Americorps VISTA: Where are they now?

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We asked some of our former Americorps VISTAs to give us an update since their time with us at United Way...

Kate Buenger (left) and Liz Ford (right)

Liz Ford - 2010-2011

Liz currently works as Lead Facilities Designer at Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.  They have 140 retail offices throughout the state and the main office in downtown Indianapolis. Liz designed the interiors for all of those offices and set all design branding standards for the company. She actually designed and managed the construction of the Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance Office in Anderson, right next to the Family Christian store on Scatterfield! 
 
For her personal life, Liz bought a house in Carmel with her partner, Eric, a little over 2 years ago. No kids but they do have a "pretty adorable" cat named, Penny.

Ashley Waterbury-Carpenter (left) and Melissa Fenn Davis (right)

Ashley Waterbury-Carpenter - 2011-2012

Originally from Blissfield, Michigan, Ashley came to Anderson as a student of Anderson University.  During their time as VISTAs, Ashley and her fellow VISTA, Melissa Fenn, helped to develop the framework for our United Way's financial stability work and partnerships. She used the experience to grow connections and continues to be involved in Anderson. In 2012, Ashley was hired immediately following her VISTA position to become the Resource Development Manager for Alternatives Inc. of Madison County.

Currently, she is the Chief Operating Officer at Alternatives Inc.  She and her husband, Colt, live in Anderson and are actively involved in community efforts including the creation of Anderson's first disc golf course and the Anderson Disc Golf Club.


Alexa Glaize (left), Sally Fritsche (center), and Katherine Regester (left)

Sally Fritsche - 2013-2014

Sally worked with Americorps VISTA at United Way of Madison County in 2013-2014. After leaving us, she decided to pursue ordained ministry in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and applied to seminary in the autumn of 2014. She studied at Harvard Divinity School for three years and received her Master of Divinity in May 2018. She’s now working as a Ministerial Intern (a final step before being ordained) at First Parish in Needham MA. She recently married her partner of 11 years, Miles Faaborg, who is working as a research fellow at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. They live together in Somerville MA, and dream of one day finding their way back to the Midwest.
 
Sally hopes to work with college campuses and Unitarian Universalist congregations to create spaces for atheist, agnostic, and nontraditionally spiritual people to define their own stories, search for authentic expressions of spiritual community, and work to live out their values in the world.

Savannah Edwards (left), Jessika Turner (center), and Jacquee Kurdas (right)

Jacquee Kurdas - 2014-2015

Jacquee discovered my passion for economic opportunity through AmeriCorps VISTA. During her year at United Way, she built community relationships and trained volunteers to implement a countywide tax program that refunded $686,000 back to the community. Seeing tax filers discover that they could pay their heating bill because of their tax refund was life-changing for her. "This was economic opportunity in action!" She felt fulfilled and went on to serve a second year at United Way of King County in Seattle. While her role there was different, the overall experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA helped her figure out how to blend her background in social work with her project management skills. 
 
Today, Jacquee serves as the Director of Development at Ventures, a Seattle-based nonprofit that helps low-income entrepreneurs start small businesses as a way out of poverty. She set the organization’s fundraising strategy and is able to combine the skills she gained in AmeriCorps – grant writing, relationship building, volunteer engagement, budget management and more – with her passion in economic opportunity for all.

As we hear from others, we'll share their stories with you.