WELCOME TO AMERICORPS VISTA
WELCOME, Penny Holcomb and Ralph Holcomb! Our newest AmeriCorps VISTAs are Penny Holcomb, working as a Backbone Support Coordinator, and Ralph Holcomb, working as a Grant Writer and Researcher. Read their bios, and more about the entire VISTA team below.
SANTA FE COLLECTIVE IMPACT AMERICORPS VISTA PROJECT
This VISTA project supports Santa Fe collective impact efforts to improve the birth to career outcomes of children, youth, and young adults up to age 24 in Santa Fe to achieve the Opportunity Santa Fe Aspirational Goals with particular focus on low-income and at-risk target populations.
These VISTA members work closely with community leaders and partners to develop and implement collaborative community outreach strategies, improve resource coordination, and engage youth and adults in the community, as well as seek grants and research best practices to ensure long-term sustainability and success of the collective impact efforts.
MEET OUR VISTAS
Watch the short video of AmeriCorps VISTAs working on Santa Fe Collective Action Plans.
Molly Timmins has returned for a second year as the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader after focusing on mentoring and tutoring for a year. In that role she built and maintained a website for the collaborative, coordinated a National Mentoring Month Campaign, and set up trainings for partner organizations’ staff and volunteers. Prior to coming to Santa Fe, Molly graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Psychology. During her time at UMD Molly was a Resident Assistant, Executive Vice President of Circle K International, and served in internships with numerous nonprofits and the DC Public School System. She is excited to take on this new role as a VISTA Leader and work more with the overall Birth to Career initiative. In Santa Fe, Molly is a Big Sister with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region lunch buddy program, is a member of Kiwanis and loves to explore and go hiking!
Jennifer Barreto is the K-12 Academic Support Coordinator. Born in Greeley, Colorado Jennifer has lived in Albuquerque for 13 years. Previously she held positions as Healthy Cooking Teaching Assistant and Educational Caregiver at Children’s Choice, and Communication and Marketing Assistant at local nonprofit LINQ Event Security. Through collaboration with the VISTA program, she aspires to build valuable connections within academia to augment her capacities for outreach, and become a qualified activist in promoting educational enjoyment and achievement. She studies Mass Communications and Photojournalism at the University of New Mexico, and in her free time she enjoys crafting, running, cooking, and photography.
Sarah Raine Cheney will be focusing on Mentoring and Tutoring. Sarah was born in Roswell, NM, and lived in Ruidoso, NM, for many years before settling in Santa Fe. While she studied Graphic Design at Santa Fe Community College, she worked as a nanny for multiple Santa Fe families, a job that eventually led to her working as a Respite Provider for Las Cumbres Community Services. Sarah also volunteers at the support center for Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families, tackling projects as they come. In her spare time, Sarah feeds into her love of nail art, plays with her miniature poodle Shaggy, and studies Japanese in prep for later visits to the country. Sarah ultimately hopes that her work here in Santa Fe will eventually reach back to her home communities, enriching the lives of children.
Dana Greenblatt will be working with the Community Educators Network within the B2C project. Originally from Oregon, she attended school at the University of Oregon and completed a B.A. in Public Policy, City Planning and Management with a minor in Environmental Studies. Dana’s academic work focused on creative methods for citizen participation and inclusion of citizen input in decision making processes and wrote her undergraduate thesis on citizen access to complex environmental decision making. In addition, Dana worked on several environmental campaigns fighting various threats to Oregon’s wilderness. Dana moved to Santa Fe in the fall of 2017 and is enjoying her exploration of the magical Southwest and is excited to embark on her year of service supporting the B2C efforts. She enjoys outdoor activities, engaging in social and environmental issues, working on craft and arts projects as well as growing, cooking and eating delicious food.
Ellie Hoffman will be focusing on Prevention of Disconnected Youth. She has moved to Santa Fe from Missoula, Montana, where she completed a B.A. in Social Work and a Minor in Spanish. Ellie has worked with youth through several afterschool programs including the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA. She also taught English to elementary students in Managua, Nicaragua while studying abroad. She has volunteered for numerous organizations in Missoula that address food security, refugee resettlement, homelessness, and youth development. She enjoys watching live music and exploring the outdoors through hiking, camping, and cross-country skiing. Ellie is excited to invest in the Santa Fe community through her work as a VISTA.
Penny Holcomb will be working primarily with The Reading Group and MathAmigos as she begins her VISTA service with Opportunity Santa Fe. Penny is a Minnesota native, but relocated to Portland, Oregon in 2002 after 18 years of public service in Minnesota – first as an assistant attorney general in the Minnesota Attorney General’s office, and then as executive director for the Minnesota Board of Social Work. In Portland, Penny pursued a new-found passion working with seniors at a multi-level long term care community doing marketing and sales, event planning, and directing a choral group. Penny loves music, hiking, and exploring new places. She is excited about serving the needs of children and young adults through the collaborative efforts of Opportunity Santa Fe.
Ralph Holcomb works on grant writing and research for Opportunity Santa Fe, coming to us from Portland, Oregon. He is unsure if he is retired. Ralph has an MSW + Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Minnesota. He spent fifteen years tenured teaching and administration in undergraduate and graduate social work programs at St. John’s University and the University of St. Thomas. Then, he spent fifteen years in public service as a senior researcher and policy analyst for Multnomah County (Portland OR), mainly in county human services, but also in the DA’s Office. He’s interested in grant writing, program evaluation, presentation of data, data storage problems, research/data collection among at-risk youth and underserved client populations. Hobbies include hiking, doing crosswords and just hanging out with his best friend, Penny Holcomb.
Louise Majorey will be working on the Career Pathways segment of the B2C project. She has been a resident of Santa Fe for over 12 years, having moved here from Virginia where she was teaching Fashion Merchandising and Design at Radford University. Since moving to New Mexico she has been a Family and Consumer Science teacher in the Pojoaque Middle School and Los Alamos High School. She is looking forward to serving as a VISTA and the Santa Fe community in an education related project. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and spending time with her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Emily McRae will be working on the Early Childhood segment of the B2C project. She is originally from Plant City Florida, but moved to Santa Fe last year after finishing her degree because she is taken by extreme environments, such as the desert and tundra. She has her BA in Geography, with a concentration in GIS mapping and statistical analysis, and a minor in Geology. Since moving to NM, she has delivered pizza and substituted for high school and elementary. She enjoys travel, hiking, and spending time with her cat friends, Meatwad and Lawrence. She hopes to someday spend time in Alaska, Iceland, and Antarctica to study and work on environmental preservation and animal welfare.