New NC Afterschool Corps VISTA members begin service year

August 22, 2018

Last week NC Campus Compact welcomed the newest NC Afterschool Corps members with a two-day orientation and training event. For the 2018-2019 project year, fourteen members will serve at 10 campus and community sites to strengthen afterschool programs and facilitate connections between colleges and universities and their community partners. All of these members are serving as part of the AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America program, also known as VISTA. VISTA aims to strengthen organizations that alleviate poverty through volunteering and the mobilization of resources. NC Campus Compact has sponsored VISTA projects since 2003; this year marks the second year of the Compact’s focus on afterschool.


The orientation and training event was held at Elon University and included sessions on why afterschool matters, performance measurement, the Design for Change approach, and event planning. We also enjoyed a team dinner, an afternoon at Elon’s Challenge Course, a conversation with the program coordinator of the It Takes A Village Project, and lunch with several VISTA program alums.

NC Campus Compact is excited to support this group of talented and dedicated national service members. Learn more about them and their placement sites below.

Amanda Kinsey
Site: High Point Leap
Partner: High Point Univeristy

Originally from the small town of Hailey, Idaho, Amanda recently graduated from The University at Buffalo in Buffalo NY with a degree in health and human service- early childhood. During her undergraduate years, she joined an Emergency and Rescue Squad and became a Certified EMT, held an executive board position for an on campus community service club- UB Circle K, and worked at the local YMCA as a Before and After School site coordinator. In her free time, Amanda likes to craft, kayak, and explore her new home. Why VISTA? Amanda says: “I decided to become a VISTA because after graduation I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. This year I am looking forward to finding myself through the eyes of my students.”

Ana Gomez
Site: Duke University, America Reads and Counts
Partner:Durham County Library

Ana will be working with Duke’s America Read America Counts program in her hometown of Durham, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s of Science in biology. Throughout undergrad, she worked with the university’s Carolina Latinx Collaborative as the undergraduate director. In that role, Ana worked on programming to help provide resources for Latinx students. She joined VISTA as an opportunity to expand the skills that she had learned in undergrad and because the mission is something she wants to work for. In her free time, Ana loves to cook and run.

Anissa Williams
Site: Movement of Youth
Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill

Anissa Williams is a North Carolina native from Henderson in Vance County. She is a 2018 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), receiving a B.A. in Anthropology. During her time at UNC Anissa developed a passion for health equity and social justice. While she aspires to further her education and career in the field of Public Health, she is also dedicated to giving back to the youth in marginalized communities. Anissa exhibited this dedication during her time at UNC by serving as the Site Director for Movement of Youth, a mentoring organization for students of color, for over 2 years. Anissa is excited to continue working with Movement of Youth as an NC Campus Compact VISTA member and looks forward to all the growth that will happen this year with the organization and through her personal journey as an alumna!

Brenda Dial Deese
Site: Lumbee Tribe Boys & Girls Clubs
Partner: UNC Pembroke

Brenda Dial Deese is a member of the Lumbee Nation and a resident of Pembroke, NC. She is a retired educator from the state of North Carolina who is serving her second term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Lumbee Boys & Girls Clubs. Other professional experiences include working as Program Coordinator with the Intertribal Circle for the Prevention of Substance Abuse in Native Youth and as adjunct faculty with the University of NC-Pembroke. She designed OILS (OBED Indigenous Leadership Styles assessment, as a tool to offer insight to decision-making practices, strengths, and weaknesses among Indigenous leaders. It can be found on www.cinnamonwit.com.) Brenda holds a PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and Counselor Education from North Carolina State University and is board certified as a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor- Supervisor.

Brittney DeWitte
Site: East Carolina University, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement
Partner: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain

Brittney works to build capacity of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain by connecting them with ECU’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, specifically their mentor and tutoring program, Pirate PALS. Britt graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Recreational Therapy and is thrilled to be able to complete a year of service at my alma mater! As an undergrad, she 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. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, playing the ukulele, hanging out with her cat Coco, or binge-watching Netflix shows with friends.

Caroline Averitt
Site: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater High Point
Partner: High Point University

Caroline is serving at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater High Point to assist with volunteer management and recruitment as well as resource development. Her major project is supporting implementation of the club’s Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP) grant. Caroline graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2018 (go Heels!) with a degree in history and 2 minors in music and medical anthropology. She also has a background in nutrition and dietetics, which is what led her to the nonprofit world and then to Americorps VISTA! She is looking forward to engaging with the community in High Point and helping the kids at the clubs have an amazing afterschool program.

