2021-2022 VISTA Project Bios

VISTA Leaders

Bio: Zandra Cuff is a three-time AmeriCorps VISTA, previously serving as a VISTA Leader for North Carolina Campus Compact in 2018. During her time at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she developed a passion for public policy and law, and how these tools can be used to address poverty. Her experience with AmeriCorps VISTA has deepened her belief of the power of community and how we must work together with unique partners to accomplish change. In her free time she enjoys listening to her diverse music collection and playing guitar.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders work directly with the members placed at higher education institutions across the Maryland-DC-Delaware region to encourage and promote the expansion of service and quality campus-community partnerships.

Baltimore City Community College

Bio: Shaneen McNamee is from the sunny, tropical island of Jamaica. She attended Monroe College in New Rochelle, NY where she received her B.S. in Public Health with a minor in Human Services, and an A.A.S in Medical Assisting. Her gift of service is to inspire others, advocate for families, and promote programs and resources to individuals in the community. Outside of work, she enjoys home improvement projects, gardening, and arts & crafts. Also, she loves cooking, nature walks, watching crime and mystery series, and the highlight of her day is spending time with her exuberant nephew.

Project: The VISTA Success Coach Project provides success coaching for students who need extra support inside and outside of the classroom by connecting them with tutors or other beneficial resources on campus and by helping them maintain confidence and motivation. Intervention is provided at the earliest point of the participants academic career with BCCC, ensuring that students are provided with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to be successful.

Carroll Community College

Bio: Vini Desai was born in India, raised in Texas, and went to college in Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida in 2021. Her interest in social affairs stems from exposure to low-income communities of various cultural backgrounds. She is deeply committed to equality in education for students of all social circumstances. She plans on pursuing her master’s degree in social work after her service year. Vini’s hobbies include baking, hiking, and watching movies.

Project: The Community Resource Liaison TMA AmeriCorps VISTA project targets low-income students at Carroll Community College who are experiencing barriers to achieving their educational goals. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will help connect students in crisis with community resources by creating a clear process of intake, referral, follow up, and support. The member will also create proactive programming to connect students with resources prior to crisis points, as well as a website with community resources for students, faculty, and staff.

Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization (CKAR)

Bio: Aasha Henderson was born in Rockville, MD and was raised in Louisiana. She attended Duke University where she completed her BA in sociology, with minors in Global Health and chemistry. In 2019, Aasha traveled to Mexico, India, South Africa, and Brazil, where she studied intersections of language, globalization, culture, and health, and has since been involved in health outcome research within the LatinX community. Aasha has a passion for creating and sustaining equitable community initiatives that recognize the social determinants of health and hopes to work to extinguish health disparity as a physician. In her free time, Aasha enjoys staying active, learning new skills, and spending time with friends and family.

Project: Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization (CKAR) is lead partner with Kaiser Permanente to develop a place-based initiative in Greater Riverdale to lift residents from poverty and identify affordable housing opportunities and avoid displacement. The key objective of the CKAR Affordable Housing TMA AmeriCorps VISTA project is to assist CKAR CDC to collect analytical data, record community interests and priorities, measure data against community input, and identify volunteers from community meetings. This project will create new opportunities for housing and develop a model for Community Resource Centers.

Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC)

Bridges to Success

Bio: Lark Maag comes from Denver, Colorado—the land of peaches and oudoorsiness. She studied in Boulder and has lived in many places since then, but is happy to now call Baltimore home. Her interests lie in public health, education, and community empowerment. Though she still does not quite understand what a soft shell crab is nor how to consume one, she is eager to make the most of her role and learn more about the Baltimore community.

Project: Bridges to Success is a partnership between Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), and Baltimore area businesses to address the needs of low-income students in navigating college curriculum and increase their chances of being prepared for the job market. This program will provide a hands-on system to ensure high school and college students are making informed decisions in their course selection and have maps to guide them from non-credit to credit courses.

