About Us

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.

Project Sites

Adelante Hispanic Achievers

Adelante Hispanic Achievers was created to address challenges in the city by empowering Louisville’s Hispanic youth and helping them succeed in four critical areas of development: personal, social, cultural, and educational. Adelante’s mission is to inspire Hispanic/Latino youth and families to achieve their dreams and contribute as creative and educated world citizens.

The VISTA’s primary role is to be a liaison between Adelante and the community by way of partnerships with groups like JCPS and tending to social media pages. Their focus is on projecting the impact of their programs and services to those unfamiliar with the organization and, in turn, introducing students to opportunities of development provided in the community.


American Printing House for the Blind

American Printing House for the Blind (APH) was founded in 1858 and its mission is to promote the independence of blind and visually impaired persons by providing specialized materials, products, and services needed for education and life.

The VISTA manages a literacy program called Braille Tales for blind preschoolers all over the country. The main duties include expanding and recruiting for the program, managing the subscriber database, assisting and writing grants to gain funding for the programs, and leading community outreach events and tours.


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.


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.


Legal Aid Society

Legal Aid Society is a non­profit law firm that provides free civil legal services for people living in poverty. They offer assistance on various legal issues, some of which include domestic relations, tenants’ rights, consumer protection, and veterans’ support.

The VISTA coordinates Legal Aid’s Economic Development Program (EDP), which provides low-­income individuals with free legal services to start or maintain their small business. Through this program, Legal Aid will be able to match clients with volunteer attorneys and offer free legal trainings to educate entrepreneurs.


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.


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 is working to strengthen community ties and awareness of YMCA Safe Place Services through community collaboration and outreach, and volunteer recruitment and engagement.


Project Staff

Project Director – Edgardo Mansilla, edgardo@americanacc.org

Project Coordinator – Adelaide McComb, adelaide.mccomb@americanacc.org 

VISTA Leader – Sarah Flarsheim, sarah.flarsheim@americanacc.org

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