ALUMNI AWESOMENESS: Jen has a PH.D. in ethnomusicology - the study of music in its relationship to the rest of human culture - which she says helps inform how to communicate effectively with people of different backgrounds in her work with non-profits in the Greater Baltimore region.
TMA VISTA PROJECT: Jen worked with the Community Arts Partnership Office at MICA, their service-learning program for students, where undergraduate students offer art and art therapy classes at a number of different sites throughout Baltimore.
She also served as a VISTA leader with the Maryland Out of School Time Network, helping to lead a reading mentorship program.
WHERE IS SHE NOW?: Jen works with Fusion Partnerships which supports over 120 social justice programs, projects and grantees with the mission including ensuring mothers have access to quality care; enabling people in need, and teaching young people and their families, skills that enhance their mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
Jen discusses what "Social Justice" means in the context of her work with grassroots programs and iniitatives.
"What lights you up?" Jen offers advice for currently serving VISTAs on how to use the year to figure out what's next.
The Power of Connection
"I think one of the most important things that VISTAs get out of their service year is the connection to other AmeriCorps members - the connection to other VISTAs, both actively serving and the network of former VISTAs who've completed their terms. "
Jen McKenzie, a former AmeriCorps VISTA member and VISTA leader, has always valued partnerships, starting with the connections she made with other TMA AmeriCorps members during monthly meetings and networking opportunities. After completing her VISTA service, Jen went on to work with the Maryland Out of School Time Network as a VISTA leader, where she continued to build connections and support VISTA members in their projects. She then transitioned to a role with Everybody Wins DC, a literacy reading program, where she worked with volunteer reading mentors and corporate partners. Currently, McKenzie works with Fusion Partnerships, a fiscal sponsor that supports small organizations working towards social justice and equity in Baltimore. In her role as Partner Engagement Coordinator, she works with 120 partner organizations, providing support and resources to help them achieve their goals.