Pipeline to Living-Wage Careers for Veterans

Bio: Crystal Radford received her MA in educational policy and leadership from the Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology. There, she also studied curriculum and instruction and gained expertise in educational equity. Previously, Crystal helped students with career readiness as a TMA AmeriCorps VISTA while serving as a Second Year Experience Coordinator for Morgan State University’s Center for Academic Success and Achievement’s Second Year Experience program.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will assist low-income veterans/military-connected students living within the Baltimore Metropolitan Area to enroll in a short-term certification program that leads to a living-wage career. This project will serve as an intermediary between partners and assist with setting up a process of recruiting, enrolling, aiding, advising, and tracking students as they complete their program, and then establish a process to help veteran students find employment through partners and outreach to industries hiring within the veteran’s career field, and will increase employment rates and income levels among veterans and military-connected families.

Frederick Community College

Bio: Juliana White is a native of Brazil who holds a BA in communication studies. She has been living in the United States for the past 10 years, and recently received her American citizenship. The immersion into the American culture has increased her awareness regarding socio-economic disparities in our communities, especially related to the issues of hunger and food security. As part of her upbringing, she was an advocate for zero food waste and believes that food connects people and brings communities together. In her free time, Juliana enjoys working out so she can find the best tacos in the area, catching up on movies and TV shows, planning her next vacation, or enjoying a porch hang out. She is excited for the opportunity to serve her community with her AmeriCorps VISTA service.

Project: The Student Support for Basic Needs and Security program is designed to build capacity for and implement a sustainable food security and basic needs program on campus that connects students to resources as needed to help eliminate barriers to academic and personal success. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member aims to offer critical support for students experiencing food security and basic need concerns that create barriers to academic and personal success. The goal will be to further support student success by working with campus and community stakeholders to create comprehensive, accessible, and sustainable solutions to identifying and responding to the health and well-being of our students.

Friendship Public Charter School

Bio: Salma Rashid graduated from William and Mary University in May 2020 with a BA in government and a minor in Management and Organizational Leadership. While at William and Mary, Salma combined what she learned from classes with experience and built relationships both on and off campus by interning at a nonprofit in Williamsburg and engaging with active citizenship programs.

Project: The Friendship Alumni Affairs TMA AmeriCorps VISTA project will provide program design, coordination, and support over three years for three key objectives: the development and implementation of the Class Connectors program; the design and launch of the Alumni Board and Alumni Association; and the growth of our Alumni Day/Week programming. The VISTA project will grow and strengthen the Friendship alumni community by increasing engagement and supports offered across the college and career spectrum for all alumni.

Goldey-Beacom College

Bio: Sulakshmi Vaid is a recent graduate from Cedar Crest College as a political science and history double major with a minor in pre-law. Vaid is an unapologetically queer first-generation South-Asian American woman, and passionate about social justice and service work. Her new position through AmeriCorps will be working at Goldey-Beacom College to help train and connect college students to the local Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs and partake in community service. She is so excited to begin this next chapter of her life doing work she can be passionate about and help others in the process!

Project: Goldey-Beacom College and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware (BGCDE) have formed a partnership to strengthen the relationship between the College and the community while providing more volunteer opportunities, access to college facilities and events, and BGCDE-based programming. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA will serve as the liaison between GBC and BGCDE.

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Data Analysis for Refugee Programs – Baltimore

Bio: Connor Pearson graduated from the University of Virginia in 2021, where he double majored in economics and statistics. A third culture kid and foreign service brat, he spent his childhood abroad in Japan, Israel, Malaysia, and Russia. Through navigating these diverse cultural contexts, Connor developed a passion for helping others adjust to new environments away from home. He is now acting on this passion as an AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the International Rescue Committee in Baltimore, Maryland, where he is helping to improve data collection procedures for the IRC’s economic empowerment programs.

Project: Over the course of one year, a TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member serving as a Data Analysis Coordinator will strengthen the IRC Baltimore office’s ability to track and analyze data across its poverty-reduction programs, develop and implement surveys to gather beneficiary feedback on program effectiveness, and recommend improvements based on the results. This VISTA member will build organizational and community partnerships in Baltimore to ensure the projects continue at the conclusion of their service period.

Data Analysis for Refugee Programs – Silver Spring

BioChristian Helenius is from Tampa, FL and graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Economics in 2021. He focused my degree on International Relations and Statistics. This has led him to serve in AmeriCorps for the first time at the International Rescue Committee to help settle refugees in the United States.

