AmeriCorps VIP Class of 2019 -2020

Lauren Zika – United Way of Ventura County

Lauren Zika was honored to serve at United Way of Ventura County for her 2019-2020 AmeriCorps VIP service year. Prior to national service, Lauren studied at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA where she earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies with minors in German and Theatre Arts. Her professional background has been primarily in youth development, creative expression, STEM education, and sustainability. In pursuit of a new journey, she selected AmeriCoprs VIP in her hometown to experience the world of nonprofits. United Way of Ventura County has allowed her to generate change in areas of education, health, and financial stability to those living in the crisis of poverty. Specifically, she is quite proud of the 110 literacy kits, 576 dental kits, 100 festive treat bags, and 120 stuffed backpacks produced through UWVC facilitated Corporate Volunteer Engagement projects. These resources are given to local organizations and schools serving clients ranging from pre-school students to senior citizens. This places a smile on her face and warmth in her heart that community members are reminded they are important. Soon, Lauren hopes to teach children in nature, educate communities on local food production, and continue the process of being a grateful/happy/hopeful human. AmeriCorps VIP has show Lauren that utilizing passion and care in local communities will be the major driving factor fora sustainable future.

Jennifer Raymond (Lead) – CSU Channel Islands

Jennifer Raymond was raised in Oxnard, CA. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Social Inequality from UC San Diego and her master’s degree in Public Health/Health Promotion from National University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health from Capella University. After a decade of working in clinical trials with the University of California, Jennifer wanted a career change in the nonprofit sector. She joined the AmeriCorps VIP program to gain experience and knowledge of nonprofits. The 2019-2020 service term was her second year of service, where she served with the Center for Community Engagement at CSUCI.

Sycora Powell – Ventura County Area Agency on Aging

Sycora Powell served with Ventura County Area Agency on Aging. The Are Agency on Aging is dedicated to assisting the elder adult population of Ventura County by providing services ranging from health insurance assistance to bi-lingual services and even free organic vegetables for senior’s meals. Approximately 10 volunteer programs assist in the advancement, protection, and care of elder adults. One of my major tasks was to focus on volunteer intake and to create a volunteer tracking system. COVID-19 changed my workday from being at the office to my home becoming my office. In the beginning it was a challenge, but I was able to finish strong. We recruited more than a hundred new volunteers to help assist VCAA respond to the pandemic including providing over 23,279 meal deliveries. I am grateful to have been able to take a role as an AmeriCorps VIP with an organization that makes elder adults lives a priority.