Are you interested in serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA? Do you have a passion for service and an interest in higher education? Discover the Rhode Island Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTA program:
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, VISTA recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary and remains on the front lines in the fight against poverty.
Rhode Island Campus Compact AmeriCorps VISTAs are full-time AmeriCorps members who address issues facing low-income communities throughout the state with placements at institutions of higher education, urban schools, and community-based organizations. RICC AmeriCorps VISTAs support higher education institutions by building effective campus-community partnerships and connecting them with campus resources such as college access supports, student volunteers, faculty teaching service-learning courses and community work study programs.
VISTAs Currently Serving with RICC
Valerie Castanteen, RIUDL College & Community Sparkplug VISTA, Rhode Island Urban Debate League, Providence, RI
Born in West New York, NJ, Val graduated from the University of Vermont in 2015 and then went directly into AmeriCorps serving with City Year in the Providence School District. Val is interested in developing her competencies in both organizational development and sustainable practices that improve grassroots non-profit work. She is passionate about connecting people in social justice movements as well as creating capacity to empower the voices of the youth. She has an interest in expanding her knowledge of economics and in applying theory and concepts to current social issues in society. This year, she will be serving as a VISTA at the RIUDL (Rhode Island Urban Debate League) where she will be working on building capacity through strengthening and developing partnership models with RIUDL’s higher education partners.
Emily Chantre, College Access Unlimited VISTA, Blackstone Academy, Pawtucket, RI
Emily is a native of Pawtucket, RI, and graduated from Shea High School in 2011 and then Providence College in 2015, where she majored in English/Creative Writing. After graduating college, she served with City Year Providence at Gilbert Stuart Middle School as a mentor/tutor. This year, she is serving at Blackstone Academy Charter School in Pawtucket as the College Access Unlimited VISTA. At this site, she will be assisting seniors with the college application process and anything else related to getting ready for college. Her next step after this year will be to complete a teacher certification program to teach English, which is why she decided to do another year of service: she wanted more experience in a school. Seeing as she was in a middle school last year, being in a high school this year will be a valuable and rewarding experience for her. Emily enjoys writing short stories and photography.
Michael Davis, Campus Community Partnerships VISTA, Providence College, Feinstein Institute, Providence, RI
Mikey graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a focus in social science. While attending JWU, Mikey conducted research on undocumented transgender immigration to the U.S. Mikey has previously spent time working for the Providence Animal Rescue League and continues to volunteer his time working with the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and The Lady Project, an economic development nonprofit based in Providence, RI that connects, inspires, and showcases awesome women doing amazing things. As the Campus-Community Partnerships VISTA at the Feinstein Institute for Public Service at Providence College, Mikey assists in building and maintaining mutually beneficial community partnerships through best practices research and assessment, as well as increasing transparency in communications and partnership processes.
Rodney Derogene, Civic Engagement, College Access & Persistence VISTA, Providence College & Young Voices, Providence, RI
Born and raised in Providence, RI, Rodney recently graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Business and is interested in pursuing a career in Human Resources. His VISTA project is centered at the Feinstein Institute for Public Service and involves civic engagement as well as college access/persistence. He works with the Providence College’s EXPLORE! Program and Young Voices (a local youth activist organization) to build and strengthen college access programming. As an alumnus of Young Voices, Rodney also works to expand the Young Voices alumni network to better support college persistence and promote mentorship among Young Voices participants.
Brittany Moore, College Access Unlimited & Shared VISTA, Blackstone Academy, Pawtucket, RI
Brittany is serving at Central Falls High School as the College Advisor VISTA, assisting in the development of a college-bound culture. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Brittany recently received her Bachelor’s in Education Reform from Hampshire College. She has a passion for non-traditional education and for making higher education resources accessible for all students.
Megan Ottati, Health and Wellness VISTA, Salve Regina University & Martin Luther King Community Center, Newport, RI
Megan recently moved to Newport, RI from New York after spending her summer in Cape Cod, MA for an internship. Having graduated from SUNY Oneonta in upstate New York in May 2016 a year early, she is spending her senior/gap year serving with AmeriCorps VISTA. She loves running, and will be running a half marathon in October 2016. It’ll be her first half marathon, so she is very excited about it! Megan is serving at two different sites in Newport, Martin Luther King Community Center and Salve Regina University. She is currently working on outreach for the Diabetes Prevention Program at MLK, and has spent her time at Salve Regina both recruiting and helping out with planned service projects. Her goal for her VISTA year is to strengthen partner relationships within the community at both sites.
Samantha Reback, Students Teaching Students Institute Coordinator, Breakthrough Providence, Providence, RI
Originally from the Washington, DC metro area, Sam graduated from Brown University in 2016 with a B.A. in English and Linguistics. While at Brown, she first gained exposure to Rhode Island’s educational landscape through the Swearer Center for Public Service, and taught at Breakthrough Providence’s Summerbridge program from 2014 to 2015. She is excited to be back at Breakthrough as the Students Teaching Students Institute Coordinator. In her new role, Sam is focusing on Breakthrough’s expanded impact initiatives through various projects including building their professional development capacity, getting school credit for their high school and college-aged teachers, and working to diversify the teacher pipeline in Rhode Island. After AmeriCorps, she is planning to go back to Brown for a Master of Arts in Teaching, focusing on Secondary English. In her free time, Sam practices and teaches taekwondo, enjoys reading poetry, cooking, and learning to ride a bike.
Monica Roth, Partnerships for Success AmeriCorps VISTA, Rhode Island Campus Compact, Providence, RI
Monica graduated from Brown University in May 2016 with a degree in Archaeology and the Ancient World. While at Brown, she played rugby and participated in Athletes in Action (a Christian athlete group). Her interests include history, religious studies, and higher education. Monica is currently serving at the Rhode Island Campus Compact office in Providence, where she supports Partnerships for Success (PFS) and is helping to grow the capacity of campus-community partnerships in order to achieve the statewide Postsecondary Attainment Goal set by Governor Gina Raimondo.
Justin Thomas, Community Engagement & Outreach Specialist, Roger Williams University, School of Continuing Studies, Providence, RI
Justin is serving as a VISTA at the Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies. He is from Rhode Island and is happy to be serving in his community. Justin graduated with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications and loves telling stories through video. He is excited this year for the opportunity to not only tell a story but also to be part of the change he would like to see!
Juan Wilson, Community Development Program Coordinator, Roger Williams University, School of Continuing Studies, Providence, RI
Juan graduated from University of Rhode Island in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in TMD (Textile, Fashion Merchandising & Design). Juan was introduced to the VISTA program by his father, and after learning about the VISTA position at Roger Williams University, he was elated. The goal of Juan’s VISTA project is to assist in the development of the competencies and public image of RWU’s Community Development degree program by leveraging the program’s community engagement efforts and networks.
Do you have questions, or want to know more about joining AmeriCorps VISTA?