Project: Over the course of one year, a TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member serving as a Data Analysis Coordinator will strengthen the ability of the IRC in Silver Spring office’s ability to track and analyze data across a variety of poverty-reduction initiatives, as well as develop and implement surveys to gather beneficiary feedback. The VISTA member will build organizations and community partnerships to ensure the project continues at the conclusion of their service period.

IRC’s Center for Economic Opportunities (Communications)

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member serving as a Communications Coordinator will build capacity within the IRC to raise awareness of, and ultimately affect change in, the underlying systemic and structural issues that limit economic mobility for low-income, credit-thin immigrant households in Baltimore. IRC seeks to strengthen the IRC’s economic empowerment and resettlement programs for the benefit of refugees and other low to moderate income populations in the Baltimore metropolitan area across Central Maryland.

Bio: Terrence Chan graduated from the University of Massachusetts – Lowell in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology and an undergraduate certificate in Web design and Development. As an immigrant to the U.S. from Malaysia, with grandparents who were once immigrants from China to Malaysia, Terrence felt a deep connection with International Rescue Committee (IRC). Terrence is excited to work at IRC’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) with the communications team, gain further knowledge in non-profit Community Development Financial Institution operations, and further his web content management and digital communications skills. In his free time, Terrence enjoys traveling and exploring various local attractions.

Loyola University Maryland

Bio: Jamilla Battle is from Albany, NY and received her bachelor’s degree in Spring 2021. This will be her fifth year in the Baltimore community, and she is excited to expand on what she’s learned to be an active voice in the community for the years to come. Along with serving as the AmeriCorps VISTA, she is on the Covid Relief Project Committee in Baltimore, which connects members with adequate assistance and education about the virus and vaccinations. She plans to use her experience in community health in her VISTA project and work to find solutions for community needs, since health has had a significant effect on fellowship within the community. Jamilla loves the rich history that Baltimore has and has a passion for change within Baltimore residents.

Project: Loyola University enhances capacity for youth development and education by working closely with local public schools in transition in the Govans community. Through the 21st Century Schools process, two of the local public schools are being reconstructed. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will support a healthy transition during reconstruction at Walter P. Carter and Guilford Elementary/Middle Schools and engage students, teachers, staff, and community in planning for a positive school culture and climate in the new school building.

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Bio: Marley Scheld is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, where she studied journalism, digital media, and French. This is her first year as an AmeriCorps VISTA and she’s excited to work with MICA and Baltimore Design School to further connect with students and artists in the Baltimore community. In her spare time, you can find Marley playing guitar or piano, journaling, or roller skating.

Project: MICA is committed to the development of partnerships, programs, and initiatives within Baltimore’s communities so that the College’s community can be critically engaged, empathetic participants in contemporary society. MICA’s mission includes an institutional commitment to “thrive with Baltimore” and to the importance of artists, designers, and educators as cultural innovators and agents of creative and progressive social change. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA will strategically expand the impact of this commitment for and with Baltimore City residents, specifically its young artists.

Maryland Nonprofits

Bio: Sydney Biggs is a 2020 graduate of Elon University, where she finished her BA in Media Analytics with minors in political science and poverty and social justice. Sydney will be an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) division of Maryland Nonprofits. She has a passion for service and is excited to embark on her VISTA journey.

Project: Maryland Nonprofits is on a journey to strengthen the nonprofit sector’s capacity to operate in an equitable fashion and to achieve equity in outcomes in communities in Maryland. The JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) training program helps nonprofit organizations work toward building boards of directors and staff that are diverse and representative of their culture and client base.

Morgan State University

Bio: Jalen Powell-Bartley, a 2020 Emergency Management graduate, moved to Baltimore recently for a degree in city and regional planning. In undergrad, he learned to recognize problems before they become disasters, operate proactively, and differentiate between simple, complicated, and complex problems. In addition, he gained un understanding of how American cultural identities have been shaped by history, literature, and artistic endeavors. He is in search of a career that affects people and communities in a positive way, either through economic development, transportation planning, or emergency management-related issues. This has led him to AmeriCorps. Jalen will be working with the Neighborhood Design Center in to increase participation in planning projects in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore City and develop resources to build and sustain increased community participation.

