays
-"As a VISTA, I am gaining the skills necessary to work with impoverished communities. I want to provide resources to help children and at-risk youth. Filling needs like this would help the communities in need and the future generations to come."

-Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County -- Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County (CAP) is a dynamic multi-service agency with the mission to partner with low-income families and individuals to help them achieve economic and social stability, to build community, and to advocate for social and economic justice. Iris will coordinate programming that focuses on empowering clients to break the cycle of poverty through the implementation of parent education and support, early learning opportunities for parents and children, youth education and development, economic and financial services, tax preparation, and financial capacity. She will also support CAP staff in community engagement (outreach, recruitment & development of residents/clients) improving program delivery, and conducting program evaluation. 
-In the CCE on Mondays
-"I have always been passionate about helping and teaching others how to empower themselves for a more qualitative life, and a happier one too. I am excited to place one foot into the community, while keeping another in a familiar place, like Sonoma State University."

-Mentor Me -- Mentor Me is a 16-year old nonprofit that helps at-risk youth achieve their best in school and in life by providing them with one-on-one, long-term adult mentors. Jesus will support Mentor Me staff in volunteer outreach & recruitment, improve program delivery, and conduct program evaluation.
-In the CCE on Tuesdays
-"Last year I took a service-learning class and worked with the VISTAs and I became really excited about service. I now know I can contribute a great deal to the community and for the youth."

-City of Santa Rosa -- In 2017, a 600-acre County area known as Roseland, located in southwest Santa Rosa, will be incorporated into the City. Liliana will support the City's Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and assist in developing programs to engage and empower Roseland residents. The OCE is currently working on building relationships with Roseland residents, and has the goal of helping Roseland establish an open and participatory relationship and partnership with the City. The VISTA member will also work with the Santa Rosa Violence Prevention Partnership, a program of the OCE, as it pertains to community engagement in Roseland.
-In the CCE on Wednesdays
-"I am proud to be a part of an organization that works as a collective group to enhance the futures of various communities. I myself come from a low-income family and the first school I attended as a 5 year old was a Head Start program in Oakland. My ambition is to give back to families who are living in similar circumstances I once had as a child."

This is exciting for us because we can deepen our collaborations with the City of Santa Rosa, CAP, Mentor Me and Petaluma Health Center. We can also provide much more support for Sonoma State students and employees who are working with these community partners. Brenda, Iris, Jesus and Liliana are available to visit classes, student organizations, housing, etc. If you want to get involved with any of these community partners, please contact the appropriate VISTAs) directly. Please join me in thanking them for their service!

1. http://www.stmarys-ca.edu/catholic-institute-for-lasallian-social-action/americorps-vista-program