Meet the new NC Afterschool Corps

September 5, 2017

It’s back to school time for North Carolina students, and our new AmeriCorps VISTA members are thinking about what happens after the school day ends. The NC Afterschool Corps is a new project that places AmeriCorps VISTA members with afterschool programs to build organizational capacity and strengthen a partnership between a local college and an afterschool provider.

The 2017 -2018 cohort currently includes 10 Afterschool Corps members serving with campuses and community non-profits. Over the course of their year of service, Corps members will work to increase volunteer involvement and cash or in-kind resources, support development of Design for Change programming and other enriching curricula, and raise community awareness through Lights on Afterschool and other events. The cohort also includes 1 member hosted by UNC Pembroke who is working in the area of disaster relief and recovery.

VISTA members (L-R): Sheppard, Maupin, Jimenez, Baker, Nickel, Bryant, Castillo, Lowe, Thuma, and Bell. V for VISTA at the Afterschool Corps orientation.

Meet the Afterschool Corps

Brian Bryant
Host Site: BUMP: The Triangle (Durham)

My name is Brian M. Bryant. I am from Fayetteville, NC and I graduated from Morehouse College (B.A., Religion, minor Spanish) and Duke Divinity School (M.Div.). I am a singer-songwriter, bodybuilder and music lover. During my undergrad tenure, I participated in the Morehouse College Glee Club and Morehouse-Spelman String Quartet. I wanted to be a VISTA to help combat poverty and empower our youth through music. I am looking forward to learning more about how music and songwriting can empower youth in a non-profit organization.

Christopher Baker
Host Site: William Peace University (Raleigh)

I am entering my second year as a VISTA at WPU. I’m excited to expand our program to a new site, and bring new students on to help with the schools here in Raleigh.

Faith Lowe
Host Site: Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater High Point (High Point)

I am Faith Lowe from Madison, North Carolina. I graduated from High Point University in 2017 with a double degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I will be a VISTA for the Boys and Girls Clubs in High Point North Carolina. I had interned at the Boys and Girls Club in High Point during my time at HPU and thought it would be a good chance to continue working there as well as continue to work in the High Point Community.

Jessica Maupin
Host Site: Davidson College (Davidson)

My name is Jessica Maupin and my hometown is Richmond, KY. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English from Eastern Kentucky University and am a certified yoga instructor. I have a strong interest in nature and love being outdoors as much as possible. I will be working with The Center for Civic Engagement at Davidson College and the Ada Jenkins Center to help grow and improve after school programming for low income children and families. I’m very excited to start my assignment and learn about the needs of the families and children that these programs serve.

Brittney DeWitte
Host Site: East Carolina University (Greenville)

My name is Brittney DeWitte, and I am working as the NC Afterschool Corps VISTA at East Carolina University. I am primarily responsible for building the capacity of the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plain by connecting them with ECU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and their signature programs, specifically their mentor and tutoring program, Pirate PALS. I graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Recreational Therapy, so naturally, I am thrilled to be able to complete a year of service at my alma mater! As an undergrad, I worked as a Resident Advisor for three years, an Orientation Assistant for three summers, and spent much of my free time taking advantage of service and leadership opportunities through the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership. When I have a moment to myself, I usually spent it reading, painting, playing my ukulele, hanging out with my cat Coco, or binge-watching various Netflix shows with friends.

Jessie Thuma
Host Site: High Point Leap (High Point)

My name is Jessie Thuma and I am serving as the Development Coordinator for High Point Leap. I am from Boston, MA, and I just graduated from the University of Virginia this past May with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a second major in Women and Gender Studies. I spent the last year and a half of school studying the effect of sea level rise and habitat loss on native bees for my senior thesis, and plan to go back to graduate school to continue my research. I worked with America READS in college and really wanted to be part of a similar education and enrichment effort during my AmeriCorps service, which brought me to NC Campus Compact. In my free time I love cooking, reading, and being outside any chance I get. This year I am really looking forward to putting on some big fundraising events for the High Point community with Leap and to working with the wonderful staff at my host site!

Katherin Castillo
Host Site: Duke University (Durham)

My name is Katherin Castillo and I was born and raised in a small town called Mount Airy. I am a recent graduate of Appalachian State University. My bachelors degree is in Criminal Justice. During my years at ASU, I loved to volunteer in any type of community event. As I searched for my next step in life after graduation, I wanted to find something that would involve community outreach. This led me to apply to become an AmeriCorps member! I am excited to meet new people and help make a difference in Durham! For fun, I love to hike and hang out with friends.

Nastaha Kinto
Host Site: Lumbee Tribe (Pembroke)

I earned an M.A.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialty in Addictions from UNC Pembroke in Pembroke, NC. In graduate school, I was one of the founding members of a Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) at UNCP. I also served as President of the student organization “Be Brave” that was created as an extension of the CRC. As a VISTA for the Lumbee Tribe Boys & Girls Club, I will work to increase volunteer involvement and financial resources for all seven club sites. I will also work with Lumbee leaders to design a curriculum that teaches Lumbee history and culture to Native youth. I am a mother of three sons and a daughter-in-law. For fun, I like going to football games, gardening and painting.

Natalie Sheppard
Host Site: UNC Asheville (Asheville)

My name is Natalie Sheppard, and I’m new to the VISTA program. I will be working through UNCA. I have a B.A. in Communications, with a journalism emphasis. What has appealed to me the most about becoming a part of the VISTA program, are the amazing opportunities to meet other people and do great service. In my free time I enjoy sushi and listening to music.

Sandra Jimenez Guillermo
Host Site: Pfeiffer University (Misenheimer)

I will be working as a VISTA at Pfeiffer University. I graduated from Pfeiffer in May with a bachelor’s in General Biology. I am originally from California but raised in NC. While at Pfeiffer, I have been heavily involved in service opportunities and events, including Angel Tree, Student Government Association, ProGrads, and Francis Center. The thing that appeal to me the most about working with NC Campus Compact was that they gave me the opportunity to work with Pfeiffer. Also, coming from a low income family, they allow me to work with kids who are in the same position that I was in. Part of my job will be to expand and give learning opportunities to these children.

Ashleigh Bell
Disaster Relief and Recovery AmeriCorps VISTA

Host Site: UNC Pembroke (Pembroke)

I graduated this past May with my Masters of Social Work degree from UNC Pembroke, where I also received my Bachelors of Social Work. I am from Robeson County. I began my year of service at UNC Pembroke in February with the office of community and civic engagement focusing on disaster relief and community resilience. I was encouraged to apply by a friend. Once I found out the position was community outreach and working with the CCE office, where I have worked before, I was eager to join. I enjoy being involved with community, reading, being with family & friends and working out. I am looking forward to learning more about my community and how UNCP and Robeson County can better prepare for disasters and recovery. Among the projects I’m managing is a “Disaster Preparedness & Relief Fair” on Saturday, September 9th located at Pembroke Town Park. This event is also in honor of 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Learn more about the fair here.

Afterschool Corps members will help sites implement enrichment lessons based on Design for Change curriculum.