Project: The Inclusive Community Planning in Low Income Baltimore Neighborhoods project is a partnership of the Morgan State University School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P) and the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) focused on redressing the exclusion of low-income adults in Baltimore city’s low-income neighborhoods from community planning initiatives. The project’s key goals are to expand economic opportunity and support residential and neighborhood stability in Baltimore neighborhoods.

Prince George's Community College

Bio: Zujeidy Aparicio recently graduated from Prince George’s Community College with an AS in accounting. She has volunteered at Holy Cross Hospital and her children’s elementary school. She has 15 years of experience in customer service. She is pursuing her bachelors with a major in accounting and a minor in criminal justice. Zujeidy loves to motivate others to learn, grow, and be independent. Other than being a mother, a hard worker, and a student, Zujeidy loves growing plants, watching television, listening to music, the ocean, and becoming more of a reader.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member at PGCC will develop a web-based resource center that will empower families, especially those with low and moderate income and minimal education, by providing a tool to assist with their decision-making process. The site will address a variety of topics that affect families, such as education, employment, personal finances, childcare, housing, and other relevant topics. Education to make well informed decisions is a factor that empowers low-income community members and supports their growth out of poverty.

The Catholic University of America

Cardinal Cupboard

Bio: Jackie Searle first served as a Team Leader in AmeriCorps NCCC in 2014 after getting a degree in psychology. She then moved to DC to work at the AmeriCorps HQ and worked to create connections with local nonprofits and through Mutual Aid. Her passion in the community is combating food insecurity and connecting neighbors with clothing, goods, or furniture they may need. After a few years working in sports and entertainment at local professional sports venues, she’s excited to be back into serving her community in a more structured setting.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA will develop a comprehensive campus pantry program (Cardinal Cupboard) at The Catholic University of America that will provide nutritious and healthy food, resources, and referrals for additional resources to reduce the effects of food insecurity for at least 150 members of the campus community the first year of the grant and then expanding to 400 and becoming fully sustainable by the third year.

Center for Cultural Engagement – Pathways to College

Bio: Maggie Eckerson was born in China and raised in Maryland. She graduated from Ithaca College with degrees in environmental science and communications. Maggie has served as a Peace Corps Health Educator in Belize and most recently as an AmeriCorps NCCC Corps Member. In her free time, you can find her sailing aboard her family’s solar powered sailboat or scuba diving in the Caribbean.

Project: Pathways to College allows the Catholic University to become a resource for students in economically disadvantaged communities throughout the Washington D.C. area who are seeking access to higher education by providing them with current college student mentors, equipping them with information about the college admissions process, and building up their resiliency. Parents will gain a better understanding of the college admission process, and how to support their children throughout high school and college. The project will help the university improve the programs, resources, and support provided to first-generation college students and increase their retention and graduation.

The Civic Circle

Bio: Trevor Schmutz is an AmeriCorps VISTA member working with The Civic Circle in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Civic Circle plays an integral role in Montgomery County by providing enrichment opportunities to students at an early age, using music and songwriting to teach civic skills. Trevor is excited to contribute to program evaluation and expansion, building capacity and partnerships and upholding The Civic Circle’s mission. Trevor was raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, and recently returned to the area after several years in Chicago. He is an MPP candidate at The Trachtenberg School at George Washington University.

Project: The Lift Every Voice project closes the equity gap in civic learning and engagement by providing low-income students of color in Eastern Montgomery County the opportunity to learn seven civic skills we call “steps to democracy” through civic songs and songwriting workshops. Civic learning correlates directly to improved academic achievement, fewer discipline incidents, college completion, and the development of skills that lead to employment.

The Universities at Shady Grove

Bio: Alisa Smedley earned her BS in criminal justice from the University of Maryland. Her background includes workforce development and academic preparation for disadvantaged populations. She worked for nine years at a maximum-security jail preparing inmates for release. Most recently Alisa was Site Director for a Second Chance Pell Grant program with a university partner. She is passionate about helping to empower men and women through education and employment.

Project: Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) is a partnership with Universities at Shady Grove (USG), Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), and Montgomery College (MC) to address multi-generational poverty by increasing baccalaureate degree attainment among underrepresented students, especially African American and Hispanic youth. The ACES partnership recently agreed to the addition of career readiness programming for all ACES students (an expansion of the current work with approximately 100 students to over 2,000 students at full capacity) beginning in high school and continuing through university graduation. This programming will provide students with workforce skills and professional experiences that will help to ensure that they can attain and succeed in high demand careers.

