Meet the VISTAS

Lindsey Bennett, VISTA Leader, United Way of Weld County

 
Gabriella Leader

Gabriella Latona, VISTA Leader, United Way of Weld County

Gabriella just moved to Greeley from Philadelphia, PA. She did two years of undergrad at Champlain College in Burlington, VT and then transferred to Temple University to study Communications. She found a drive and passion through volunteering and working within nonprofits. Gab worked with a small grass roots non-profit, Art Sphere Inc., for the past few years. She was volunteering as an art teacher at rec. centers around Philly, working on events and helping with ASI’s social media, when the Director of Art Sphere recommended the AmeriCorps program City Year to her. Gab applied and was accepted to City Year Philadelphia. She served at a school in North Philadelphia, helping a class of seventh grade boys improve academics and social emotional development. After her year with City Year, Gab was accepted to be a VISTA with PHENND (Philadelphia Higher Education Network of Neighborhood Development). She was placed in a school in South Philadelphia as the Community Partnerships Coordinator, improving partner relationships to help improve the overall quality of the school. Gabriella was drawn to the UWWC VISTA Leader position because of her positive experiences with AmeriCorps and her former experience working with United Way of Greater Philadelphia. She really believes in United Way’s practices and values. She is excited to be serving with UWWC and AmeriCorps VISTA as a leader and is hoping her experience will be useful to the other VISTAs. 

 

 

 

katie McLaughlin

Katie McLaughlin, Poudre Learning Center 

Katie McLaughlin has lived the majority of her life in New England. She was raised in Barrington, Rhode Island and moved to Maine after finishing high school. In May of 2015 Katie graduated with a bachelor of arts in Community Health at the University of Maine at Farmington. In Maine, Katie was able to explore her curiosity of the outdoors and became involved in the university’s recreation program. Following graduation, she finished an internship at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. There she served as a part of the seasonal community helping to support the diverse learning opportunities. She has also spent a number of hours volunteering at the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick, ME; where she offered support working in the in-take office. Trailing her love of the outdoors and passion for strengthening communities, Katie will spend her next year working at the Poudre Learning Center. Here she has been assisting in marketing and funding of new InSTEM building, as well as recruiting volunteers

 Kathy Deloso

Katrina Deloso, School District 6 Food Hub 

Katrina grew up "all over the place" but her two most recent homes were California and Chicago. She studied biology at the University of Chicago, and after graduation decided to take one step back towards the West Coast by moving to Colorado. In college she worked in low-resource schools and hospitals on children's arts education and health initiatives from obesity to women's health, so is thrilled to combine these experiences working at Weld County School District 6 Nutrition Services. She will be working on grant writing and promotion of the Farm to School Food Hub, school gardens, and student nutrition, and plans to continue working in the government and non-profit sector following her VISTA year.
 april abbey

April Abbey, Salida Del Sol Academy 

April is from Longmont, Colorado and for her bachelor's degree she attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. This past May she graduated from CSU with a dual degree in Spanish and International Studies. April is passionate about the Spanish language and Latin American cultures; She loves that her new VISTA site at Salida del Sol Academy allows her to express those passions. In 2014 April studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile for a semester and was able to explore the beautiful country from north to south. She also spent a few weeks traveling in Peru.This summer April spent every Monday and Wednesday interning for a program called Teens for Food Justice, gardening with a group of at-risk teens in Fort Collins. Besides traveling and practicing her Spanish, April loves spending her time outdoors hiking, camping, and swimming at Horsetooth reservoir.

 

Andrea Ronquist 

Andrea Ronquist, A Kid’s Place 

Andrea is from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, graduated from the University of Michigan in 2011 with a B.A. Degree in History, and migrated to Steamboat Springs, CO to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a ski bum.  She tore one ACL in a ski accident & one slipping on a bottle cap, which proved a hardcore adventure lifestyle was not her calling.  However, she loved Colorado, the mountains, sports, hiking, camping, biking, running, and basically all outdoor activities, so she decided to remain in the state and pursue non-profit work.  Her first paid position in the non-profit realm was through AmeriCorps & Partners Mentoring Youth (in Routt County), where she worked as a school-based mentor for a year.  Following that, she ventured to Tanzania to explore international non-profit organizations, then moved back to Steamboat for another fun winter.  In May 2014, she returned to Tanzania to pursue a position as the Director of a primary school - which is also an American non-profit organization.  When Andrea came back to the USA in December 2015, she worked at Grand Targhee Resort for the winter, skied with caution, and realized she never wanted to work in a restaurant again.  Since she missed Colorado & non-profit work, she headed to the Front Range and discovered an AmeriCorps VISTA opportunity at A Kid's Place.  Although in recent years she has explored the idea of education administration, Andrea now ideally hopes to obtain a Master's Degree in Business/Non-Profit Management and lead a Colorado-based non-profit organization that provides educational opportunities and/or supports healthy youth development.
Laura Silla   

