Girl Scouts of Western New York
Abby is serving with the Girl Scouts of Western New York working to create intentional STEM pathways for girls living in low-income communities. Abby will be developing STEM processes, cultivating relationships with local organizations, and creating resources and projects that will facilitate volunteers and troop leaders in delivering STEM content to girls.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rochester
Hobart and William Smith
Political Science/American Studies
Aidan is working with Big Brother Big Sister of Greater Rochester. Mentoring, the sole purpose of BBBS, has been shown to help keep kids in school and away from negative influences. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester (BBBS) implements a highly structured community-based mentoring program which follows the science-based model of fidelity of one-to-one mentoring. BBBS works to form relationships for the youth with an adult who expresses care and provides a strong and enduring relationship. Durable matches rely on building a foundation with mentors that use a flexible and youth-centered approach. Mentor training emphasizes building a friendship focused on the mentee’s needs and interests, making joint decisions, and allowing the relationship to develop at its own pace. Additionally, this program will further build on the Asset Model by expanding the youth’s world while challenging them to new experiences and open their futures to new possibilities. We do this through match activities that expose youth to otherwise not available opportunities. These activities allow the youth to broaden their horizons and increase the number of opportunities for their success.
Aubrey is serving with the City of Rochester's Kiva microloan program. Kiva Rochester assists small business owners in receiving 0% interest, crowd-funded loans. As a third year VISTA, she will be building partnerships and expanding outreach strategies, securing funding for the program's future, and evaluating the program's impact through surveys, interviews, and data analysis.
RCSD: Community Schools
St. John's University
B.S. Communication Arts
Daniel is serving in the Rochester City School District Central Office supporting the Community Schools initiative that focuses on addressing the holistic needs of the child in school by helping facilitate equitable and culturally relevant educational experiences. This is done through establishing and coordinating new and existing community partnerships, building RCSD's infrastructure to support the community school models, leveraging community feedback, and more.
Urban Choice Charter School
Eboné is serving as a first year VISTA at Urban Choice Charter School, where she is supporting their mission to increase student engagement and educational outcomes for their students. Eboné’s work includes expanding the volunteer program, systematizing the current fundraising efforts, increasing family engagement, as well as strengthening community relationships.
Genesee Land Trust
Rochester Institute of Technology
Evan Zachary is serving as the community engagement coordinator at Genesee Land Trust, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and protecting land and waterways in the Greater Rochester region. During his yearlong service Evan will be working specifically on GLT’s urban projects which aim to improve health through positive assets, engagement, and programming that reduces stress and promotes health by building connections to nature, encouraging an active lifestyle, and empowering the community to resist negative environmental forces.
David T. Kearns Center
Hobart and William Smith
Hilda is serving in the David T. Kearns Center’s pre-college programs including Upward Bound Classic, Upward Bound Math-Science and Talent Search. As a first-year project volunteer, she will be building a space in the Kearns Center for meaningful connections and consistent engagement with Upward Bound Alumni that allows the Kearns Center to assess any roadblocks to post-secondary completion. This will be done through researching alumni networks and communities similar to the Kearns’ pre-college programs and identifying and pursuing mechanisms for connecting with alumni.
Jenna is serving at Connected Communities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty to revitalize the EMMA and Beechwood neighborhoods. As a third year VISTA, Jenna will recruit and train volunteers to assist with important projects relating to mixed-income housing, cradle-to-career education, community health and wellness, and workforce and economic development. She will also help to build Connected Communities' online presence and produce multiple videos to document their work.
RCSD: Arts Integration
Jessica is serving in the Rochester City School District Central Office supporting the Arts Integration program through community outreach, data collection, and creating a resource guide for teachers and administration to use to successfully integrate arts into the RCSD school system in hopes of improving academics, attendance, and socio-economic health for students.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester
University of Rochester
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester works to empower and educate individuals and families to achieve financial security and peace of mind through a variety of services and outreaches. Joey is working with CCCSR staff and stakeholders to expand and support a peer-to-peer financial education program focused on youth and will finalize a profile of youth financial literacy in our community. As a third year VISTA, Joey will utilize the community profile to spark a conversation around youth financial literacy and leverage long-term support for youth-focused financial education programs in our community.
Office of Community Wealth Building
University of Rochester
Katy is serving as a first year VISTA in the Mayor’s Office of Community Wealth Building at City Hall, a new initiative dedicated to developing accessible entrepreneurial and business services to all members of the Rochester community. Katy will help connect aspiring or current business owners to beneficial non-profit and governmental programs to foster a thriving economy. Katy will conduct research assessing how to better support small business owners, create print resources and an online database of existing services, assist in opening and facilitating the downtown service center, and build capacity for the program to continue in the future.
Matt is serving as a third year VISTA for CASH Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to providing financial literacy services and free tax preparation to low-income working families of Monroe County. He is focused on making the volunteer mobilization efforts sustainable by maintaining partnerships with local colleges, faith groups and other communities in the greater Rochester area. As tax season approaches, Matt's focus shifts to further streamline the tax preparation process to make the experience as enjoyable and easy as possible.
The College at Brockport
Sociology/Women & Gender Studies
Melissa Szurgyi is a year three VISTA at the Rochester City School District Attendance Department. Melissa is focused on reducing chronic absenteeism within the school district through analyzing data from the department's monthly "Attendance Blitz" programs, and also finding community partners in Rochester who can help to alleviate the reasons behind student absenteeism. Additionally, she will be researching other districts' asset-based initiatives to reduce chronic absence, in order to develop strategies promoting positive communication regarding student attendance. Through these objectives, she and the Attendance Department hope to keep students in school regularly so that they can reach high school graduation.
RCSD: Making a Connection
University of Rochester
Anthropology & English
Natalie is serving as a first year VISTA with the Rochester City School District's Office of Adult and Career Education Services (OACES). She is working with a division of OACES called the Making a Connection (MAC) Academy, a program for new Americans age 16 and older who are not currently enrolled in a school. MAC assists with the transition to life in the United States and envisions that new Americans will strive towards prosperity through advanced training, employment, or post-secondary education opportunities. Natalie will liaise with community members to develop greater awareness and support for the MAC Academy, develop new promotional materials and recruitment strategies, assist in the grant-writing process, and work to ensure the financial sustainability of the program.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County
Roberts Wesleyan College
Theresa is serving at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County's office supporting Rochester's 4-H program which promotes positive youth development. This is done by hosting programs in community areas that create safe spaces and opportunities to teach knowledge and life skills to youth. As a first year VISTA for this project, she will be marketing the program, locating potential community sites to hold programs, and recruiting, screening, and training volunteers.
Jefferson Family Medicine
University of Rochester
Thy is serving at Jefferson Family Medicine, where she hopes to continue the excellent work of the previous VISTA in developing methods for sustainability. She will be improving health parameters for current patients through volunteer exercise and wellness programs in addition to promoting preventative care. She looks forward to refining the current outreach strategies and create newer ways to improve patients' health.