Hannah Dworsky
OACES: Office of Adult and Career Education - Refugee Programs
Binghamton University
Political Science
Hannah is serving at OACES through RCSD. Her mission is to build partnerships with the local colleges along with other community organizations to enhance the capabilities of OACES. She is identifying and assessing barriers to education, health, and economic success. Her work will be more concentrated on supporting the Refugee Social Service Program (RSSP) which integrates a multitude of job preparation services for students 16 and up.
Taylor Plourde
City of Rochester - Office of Community Wealth Building
Roberts Wesleyan College
Communications and Media
Taylor is serving with the City of Rochester in the Office of Community Wealth Building. The office utilizes cross-sector collaboration to advance community wealth in the city of Rochester through the development and implementation of wealth building policies, programs, initiatives, and systems throughout the community. She will be working to launch some of the offices programs that provide financial literacy training and to connect the office to other organizations in the city.
Jesus Flores
Allendale Columbia Summer LEAP Program
The College at Brockport
Jesus is serving as the Capacity Building and Community Engagement Associate at Allendale Columbia Summer LEAP, a summer learning program for students with low income from the Rochester City School District. He is working to leverage partnerships with community-based and educational organizations to build capacity and lower barriers to educational success. His goal is to support high-quality summer learning by enhancing volunteer effectiveness and increasing fundraising and in-kind support.
Mike Dondorfer
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County
University of Rochester
Mike was selected to serve at Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) as a 4-H Urban Education volunteer. 4H is a department within CCE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the community on the research conducted at Cornell University. Mike will help to promote the four pillars of 4-H youth development: healthy living, civic engagement, agriculture & food systems, and STEM education. He will mainly be leveraging connections with insitutions of higher education to engage local college students with their communities, but also help establish and support clubs that expand essential life skills for low-income Rochester youths thus alleviating the effects of poverty.
Gabrielle Henry
David T. Kearns Center
University of Rochester
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Gabrielle is serving at the David T. Kearns Center as the Alumni Engagement Specialist for their Upward Bound pre-college program. As a second-year VISTA, Gabi will help to maintain and strengthen relationships between Upward Bound alumni and the Kearns Center, and create and improve the avenues by which the Center supports their Upward Bound alumni. They will also be organizing Upward Bound class reunion events, assisting the Upward Bound Alumni Ambassadors, and developing workshops addressing the challenges faced by alumni of the program.
Jackie Bange
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Jackie is serving with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester. Her goals are to help develop a comprehensive recruitment plan and build sustainable corporate and community partnerships. She will also work to enrich the mentor matching process, implement evaluation systems, and enhance the mentorship experience for local volunteers, children, and families.
Jonah Goldstein
CCSI/RCSD School #17
SUNY Geneseo
English and Anthropology
Jonah is serving as the Green Communities Coordinator at Enrico Fermi School No. 17. He is tasked with continuing and expanding the Green Communities Initiative at the school, an effort which involves: convening green initiative work groups; developing and implementing green resource protocols; maintaining and forming new community partnerships; assisting in the development of sustainability-based curricular material; and organizing community outreach events to connect members of the JOSANA neighborhood with important resources, such as the school's greenhouse and community kitchen.
Katlin Whitmoyer
Greentopia: Green Visions
St. John Fisher College
Katlin is serving with Greentopia: GreenVisions as a Program Assistant. GreenVisions is a not for profit organization that provides work-force development training for at-risk youth ages 17-22 in the JOSANA neighborhood of Rochester, NY and facilitates projects to beautify and increase foot traffic in the High Falls neighborhood. The program provides work experience to those whom have never held steady employment. In addition, the program members participate in the License to Drive Program in addition to OSHA training. The goals of the program include helping members secure long term employment before graduating. Katlin’s goals for her year of service includes creating a partnership between St. John Fisher College and GreenVisions as well as other not for profits and other area colleges.
Jason Wolf
OACES: Community Liaison
Rochester Institute of Technology
Jason is serving at the Rochester affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI Rochester provides an array of classes, support groups, and presentations that educate and support people living with mental illness, and their families and friends. This serves to reduce stigma, connect people to support, and strengthen communities. As a first year VISTA, he will review current programming, improve internal office procedures and data handling, and strengthen ties with local universities.
Eleanor Haase
Law NY
University of Rochester
Eleanor is serving with LawNY as a Legal Access Coordinator trying to create partnerships with local high schools, colleges, and youth agencies to build their capacity. She is doing this by developing systems to provide increased access to civil legal services for families in the Rochester community, while also promoting the understanding of the role of attorneys and the legal system to get students interested in the legal profession.
Joseph Pasko
Cameron Community Ministries
College of the Holy Cross
Joe is serving at Cameron Community Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing hope to their community through emergency services, engagement, education and empowerment. As a first year VISTA, Joe will be bolstering the depth, quality and consistency of Cameron’s youth programs in an effort to bridge the academic, social and emotional achievement gap that children of the Cameron community face. He will work to develop curriculum and programs for the new Cameron Teen Center, as well as develop methods to track their effectiveness. The Cameron Teen Center will specifically provide services to teens from 7th-9th grades.
Sumayia Islam
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Rochester
Nazareth College
Sumayia is serving at Consumer Credit Counselling Services. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting individuals and families deal with their finances through methods such as confidential counseling and education services. As a VISTA, Sumayia will focus on coordinating the COACH program. COACH is a 9 month long program which provides free financial counseling through volunteer financial coaches to increase the financial well-being of individuals who have a low to moderate income.
Sophia McRae
St. Mark's and St. John's
University of Rochester
Sophia is happily serving with St. Mark’s and St. John’s, an organization seeking to address food insecurity in the Beechwood neighborhood through their network of seven E.D.E.N. gardens and a weekly food pantry. As a first year VISTA, Sophia is building several processes to institutionalize organizational knowledge, collect vital data, evaluate new and long-standing programs, and improve volunteer coordination across SMSJ’s services. She is also increasing outreach on behalf her host site by forging new partnerships in Beechwood and by creating programs that increase neighborhood engagement with SMSJ services, particularly in the E.D.E.N. gardens.
Swellar Zhuo
Girl Scouts of Western New York
Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Swellar is serving at Girl Scouts of Western New York, an organization that builds confidence in girls to be future leaders. As a third year VISTA, Swellar oversees and coordinates STEM programs, cultivates new STEM partnerships and improves public outreach to engage families and communities in understanding and supporting girls in STEM. She will also be training volunteers, finalizing resources for information on STEM, and developing a list of small grants for troops and girls.