Carolyn MacNair
Site: NC State University, Juntos
Partner: Juntos Wake County- Garner High School

Carolyn graduated from UNCW with a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies. She worked with several different nonprofits throughout Wilmington that served the Latinx community. She tutored ESL students, assisted parents in finding employment, and led a small empowerment group for refugees. As a VISTA volunteer, she will be working for a program called Juntos at NC State. Carolyn says: “I hope to empower young students to reach their full potential despite social and economic barriers and I’m looking forward to meeting people that are just as passionate about serving the community as I am!”

Evangeline Giaconia
Site: UNC Asheville, Math Department
Partner: Asheville Housing Authority

Evangeline Giaconia, originally from Brentwood, Tennessee, graduated in 2018 from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and minors in Biology and Religious Studies. She does long-term ethnographic research in the Napo province in Ecuador and recently returned from her third trip, where she and her research partner continued their study of the indigenous language Kichwa and worked with educators to develop a language lab in the local school. She is an avid fan of languages, martial arts, and mythology, and is also a writer who hopes to one day publish young adult fantasy. As a recent graduate, she is thrilled to be an NC Campus Compact VISTA, working with a remarkable group of people committed to fighting poverty and affecting positive social change.

Kelli Early
Site: UNC Asheville, Math Department
Partner: Asheville Housing Authority

As an alumna of her Host Site, UNC-Asheville, Kelly is excited to be an Afterschool VISTA to expand the Marvelous Math Club. As an undergraduate, she fostered her interest in the social sciences, law, and political science. She is excited to join NC Campus Compact because of the impact afterschool programs had on her development, especially in the arts, and she is looking forward to expanding her roots in the Asheville community and facilitating a place for youth to be their exceptional selves.

Nataly Arriaga Frias
Site: NC State University, Juntos
Partner: Juntos Wake County- Garner High School

Nataly was born in Mexico, but has lived in Mooresville, NC for thirteen years. She graduated from NC State with a bachelor´s degree in sociology. As an undergrad, she volunteered with a fellowship that focuses on international students, an experience that helped her discover a love for helping people navigate a new culture. During her last semester at NCSU, she got a student job with Juntos and it was an eye opening experience, working with people who come from her own culture. Talking to Juntos parents made Nataly realize how much her parents could have used the information Juntos provides. She is excited to begin VISTA service, so Juntos can engage more volunteers and inform more students and parents. In her free time, Nataly enjoys painting and discovering new cuisines.

Sarah Callihan
Site: East Carolina University, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement
Partner: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain

Sarah is an AmeriCorps State alum, having served with a program sponsored by Iowa Campus Compact. As a VISTA, she will take on several roles at her host site, including working with campus living’s community service committee, Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Plain, and volunteer management. She is from Dayton, Ohio and graduated from Wright State, where she recently completed a M.Ed in Student Affairs in Higher Education. There she was a part of campus ministry organizations and equal rights organizations. For fun Sarah enjoys going to the movies, photography, baking, hiking, road trips, board games and spending time with family and friends.

Sydney Haboush
Site: Western Carolina University
Partner: Language Enhancement After School Program (LEAP)

As the VISTA member at Western Carolina University, Sydney is primarily responsible for recruiting and training volunteers for the Language Enhancement After School Program for English learner students. Hailing from Fort Mill, South Carolina, Sydney graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in history and international studies. During her undergraduate career, she was an active participant in Model United Nations and Alternative Spring Break and did a semester abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. The week-long trips of Alternative Spring Break were so impactful and ultimately inspired her to serve with AmeriCorps VISTA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, getting creative, and spending time in the great outdoors!

Siera Nie
Site: Movement of Youth
Partner: UNC-Chapel Hill

Siera is serving as a Site Operations VISTA at Movement of Youth. She was born and raised in Charlotte, and is a recent graduate of UNC Charlotte Graduate), where she earned her Bachelor’s of Social Work. She has a passion for serving vulnerable populations. During her undergraduate studies, Siera had the opportunity to work with the elderly, children, and homeless families. Her experience involves providing direct service, but as a VISTA she is looking to create something that is more sustainable. In other words, “build a fence” to prevent people from falling into the stream. For fun, Siera likes to create crafts, knit, find recipes on Pinterest and prepare them, learn different languages via Duolingo and try out local ethnic restaurants.

Tayla Clark
Site: Warren Wilson College
Partner: Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Western NC and other agencies

Tayla is from a small town in east Tennessee, and she attended college at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Tayla graduated with a degree in biology, and she worked for WWC’s Center for Community Engagement throughout her four years there. Tayla is returning to Warren Wilson and the Center for Community Engagement as a VISTA this year to provide support for several after-school programs in local elementary, middle, and high schools. She is most excited to continue working with these programs in a new position and to support the students of Warren Wilson as they engage with these programs.

Headshot images provided by members.