Project Sites

The ‘Where Louisville Meets the World’ VISTA project is sponsored by Americana World Community Center, which has hosted VISTA members since 2007. Our VISTA members focus on economic development, K-12 educational success, and refugee and immigrant integration. The VISTAs serve in high-need areas of Louisville, sharing their dedication to service with our community.

Americana World Community Center

Americana World Community Center’s mission is to provide a spectrum of services to the diverse individuals and families of the Louisville Metro area, including refugees, immigrants, and those born in the U.S. These services enable people to realize their individual potential, build strong families, and create a healthy and supportive community for all.

The VISTAs at Americana focus on refugee and immigrant self-sufficiency through three areas: K-12 and post-secondary educational success, an ethnic community leader mentoring program, and financial literacy.

Backside Learning Center

The Backside Learning Center is a school and community center located on the backside of the Churchill Downs race track. They provide educational and social opportunities for the equine workers and their families, as well as assistance in navigating local resources and creating a sense of community.

The VISTA position focuses on fundraising and sustainability by tracking donors and volunteers, planning fundraising events, writing grants, managing social media pages, and doing community outreach.

Catholic Charities 

Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc., provides service for people in need, advocates for justice in social structures, and calls the entire Church and other people of good will to do the same. Catholic Charities provides a variety of services including Migration & Refugee Services, Immigration Legal Services, and Language Services.

The VISTAs with Catholic Charities focus on long-term program sustainability for Migration and Refugees Services through fundraising, grant writing, and volunteer recruitment.

Food Literacy Project

The Food Literacy Project provides farm-based experiential education and entrepreneurial youth development programs that bring the Field-to-Fork experience to life for local youth. The organization envisions a community with a just and sustainable food system that cultivates healthy citizens, and their mission is to inspire a new generation to build healthy relationships with food, farming, and the land.

The VISTA works closely with the development team to plan and implement fundraising events, increase community awareness, and write grants.

Jefferson Memorial Forest

Jefferson Memorial Forest provides the opportunity to experience nature at its most spectacular – it is home to many scenic trails, streams, a fishing lake, outdoor recreational facilities, a conference center and a Welcome Center. The JMF VISTA project focuses on two specific programs: Engaging Children Outdoors (ECHO), which broadens recreation opportunities for low-income youth who do not live in nature-rich areas, and the South Points Scenic Area (SPSA) tourism initiative, which focuses on increasing the economic growth of South Louisville.

The VISTAs at Jefferson Memorial Forest will focus on growing and supporting the ECHO and SPSA initiatives by increasing volunteer utilization and community outreach.

Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Kentucky Refugee Ministries is dedicated to providing resettlement services to refugees through faith- and agency-based co-sponsorship in order to promote self-sufficiency and successful integration into our community. KRM is committed to offering access to community resources and opportunities and to promoting awareness of diversity for the benefit of the whole community.

The VISTAs at Kentucky Refugee Ministries focus on connecting refugees to housing resources and streamlining existing mentoring programs for refugees of all ages.

La Casita Center

La Casita Center is passionate about social justice, solidarity and accompaniment of the most vulnerable, and promotion of health and healing among the newest immigrant Latin@ families.​ Their mission is to empower these families, providing a foundation for systemic change with long-term effects. They do this through direct service (meeting basic needs) as well as through education, advocacy, and the creation of networks of support.

The VISTA’s goal is to strengthen the capacity of La Casita Center by creating a comprehensive fundraising process that efficiently utilizes grants and volunteers for organizational sustainability.

Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation

Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation’s mission is to connect people to places and opportunities that support and grow a sustainable community. Their vision for Louisville is a clean, green, safe and inclusive city where people love to live, work, and play. Altogether, Metro has over 120 parks, 16 community centers, a thriving athletics program, an inclusive adaptive leisure program, 2 historical properties, and countless community services including summer camps for continued youth learning.

The VISTA’s goal is to redesign and increase volunteerism in LMPR’s Adopt­-A-­Park and Community Centers by increasing community engagement.

United Crescent Hill Ministries

United Crescent Hill Ministries (UCHM) is a community ministry sponsored by 19 churches/religious institutions, businesses, and individuals within Crescent Hill, Clifton, Clifton Heights, and Butchertown for the purpose of providing vital social services to these communities and beyond. UCHM builds better community by serving our neighbors with programs, activities, and services that enrich their lives physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.

The VISTA will build upon agency strengths to help recruit and maintain a robust network of volunteers, develop volunteer management tools and resources, and raise much-needed awareness within the community about the programs at UCHM.

YMCA Safe Place Services

YMCA Safe Place Serviced focuses on positive youth development, their cause is to strengthen families by breaking cycles of violence, abuse and turmoil and giving children and families the resources they need for a better future. The Safe Place Program is a network of community partners throughout Louisville, Oldham and Bullitt Counties, where teens can go to get help and be transported to the YMCA Safe Place Services’ Shelter House facility.

The VISTA serving at YMCA Safe Place works to strengthen community ties and awareness of YMCA Safe Place Services through community collaboration and outreach, and volunteer recruitment and engagement.

World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana (WAC) is a non-profit member-based organization whose mission is to promote cross-cultural awareness, education and tolerance through nonpartisan discussions on current international issues. They provide opportunities for the residents of Kentucky and Southern Indiana to engage in international issues and global leaders and their vision is to be the premier regional organization that enhances global economic and political awareness among their constituents.

The VISTA at WAC will work on providing their high school students with the tools and skills to be competitive and successful in a global society.

Louisville Grows

Louisville Grows is an environmental, 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to Grow Greener, Healthier Neighborhoods. Their vision is to foster green, just and sustainable neighborhoods in Louisville by advocating for healthy equity through the environmental platforms of urban forestry and urban agriculture. They are dedicated to restoring the urban tree canopy and providing environmental education opportunities that will lead to ending health disparities in the Louisville Community.

The VISTAs at LG work to expand outreach efforts to various Louisville neighborhoods and leaders and develop and maintain an extensive volunteer network.

Smoketown Family Wellness Center

With life expectancies 10 years below other Louisville neighborhoods, Smoketown Family Wellness Center strives to establish healthy lifestyles from the beginning of life, providing education and programming for children and their families in a safe community environment.
The VISTA will work to create partnerships with those organizations and with those dedicated to improving health outcomes in an area with high death rates from chronic diseases exacerbated by intergenerational poverty.Through mentorship, advocacy, and resilience training, the VISTA will help the Smoketown Youth Ambassadors build leadership skills that can change the health and economic outcomes of Smoketown for future generations.

Project Staff

Project Director – Edgardo Mansilla,

Project Coordinator – Adelaide McComb, 

VISTA Leader -Jerry Englehart,

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