Three new VISTAs have recently joined the Refugee Support Network! Here’s an introduction to who they are and what they’ll be doing during their year with the RSN.
Education Services Coordinator
Jewish Family Service
As the Education Services Coordinator VISTA at Jewish Family Services, Cordelia Revells works to increase the scope of educational opportunities for JFS adults and youth. Since graduating from Oberlin College in 2010, Cordelia has worked in various education settings that serve immigrant communities and at-risk youth, and she is excited to continue this work at JFS. In her free time, Cordelia enjoys reading, running, and exploring new areas.
Resource Development Coordinator
East African Community Services
Hi, my name is Brie Robertori, and I just relocated from the SF Bay Area to be an AmeriCorps VISTA with East African Community Services (EACS). After studying Anthropology and International Development as an undergraduate at the University of CA, Berkeley, I have been looking forward to the opportunity to work with international populations, and specifically underserved immigrants living in the US. With this goal in mind, I’m excited to begin my position as Resource Development Coordinator at East African Community Services, an organization that provides social services and educational programming to East African refugees. Since EACS’s inception in 2001, the organization has been evolving to fit the needs of its population. Because navigating the American public school system poses one of the biggest challenges to our population, we have begun providing academic and mentorship programs to refugee youth.
Working in this small but dynamic community based organization, I often get the question “Resource Development Coordinator . . . what does that mean?” At the most basic level, it means that I am applying for grants with government, private, and corporate funders and cultivating relationships with funding sources. Luckily for me, my job is so much more than just that. I am also working with the Executive Director and Program Director to create EACS’ strategic funding plan. In order to get to know the organization, my days are full of meetings with community based organizations, school administration, and state employees; self-directed grant research and professional development; and welcomed time away from the computer with the sweet and incredibly out-going kids from the community.
Although the position will be challenging, I am excited for this opportunity to get to know EACS and the East African refugee population, and I know this year will be a profoundly rewarding one.
Youth Programs Coordinator
Coalition for Refugees from Burma
As the new VISTA Youth Programs Coordinator at the Coalition for Refugees from Burma, Siobhan Whalen will work with the Education Programs Manager to develop and expand youth programs such as parent workshops, cultural competency trainings for school faculty, and student mentoring programs. She will also be supervising CRB volunteers to support their work with the Burmese community. By working with the talented staff at CRB, Siobhan hopes to make a valuable contribution to her localized international community.
Siobhan graduated from the University of New Hampshire with dual degrees in Anthropology and Sociology. While completing her undergraduate degrees she studied abroad in Rajasthan, India for four months with a program that emphasized social justice and development. Since graduating in 2010, Siobhan has been developing her communication and problem solving skills in the workforce, moving to a new city (Seattle, WA), and in her free time sewing and making arts and crafts. She is extremely excited and motivated to have a positive learning experience in this year of service.
Coalition for Refugees from Burma http://www.allburmarefugees.org/
Siobhan will be serving with the RSN’s newest partner organization, the Coalition for Refugees from Burma. The Coalition for Refugees from Burma (CRB) has been helping refugees from Burma since 2006. Established as a Mutual Assistance Association and registered 501c(3) in 2009, CRB’s goal is to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate social support services to improve the living conditions and quality of life of resettled refugees. CRB intentionally reaches across ethnic, religious and language barriers to foster community cohesion and build capacity.