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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Shonni Krengel

Systems Development Specialist, African Development Center

Shonni recently graduated from the University of St. Thomas, majoring in psychology and double minoring in sociology and justice and peace studies. She is passionate about racial equity and is excited to work with the African Development Center for the next year.

 
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CHad Reed

Outreach Coordinator, All Parks Alliance for Change (APAC)

Chad recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Environmental Design. He is especially interested in issues related to housing and transportation, and plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Urban/Regional Planning.

 
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Patrick Tschida

Community Engagement Coordinator, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Patrick is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RSVP), serving in Tanzania & has two degrees in public health administration, one from the U of MN, and one from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

 
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anna benker

Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, International Institute of Minnesota (IIM)

Anna graduated from Hamline University in 2017, and just completed a Master's program in sociology at York University in Toronto. She's passionate about refugee and forced migration issues, and is very excited to have the opportunity to return to the Twin Cities to work with the International Institue of MN. In her free time Anna likes to take walks in the city, go to coffee shops and listen to comedy podcasts.

 
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merissa larson

Nonprofit Sustainability Specialist, Isuroon

Merissa graduated from Central College in May 2018 with a BA in Biology and Environmental Science. There she was involved in the college's Track and Field program, sustainability club, and an ambassador for the college. After graduation, she volunteers for a non-profit called Minnesota International Non-profit Network where she continues her passion for sustainable international development. She will be spending her VISTA service as a Non-profit Sustainability Specialist at Isuroon where she will be increasing operational efficiencies for Isuroon’s ASD Programming and developing organizational capacity to provide these services to families living in poverty.

 
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Sharon Rebar (third 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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tori dylla (second year vista)

VISTA Leader, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

Tori is returning to MCN's VISTA program as a VISTA Leader after finishing their first term at 826 MSP, formerly the Mid-Continent Oceanographic Institute. They have strong backgrounds in both community organizing and communications and development. Tori is looking forward to growing as an advocate by supporting the personal and professional growth of this year's cohort. In their free time, Tori enjoys gardening, cooking delicous vegan meals, and writing creatively.

 
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Lena vdakes

Community Liaison, Neighborhood Development Center (NeDA)

 
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lin james

Sustainability CoordinatorNorthside Residents Redevelopment Council (NRRC)

Lin is retired and has an M.S. in Environmental Studies, Sustainability focus. She wanted to continue working on sustainability issues, and found a VISTA position that allows her to help communities become more sustainable while also giving her the opportunity to serve others.

 
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Bree baylis

Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Power or People Leadership Institute (POPLI)

Breanna will be entering her last year at the University of Minnesota and working on a Bachelor‘s in Youth Studies.

 
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Madeline Weston

Communications & Sustainability Specialist, Standpoint

Madeline graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2019 and is excited to begin her year of service with AmeriCorps in the Twin Cities. Madeline will be working with Standpoint, a legal-aid non-profit that serves domestic and sexual abuse survivors, advocates, and attorneys in the state of Minnesota. Her primary focus will be expanding their visibility among underserved communities and assisting staff attorneys and advocates on the Youth Labor Trafficking Project. In her free time, Madeline enjoys spending time with her dogs, cooking, and traveling.

 
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Nabiha Mansoor

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

Nabiha graduated with a BA in English Literature and minor in Gender Studies from Knox College in June 2019. She is excited to begin working with and learning from WISE in St. Paul.