Why I Serve: Initiative Foundation AmeriCorps VISTA Testimonials

VISTA Alumni Beverly

Beverly Cawyer

AmeriCorps VISTA Member

Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project | ’14-’15

“My experience with VISTA and the Initiative Foundation was one that I will never forget. I was given opportunities to lead, create and forge a path for my organization, all tasks I would never likely have the chance to do in an entry-level position. Because of my year with VISTA, I am a more confident, skilled and competent individual.”

Beverly currently lives in Texas and is a New Student Ambassador at Abilene Christian University where she advises online graduate students pursuing their Masters of Education or Doctorate of Education.

VISTA Alumni Betsy

Betsy Huston

AmeriCorps VISTA Member

Northern Pines Mental Health | ’11-’15

“Dear fellow Boomers – are you up for adventure? Want to use those incredible skills that you spent years developing for a greater good? How about finding out what you can really do given another chance for personal discovery? I highly recommend the VISTA experience. I signed up thinking I was going to do one year and ended up doing four. Four incredible years!”

Betsy has landed in the Quad Cities, Iowa because her granddaughters and their parents are moving there. She’s doing AmeriCorps service with Rebuilding Together Quad Cities and hopefully will be serving there a second year (so long as, in Betsy’s words, Congress gets its act together).

VISTA Alumni Ashley

Ashley LaLiberte

AmeriCorps VISTA Member

College of St. Benedict, Community Kitchen | ’14-’15

“Community Kitchen taught me that communities are built by their members. Through my service I learned about healthy food access issues within my community and how, as a community, we can address those barriers and move towards a more sustainable and equitable future. VISTA gave me the confidence to move forward in my career path.”

Ashley currently lives in Minneapolis, MN and just recently accepted a new position with the University of Saint Mary’s as a Program Coordinator for the Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling Psychology graduate school programs.

Katie Spoden

AmeriCorps VISTA Member

University of Minnesota Extension | ’14-’15

“Serving as a VISTA provided me with the opportunity to take what I learned in my college classrooms and apply it the issues I care about in my community, namely healthy food access. There is no other opportunity that could have so perfectly married my desire for professional experience in the public sector and my desire to do meaningful work locally.”

Katie currently lives just north of Chicago and works at a food co-op. She will begin graduate school at Illinois State University in the fall where she will study Applied Community and Economic Development.