Towson University

Food Security Initiative

Bio: Shani McLean serves at Towson University’s FoodShare (Food Pantry). Her role is to make community partnerships to expand the pantry and increase the amount of people that the Pantry is able to serve. She is passionate about fighting hunger, and in the future, she would like to pursue a career where she can make a positive impact on the US food system to increase sustainability, food access, and food security. When she is not volunteering, you can find her rollerblading or doing yoga in the park!

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA Food Security Initiative at TU expands the campus food pantry (Food Share) along with additional programming and resources that are currently offered on Towson’s campus. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will develop a curriculum for a workshop series around financial and food security, including topics such as meal planning, cooking demonstrations, and budgeting. Additionally, the TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will work to build the capacity of the Food Share by creating and implementing a training curriculum for pantry volunteers.

Food Security Initiative at Towson University in Northeastern Maryland (TUNE) 

Bio: Courtney Insley just graduated from Towson University with her bachelor’s degree in Health Education and Promotion. She has always been interested in food insecurity programs and learning more about what she can contribute to help those lacking access to food. She is excited for this volunteer experience where she will be setting up a food pantry for students at TUNE (Towson University in Northeastern Maryland) through multiple means, including community outreach. She loves the color green, especially because she loves nature (she has about 7 plants). In her free time, she enjoys being outside, whether that is taking days trips to the beach or going on a hike. Although she loves summer the most, she enjoys the winter too, where she likes to ski and ice skate!

Project: The Food Security Initiative will offer the Food Share, the new campus food pantry, to the campus of TUNE. The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA will be responsible for creating a framework for the project by utilizing data gathered from campus surveys and institutional data, develop a curriculum and co-facilitate education workshops around finances, food security, and sustainability, and host events like a farmers market or wellness fair. Each year, the VISTA will track and report on the impact of the Food Share Project while setting new goals to ensure the success of the project.

Transform Mid-Atlantic

Collective Impact VISTA

Bio: Kate McGeehan grew up in Frederick, MD and is passionate about Maryland public schools. After graduating with a degree in English from William & Mary, Kate moved to Portland, OR, where she just spent a year serving at a domestic violence shelter through Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest and AmeriCorps. Kate has also supported with development and programming at Great and Small, a therapeutic riding center in Boyds, MD. While Kate loves working directly with different populations, she is excited to engage with both her direct service experience and passion for writing in her role at TMA. Through this second year with AmeriCorps, Kate hopes to gain experience with grant writing and is looking forward to learning more about the education systems in the Mid-Atlantic. In her free time, Kate enjoys reading, doing yoga, and traveling.

Project: This TMA Collective Impact VISTA initiative will “complement and expand” current TMA VISTA efforts in the communities we serve. Community partners have been engaged in the planning of all TMA AmeriCorps VISTA proposals and are critical to the development of a sustained and supportive “collective impact” network. This Collective Impact VISTA member will offer support and additional resources that may be required through researching, applying to, and managing relevant grants; assisting in the development of policies and procedures to integrate sustainable grants processes; and providing support to coordinate effective assessment processes and the development of sustainable community networks.

Communications Coordinator

Bio: Nisa Burns hails from Central Massachusetts and is a recent graduate of Cornell University with a B.A. in linguistics and minor in Southeast Asia studies. Her language studies took her to Myanmar in 2019, where she pursued an independent project on minority language education. In her spare time, she enjoys learning languages and visiting as many New England ice cream stands as she can.

Project: The Communications Coordinator VISTA position supports the development of effective campus-community partnerships and increasing higher education institutions’ commitment to developing students, staff, faculty, and community partners as globally engaged citizens by curating robust communications and website presence tailored towards reaching a larger percentage of students, increasing engagement with member and non-member institutions, corporate and community partners. This project will strengthen the relationships between higher education institutions, the community, and corporate sector, generating new resources in the fight against poverty.

