MCN and AmeriCorps VISTAs

As an intermediary for the AmeriCorps VISTA program, MCN manages VISTA members assigned to different projects within the community aimed at fighting poverty and investing in individuals, families, and the community.

VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at nonprofits that strengthen, inform, and connect with immigrant and refugee communities and communities of color. With passion, commitment, and hard work, VISTAs create or expand programs to build the capacity of these critical organizations in our community.

 
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Jackie Schell

Systems Development Specialist, African Development Center (ADC)

Jackie graduated from the University of Minnesota this spring with a degree in Global Studies. She will be spending her year as a VISTA as the Systems Development Specialist at the African Development Center where she will be helping create a data management system and a more robust volunteer program. In her free time she enjoys knitting, hammocking, and exploring the Twin Cities craft breweries and restaurants.

 
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Kedir Furfessa

Fund Development & Volunteer Recruitment Specialist, African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS)

Kedir was born and raised in Ethopia. He attended Ethiopian Adventist College where he received a B.A. in Accounting and a B.A. in Management. After college, he gained experience working at various organization and companies related to economic development. In 2017, he decided to apply all his knowledge and skills and applied to be an AmeriCorps VISTA. He has served with African Economic Development Solutions since November and is dedicated to positively changing his community.

 
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Jacob Alex

Development Specialist, American Indian Family Center

Jacob graduated from Washington University in St. Louis (Wash U) with a Biology and Healthcare Management degree in the spring of 2018. There he was involved with organizations such as Strive for College, Food Recovery Network, Sigma Chi, and College Council as well as medical research at the Wash U School of Medicine. In his free time, Jacob enjoys playing soccer, watching Game of Thrones, and working to improve the lives of others.

 
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Tori Dylla

Community Engagement Specialist, All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC)

Tori is an energetic new gradauate from the University of MN Twin Cities where they centered their studies around human rights and justice. Tori is beginning their nonprofit career working with All Parks Alliance for Change to preserve manufactured housing as a source of decent and affordable housing in the Midwest. After their year of service as a VISTA, they plan to continue working to expand affordable housing.

 
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Katherine Medina

Community Capacity Building SpecialistCasa de Esperenza

Katherine is a recent Health Science graduate from James Madison University. She is originally from Virginia, but has moved to Minnesota to work as a VISTA for Casa de Esperanza. She is excited to work as their Community Capacity Building Specialist for a year. After her year of service, she plans on going to graduate school to study public health at the University of Minnesota. Katherine loves helping others and is sure this will be a wonderful experience!

 
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TObey Slagenweit-Coffman

Community Training Coordinator, Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota (CAIR-MN)

Tobey is a Conflict Engagement Specialist that works to improve how conflict can be resolved to the betterment of all parties involved. Tobey is happily married to his husband of 10 years. It is his hope that he can help improve communications in situations that include healthcare, the LGBT, and Faith Communities.

 
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Tyra Payer

Evaluation & Communications Specialist, Dream of Wild Health

Tyra Payer (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) is originally from Belcourt, North Dakota. She moved to Fargo and graduated from North Dakota State University in 2017. Tyra completed her first year of service in the Public Allies AmeriCorps program and led community engagement at a neighborhood organization. She plans on continuing serving Native communities after she completes her year as a VISTA.

 
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Anika Johnson

Outreach/Fundraising Specialist, Exodus Lending

Anika Johnson is a recent graduate from the University of St. Thomas where she gained a passion for social justice and fighting inequity. She hopes to learn community development skills that she can continue to use as she moves forward in her career. 

 
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Paige myers

Communication & Volunteer Program Specialist, Frogtown Farm

Paige grew up in central Iowa and recently graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Global Resource Systems and Agriculture & Society. She is currently enjoying exploring and learning more about the Twin Cities. Paige is serving with Frogtown Farm in the Frogtown or Thomas-Dale neighborhood, which is the most diverse neighborhood in Saint Paul. Paige is passionate about sustainable agriculture and local food access, and enjoys traveling outside of the U.S.

 
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Emilina Guimont

Events and Marketing CoordinatorKa Joog

Emilina recently graduated from the University of Minnesota: Twin Cities with a major in Global Studies and a minor in Religious Studies. She will be spending her VISTA year with Ka Joog, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of Somali youth through community engagement and education opportunities. Emilina will also be event planning for Somali Week, a week-long celebration hosted by Ka Joog every year in the Twin Cities. 

 
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Sharon Rebar (Second year VISTA)

Administrative Systems Developer, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM)

Sharon is a retired social work administrator with two adult children and four young adult grandchildren all of whom live out-of-state. In the past three years, Sharon was accepted into the Peace Corps twice and served briefly in the Republic of Georgia and the Philippines. Due to circumstances beyond her control she was unable to complete service in either location. Abandoning her dream of serving in the Peace Corps, Sharon decided to submit an application to AmeriCorps VISTA to serve people by working in a minority-led nonprofit agency. Much to her delight, Sharon will be working as an Administrative Systems Developer at the Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota (LACM) in Minneapolis, MN.

