Our VISTAs

Seamus Allman
Owensboro, KY
University of Louisville
B.A. in Biology

Seamus, the Community Engagement Coordinator VISTA at The Food Literacy Project will be working on volunteer recruitment and retention, increasing revenue through events both at Oxmoor Farms and with the mobile Truck Farm, organizing community outreach around Food Literacy Project’s expansion to Iroquois Farm, and coordinating efforts at the South Points Farmers Market. 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 and change to the family table.

“I’ve skydived from 10,000 feet and scuba dived down to over 100 feet.”


Marissa Beinhauer
Buffalo, NY
University of Buffalo
English and Environmental Studies

Marissa serves as the Volunteer and Financial Literacy Coordinator at Americana World Community Center. In this role, she coordinates free tax services, financial literacy classes, and computer classes for program participants. Americana serves immigrant, refugee, and low income populations here in Louisville.

“I was in Mexico once and swam around in an underground lake.”


Bridget Benson
Pell City, Alabama
University of Montevallo
B.S. in Biology, Minor in Environmental Studies

As the Volunteer Program Assistant VISTA at Jefferson Memorial Forest and Natural Areas in Louisville, Bridget is working to build their volunteer base, increase volunteer retention rates, and establish organized systems of communication between staff and volunteers.

“I worked at a butterfly garden in Costa Rica and love handling insects!”


Crystal Bryson
Miamisburg, OH
Eastern Kentucky University
B.A. in History

Crystal, La Casita Center’s Volunteer Coordinator and Grants Assistant VISTA, will be aiming to strengthen the capacity of La Casita Center by creating a comprehensive fundraising process that efficiently utilizes grants and volunteers for organizational sustainability. La Casita Center’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the most vulnerable in Louisville’s Latino community through education, empowerment, advocacy, and wellness.

“I manage a Facebook page called ‘Y’all Heard’ that challenges widespread assumptions about KY and Appalachia by highlighting grassroots efforts, community assets, and historical structures of poverty and oppression.”


Jeanette Burke
Temecula, CA
Centre College
B.A. in English and Creative Writing

Jeanette is serving at Americana Community Center as the Family and Youth VISTA. She is working to expand their college and career readiness programs, as well as building curriculum for family learning. Americana Community Center offers a diverse range of programs to improve the lives of refugee, immigrant, and low income families. The programs cover adult education, family learning, after school programs, and even a community garden.

“I briefly lived a mile from the second largest tree in the world.”


Andrea Caldwell
Louisville, KY
Kennesaw State College

Andrea is focusing her work on development and community and outreach supporting Jefferson Memorial Forest (JMF)’s education and recreation mission in the South and West Louisville communities. She will be working in conjunction with JMF’s non-profit friends group, Wilderness Louisville, to increase awareness and fundraising supporting programming and park infrastructure development. Jefferson Memorial Park is beautifully located in Southwest, Louisville where families can visit from all over –it features hiking trails, recreation areas, fishing docs, nature trails, horse trails and more.

“I enjoy nature, music and dancing. Also, I love being a grandma!”


David Demanget
Arles, France
Florida Gulf Coast University
B.A. in Psychology

David, the new Community Engagement Coordinator VISTA at United Crescent Hill Ministries (UCHM), will be coordinating current and new volunteers, doing community outreach and bringing the community closer through social media efforts. UCHM is a community ministry sponsored by 19 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.

“I love traveling and learning about different cultures!”


Emily Duerksen
Richmond, VA
Centre College
Environmental Studies

As the coordinator for the New Beginnings Student Tutor/Mentor program and Cultural Exchange Adult Mentor program at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Emily’s responsibilities include organizing weekly meetings with volunteer mentors, creating programs focused on homework help and guidance on social adjustment, and providing support to the Family and Youth Services Department. Kentucky Refugee Ministries is an outreach community that advocates for and provides resettlement services to refugees to encourage hope and an increased sense of belonging and inclusion to our future American citizens.

“I have been swimming in the Nile River!”