University of Baltimore

Bio: La’Teya Burrows is a Baltimore City native and has worked in the nonprofit community and healthcare sector for over 20 years. Her core principles are impartiality, unity, universality, neutrality, independence, and volunteer services. She received a BA and MA from the University of Baltimore with a focus in addiction counseling. La’Teya developed a strong devotion to the nonprofit sector after volunteering for 5 years at various nonprofit organizations. She has a background in addressing issues like food insecurity, early childhood development, and addiction services. This experience has given her a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life of their clients and the Baltimore region; one program and community at a time.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA with the Food for Thought Initiative at UB offers additional programming and resources beyond what is currently offered by the existing Campus Pantry. Through a series of workshops and educational programs, members of the University of Baltimore community will learn about financial security and food security and form peer connections with the goal of reducing food and financial hardship.

University of Maryland

Campus Pantry

Bio: Anne-Elyse Pitre is from Lafayette, LA. She graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC with a BA in theology and religious studies. During her time there, she took part in service to the DC area in a handful of ways and became passionate about serving the surrounding communities. Anne-Elyse is looking forward to her year as a TMA AmeriCorps VISTA Member to further deepen her love for service through the people she meets.

Project: The UMD Campus Pantry will partner with the Capital Area Food Bank and Maryland Hunger Solutions to implement an innovative project to address hunger in the UMD community through programmatic interventions led by students who have experienced food insecurity as well as through strengthening policies on campus for sustainable change.

Terp Farm

Bio: Kai Huang is a Maryland native and a recent graduate of UMD, College Park, where they earned their BS in Agricultural and Resource Economics. In high school and college, they developed interest in food insecurity, volunteering in their community and local Food Recovery Network. Working for Terp Farm as student staff for two years, they learned more about food production, security, and the difficulty with distribution which leads to food deserts. Working with the University, food banks, and local organizations, they hope to increase food security for their community.

Project: The UMD Terp Farm is a sustainable vegetable farm which serves as a living laboratory – a place of learning and teaching about agriculture, food, health, and the environment. Terp Farm grows vegetables with the help of students, and donates a portion of each harvest to those in need in the community. This AmeriCorps VISTA project will equip low-income adults studying or working at UMD to develop fundamental tools to promote nourishment, health, equity, and empowerment.

UMD SAFE Center – Building Equity and Survivor Leadership Capacity

Bio: Hadiyyah Abdul-Jalaal recently graduated from George Mason University with her BA in government and international politics with a concentration in international relations, while minoring in conflict analysis and resolution. She is currently in her second year of her Bachelor’s/Accelerated Master’s program pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason. During her time at George Mason, she was an undergraduate research assistant and a Department of State J/TIP intern who worked diligently to learn more about human trafficking and how to best advocate for survivors. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, spending time with family, and watching The Food Network and HGTV.

Project: The TMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will help build the capacity of the SAFE Center to serve human trafficking victims in the metropolitan Washington, DC area with a focus on Maryland’s Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. As structural racism is a root cause of human trafficking, the SAFE Center strives to work through an anti-racist framework that incorporates survivor input in our policies, programs, and partnerships. The VISTA will build the SAFE Center’s capacity to serve our clients by supporting the creation of internal policies and program updates with a focus on systemic racism and operationalizing the SAFE Center’s survivor leadership program.

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Bio: Michael Morgan currently attends the University of Maryland Eastern Shore as a graduate student. He received his Bachelor ‘s degree in exercise science in 2018, and is currently an intern at the campus counseling center while finishing up his Master’s degree this upcoming May in rehabilitation counseling. He’s worked throughout UMES campus in recent years, including in residence life, in the campus gym alongside the Olympic champion gym instructor Mike Hall, and with the Upward Bound program on campus as an overnight counselor for local high school students. Michael is from Oxon Hill, MD located in Prince George’s County. This is his first service year as a VISTA. His various hobbies include traveling, community service activities, video games, fine dining, and spending quality time with friends and family. He hopes to gain a lot of new experiences and network as an AmeriCorps member and is ready to get to work.

Project: The ShoreWay Experience is a partnership with University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) and the local elementary, middle, and high schools in Somerset County, designed to increase college and career readiness within the traditionally underrepresented people of color on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Within the ShoreWay Experience, students will receive intensive college preparedness, ongoing academic and success coaching, experiential learning opportunities, along with life and leadership training. Concurrently, local business partners will provide students with workforce skills, mentoring, and project-based internships to ensure that they can attain and succeed in high-demand careers.

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