 
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Jacob Vang

Marketing & Communications Specialist, MIGIZI

Jacob graduated from the University of North Dakota (UND) with a Marketing and Management degree in the spring of 2018. There, he was involved with many opportunities such as, but not limited to, being a part of UND’s Television Center/Marketing Creative Services as a brand journalist and having the privilege to conduct a market research project based in China. He is eager to apply his experiences and knowledge to better benefit the community and society as a whole. In his free time, Jacob travels out of the state, explores the Twin Cities for good eats and cafes, does photography, and is learning to become an aircraft pilot. He also considers himself a “music junkie” and deadpan comedian.

 
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Michelle Chang

Inclusion & Engagement Coordinator, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Michelle Chang is a second generation Hmong American woman from Brooklyn Center, MN. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University with a B.A. in Asian Studies and is currently working on her M.A. in International Studies, with a focus on International Development with Concordia University, Irvine. Michelle is excited to learn more about the nonprofit sector through her year partnering with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits as the Inclusion and Engagement Coordinator. In her free time, Michelle enjoys buying books she never reads, traveling, recovering her Hmong identity, and foodie culture.

 
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Kat McCaffery

VISTA Leader, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Kat grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from Simpson College with a B.A. in English and minored in Sociology. Her first term in AmeriCorps was with La Puente in Alamosa, Colorado as a Summer Volunteer Coordinator, and served a second AmeriCorps term as a VISTA Development Specialist at the American Indian Family Center in East St. Paul. This year she will be serving as MCN's VISTA Leader where she will be responsible for supporting the personal and professional growth of the VISTA members in this year's cohort. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and being outdoors as well as binging Netflix.

 
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Hannah passmore

Volunteer & Communications Coordinator, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC)

Hannah graduated from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH in the spring of 2018 with a degree in Global and International Studies. She was able to focus much of her academic research on issues in global health, including research conducted abroad in Switzerland. Previously Hannah served as a Summer VISTA in Ohio with a program focused on sustainable community-based agriculture and food access. Hannah is passionate about community-centered health and development. She is excited to be back in Minnesota to work with the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center where she will be focusing on volunteer coordination and communications. In her free time, she loves to cook and bake, read poetry, and attempt to make art and music.

 

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Community Organizer, Neighborhood Development Center (NeDC)

Taylor graduated from Marquette University in May 2017 with a degree in History. After graduation, she did an AmeriCorps term with CollegePossible-Milwaukee, which was a fantastic learning experience. Orginally from Minneapolis, she wanted to move back and pursue service opportunities in the cities. She is extremely excited to work with the Neighborhood Development Alliance as their Community Organizer, connecting residents with the larger St. Paul community. After her service, she plans to head to grad school, pursuing a masters in Public Policy. In her free time, Taylor enjoys reading, drinking coffee, learning as much as possible, and traveling when she can.

 
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Lydia Maendel

House Development CoordinatorNorthside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC)

Lydia graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in May 2018 with a degree in Sustainability, minoring in Urban Studies and Public and Nonprofit Management. She will be spending her VISTA year with the Northside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC), creating and implementing a sustainability plan for the NRRC house and its environmental initiatives. After her service, she plans to get a Master in Urban Planning to support her passion for urban sustainability. In her free time, she is looking forward to exploring the Twin Cities, thrifting, and listening to audiobooks.

 

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Program SpecialistSomali American Parent Association (SAPA)

Katie relocated from Michigan to serve the Somali community in the Twin Cities this year with the Somali American Parent Association. She recently graduated with her associate's degree from the local community college where she is from and looks forward to learning about all of the different cultures and people that call the Twin Cities their home. After this year, she will return to school to study Global Studies and perhaps even attend the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. In her free time, Katie enjoys hanging out with friends, reading, and exploring. 

 
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Ellen Wallingford

Communications & Sustainability Specialist, Standpoint

Ellen recently graduated from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN with a degree in Women and International Development and Sociology. She will be working with Standpoint, a legal aid nonprofit, to develop their communications capacity and social media outreach. She is looking forward to working and gaining experience in legal advocacy and the nonprofit sector and hopes to attend law school in the near future. She enjoys traveling, having visited India and Germany in college, and hopes to continue traveling as much as possible. She also enjoys exploring the cities, yoga and long walks, cooking, reading, and discovering new music.

 
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Pakou Khang

Communications & Development Coordinator,  Women's Initative for Self-Empowerment (WISE)

After graduating from St. Olaf College with a BA in English and Asian Studies, Pakou completed a year of AmeriCorps in Early Childhood Development work and then went on to serve two years as an English Teacher in Peace Corps Thailand. There, she not only helped develop the English curriculum, but she also facilitated leadership, life skills, and gender equity sessions with Thai youths. Pakou is passionate about gender empowerment, working with underrepresented communities, and learning about different cultures! With the Women's Initiative for Self-Empowerment, she will be developing new fundraising strategies to support the professional development and education of immigrant and refugee women.