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Announcing Our 2017-18 AmeriCorps VISTAs

From the CENTER FOR EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

CEO is excited to announce a new partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA program to build the capacity of four of its offices (Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Buffalo) to serve an even greater number of formerly incarcerated people in the coming year. CEO VISTA members will cultivate financial resources, recruit and manage volunteers, develop community partnerships, and provide support for program innovation. CEO is hosting three VISTAs for 2017-18 in Pennsylvania, and a fourth in Western New York. 

Pennsylvania VISTAs

Mitchell Smith (Pittsburgh, PA)
Mitchell earned his BA in Politics from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA in 2017. In college, he worked extensively for Whitman’s student newspaper, the Whitman Wire. He hopes to put this writing and reporting experience to good use during his year of service. In his free time, he enjoys running, watching baseball, learning to cook for himself, and exploring each of Pittsburgh’s many unique neighborhoods.

Ty Holland (Philadelphia, PA)
Ty came to CEO just a few months after leaving the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, where he provided a mix of social services to city residents. Previously, Ty was director of economic and fund development at a community-based nonprofit in Philadelphia. His resume also includes work in the private sector, as he was a relationship manager at both BNY Mellon and PNC Bank. Ty received his bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in West Philadelphia with his wife and teenage son, the youngest of his five children.

Bri Pentuk (Harrisburg, PA)
Bri comes to CEO with a bachelor’s in sociology and criminology from John Carroll University. At JCU, she volunteered with the Cleveland Juvenile Detention Center, focusing on literacy education. She also interned with the Cleveland Division of Police, in both the Crime Scene and Records Department. Immediately following graduation, she spent a year cooking hot dogs and dispatching roller coasters at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Most recently, she served as an administrative tour assistant for Crossmen Productions, an education and youth development performing arts organization based in San Antonio, TX. She is also pie baker for a nearby bakery.

New York VISTA

CEO is also fortunate to partner with The Service Collaborative of Western New York as a host site for their Serve New York VISTA program. The goal of Serve New York is to strengthen communities across the state and to allow organizations within them to better provide services to impoverished individuals and families. 

Krystal Smith (Buffalo, NY)
Krystal recently graduated from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology. She is originally from Miami, and she looks forward to fulfilling the AmeriCorps pledge to “get things done” during her VISTA year.

About AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a national service program that has been working to alleviate poverty in America since 1965. The program’s nationwide corps of VISTA members serve full-time for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that fight poverty. Since its inception, more than 200,000 individuals have served with AmeriCorps VISTA. Annually, more than 8,000 members made a difference at over 3,000 sites across the country.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit AmeriCorps.gov/VISTA

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