Martha Geier
Richmond, VA
DePauw University/San Francisco State University, BA English
Rutgers University, M.A. Library and Information Science

Martha is serving as the Philanthropy Coordinator VISTA for the Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farms. The Food Literacy Project’s mission it to transform youth and their communities through food, farming and the land. They provide farm-based experiential education and entrepreneurial youth development programs that bring the Field-to-Fork experience to life for local youth and change to the family table.

“I’m a beekeeper!”


Nathan Hawes
Harrodsburg, KY
Berea College
B.A. in Spanish

The Backside Learning Center is happy to welcome Nathan as their new Community Relations VISTA. Nathan will be maintaining contact with volunteers and recruiting and processing new volunteers, as well as assisting with fundraising for the organization. The Backside Learning Center focuses on providing support and community to the equine workers at Churchill Downs; they offer several services including English classes, family programs, one-on-one citizenship tutoring and GED courses.

“I love to play the banjo.”


Adelaide McComb
Fort Collin, CO
B.A. from Colorado State University
M.P.A./M.A. from University of Louisville

Adelaide serves as the “Where Louisville Meets the World” VISTA Project Coordinator. She works alongside the VISTA Leader and Project Director to help coordinate and improve the VISTA project and individual service sites. Adelaide also works as a Grant Coordinator for Americana Community Center.

“I own two copies of Love in the Time of Cholera, one for marking up and one in pristine condition (it’s my favorite).”


Jeremy McFarland
Campbellsville, KY
Western Kentucky University
Professional Writing and Chinese

Jeremy is serving at YMCA Safe Place Services (YSPS) as their Development Coordinator VISTA. In this position, Jeremy will build capacity through fundraising initiatives and grant writing efforts. YSPS facilitates mentoring for children of incarcerated parents and a drop-in shelter for homeless and runaway youth.

“I’m left handed.”


Katie Norton
Louisville, KY
Western Kentucky University
Spanish and Public Relations

Katie is welcomed by Catholic Charities Migration and Refugee Services office as their new Community Liaison VISTA. She will be responsible for coordinating and training volunteers for each of the programs within Migration and Refugee Services. The goal of the program is to provide refugees with the support and assistance they need in order to become self sufficient.

“I have a pet chinchilla named Poptart.”


Samantha Risen
Louisville, KY
Indiana University Southeast
B.A. in Political Science, Minor in International Studies

The World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana is excited to welcome Samantha as their Global Education Program VISTA. In this role, she oversees the Global Citizenship Certificate Program and the local Academic WorldQuest. The World Affairs Council mission is to promote cross-cultural awareness, education and tolerance through nonpartisan discussions on current international issues.

“I am in an axe-throwing league!”


Bijaya Shrestha
Kathmandu, Nepal
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Northern Kentucky University, J.D.

As the Community Center Outreach VISTA, Bijaya will be working with Community Center staff, members, and volunteers to identify programming needs in order to build a sustainable volunteer capacity for each of the 12 centers in the city through recruitment and training. Louisville Parks and Recreations was established in 1968 and its mission is to connect people to places and opportunities that support and grow a sustainable community.

“I have a Harry Potter podcast called ‘Yer a Wizard, Harry’.


Dulce Solorio
Crestwood, KY
Bellarmine University
B.A. in Psychology, B.A. in Foreign Languages and International Studies

Dulce is currently serving as the “Where Louisville Meets the World” VISTA Leader. She works to expand and build the capacity of individual AmeriCorps VISTA members and their respective service sites. Previously, Dulce served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation.

“I can open a bottle with various household objects!


Janelle Wilhelm
Providence, KY
Campbellsville University
B.A. in English

Janelle will be serving as a Volunteer and Events VISTA at Kentucky Refugee Ministries where she will be heavily involved in recruiting, training, and communicating with volunteers, as well as helping to plan events. Kentucky Refugee Ministries is a refugee resettlement agency whose mission is to welcome refugees to Louisville and help them become self-sufficient, integrated members of the community.

“I have a cat from a kitty cafe in Evansville, Indiana. He was at the cafe for four months before I adopted him (probably because he bites).”


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