Laura Silla, Sunrise Community Health Center 

Laura hails from the far off land of Colorado Springs, CO. Fulfilling a desire to explore the vastness of the USA, Laura decided to go to school in the Philadelphia region, where she double majored in biological studies and Italian language/Italian studies at Bryn Mawr College. There, she developed a keen interest in both the culinary arts and healthcare, specializing in the undoubtedly healthy world of pastries and sweets.  A bit after graduation, Laura went to Italy and got a job as a Biological Sciences and English Assistant at Liceo Scientifico Galileo Ferraris High School in Lombardy. While there, Laura absorbed as much as she could from the culture, fashion, and culinary scene of Milan and the Lombardy countryside. She also volunteered with refugees and at the local hospital, making her more cognizant of barriers in health care and differences between healthcare systems domestic and abroad. She currently is serving at Sunrise Community Health, hoping to gain an even greater understanding of health inequities in the US. In her spare time, Laura enjoys cooking foreign cuisine’s traditional dishes, reading, listening to podcasts, and sampling as many coffee shops as possible. If you want to split a charcuterie board and swap stories of history, language, art, technology, and culture, make sure to contact her immediately!
 breanna olsen  

Breanna Olson, The Greeley Dream Team 

Breanna was born in Denver and raised in a small town in Platteville, Colorado. Bre recently graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Human Services and a Minor in Psychology. Her last year of college she had to choose an internship; she chose The Greeley Dream Team and immediately fell in love with the organization. She is currently working with the Dream Team as their VISTA. Bre loves everything that the Dream Team has to offer and loves exploring her home state.

Amanda Picone

 

Amanda Picone, Brigit's Bounty and Brigit's Village

Amanda hails from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, just north of NYC and south of the bountiful Hudson River Valley, and has always been intrigued by the earth and its varying inhabitants. She pursued a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. People often ask what made her move from the East Coast to Colorado, and the answer is simple: Manifest Destiny. Amanda is thrilled to be working with both Brigit's Bounty and Brigit's Village, an educational community garden and an affordable senior housing initiative. While studying at Eckerd she was involved in the student garden club, which sparked an interest in reconnecting people with where their food comes from. She is incredibly passionate about local food efforts, sustainable development, and working with people of all ages.

 

Gabrielle Petty

Gabrielle Petty, Poudre Learning Center 

Gabrielle Petty hails from South Carolina and obtained a BS degree in 2013 in Geology and Environmental Science from the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks). Prior to coming to Greeley, she worked at a non-profit in South Carolina that supported sustainable, local food access for county residents and also spent a year in AmeriCorps NCCC volunteering with various non-profits around the country. Gabrielle is excited to be working at the Poudre Learning Center and plans to use this as a learning experience in how to connect and educate all types of individuals with their local environments using different activities and education.

 

Kyle Lutteroty

 

Kyle Lutteroty, Partners Mentoring Youth

 
Kyle is from Levittown, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Philadelphia.  For the past two years Kyle served as a corps member and team leader for AmeriCorps NCCC around Colorado. Kyle enjoys basketball, hiking, exploring, and eating. For the next year, he will be working with Partners Mentoring Youth as the Community Impact Coordinator.  He will be  recruiting mentors, fundraising for the organization, and marketing efforts for Partners' special events.
 

 

Marcus Cervantez, UWWC Resource Development

 

Alexandra Rockwood

Alexandra Rockwood, High Plains Library District

Alexandra was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She relocated to St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest city, in 2005. Alexandra attended Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She graduated from FSU in May of 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology and Family & Child Science. Her ultimate career goal is to work in social services, helping at-risk youth and families living in poverty. Being from Florida, she loves to explore the outdoors and is excited to visually experience all the beauty that Colorado has to offer. As a VISTA, Alexandra will be working for the High Plains Library District Foundation. Their mission is to cultivate information, inspiration, and entertainment for our communities by raising funds to sustain and create literacy programs, collection development, technology upgrades, and capital improvements for our libraries. Alexandra hopes to gain valuable nonprofit experience during her time as a VISTA.

Madeline Hamby-Scott

Madeline Hamby-Scott, Youth and Family Connections

Madeline recently graduated from Auburn University in Alabama where she studied Nonprofit organizations, sustainability, religious studies and philosophy. Currently she is serving at Youth and Family Connections in Greeley, Colorado where she hopes to create a marketing plan to grow the awareness and support of community members for the organization. Madeline has a great appreciation for the natural environment and one day hopes to be able to aid in the cure to the world water crisis by working for a nonprofit that builds sustainable water filtration systems. She loves graphic designs, traveling and her tuxedo cat, Thomas.

 

thumb Sara Chico

Sara Chico, VISTA, Rural Communities Resource Center, Healthy Futures, Yuma

Sara was raised in North Carolina, but has come to call Colorado home. She graduated from Appalachian State University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Cellular/Molecular Biology. She now serves the Rural Communities Resource Center in Northeast Colorado, working to promote healthy development in association to LiveWell Colorado’s HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) campaign. During her year as an Americorps VISTA, Sara hopes to develop a deeper understanding for the challenges of rural healthcare before attending osteopathic medical school in 2017. As often as time would permit, she is quick to venture into the Rocky Mountains and is preparing to return to the East Coast once more to backpack the Appalachian Trail before starting medical school.

thumb Sara Mooers

Sara Mooers, Family Resource Center, Youth & Family Programs, Sterling

Sara recently graduated from Oregon State University with a B. S. in Human Development and Family Sciences. She loves the outdoors whether she is hiking, swimming, or just hanging out with friends. If possible, Sara would adopt every dog and cat on the planet. She loves working with children and hopes to become either a teacher or a social worker someday. Sara’s AmeriCorps VISTA position involves working at the Family Resource Center and the RE1 Valley School District in Sterling, CO. Sara is excited to get to know the community and the surrounding towns. Sara has never been to Colorado, so this year will be an adventure to remember.