Meet our 2021-2022 Americorps VISTAS

Our CommunityGrow’s VISTAS are members of the Americorps VISTA program. The VISTA program started in 1965 and serves in all 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories. Through capacity building activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program serve in an office setting and gain experience and leadership skills. This opportunity prepares members for a life of service in the public, private, or nonprofit sector. Continue reading down below to learn more about our new and incredible CG VISTAS!

Brittney Barron (She/Her)-Community Engagement Coordinator

Hello everyone! My name is Brittney Barron and I am so stoked to be a part of this incredible team! I recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz(GO BANANA SLUGS!) with a bachelor’s degree in Medical and Cultural Anthropology. I heard about CommunityGrows through the AmeriCorps Vista Program, and felt that this was where I wanted to be, especially now that the world is sort of entering this post-pandemic era and opening up again in general. I felt that this would be a great opportunity to support the communities that were greatly impacted by all of the changes that came out of the pandemic.

Throughout college and some of high school, I volunteered for multiple organizations dedicated to serving marginalized communities; Planned Parenthood, FoodNotBombs, and First Step Communities were the ones I was most involved with. My time with Planned Parenthood was committed to providing access to basic healthcare to low-income families and sexual education to schools in our district. FoodNotBombs is an organization dedicated to fighting against food insecurity, and my volunteer work there mostly consisted of assisting our hot meal events where people experiencing houselessness and food insecurity could come to get free hot meals that we prepared. First Step Communities is another amazing organization with the goal of placing folks experiencing houselessness in permanent housing and making sure that their basic needs are met. What I have loved most about doing this kind of work are the connections I have made over the years with the people in these communities, getting to know them, seeing them, and cheering them on as they overcome the obstacles in their lives, big and small. Knowing that I was a part of their journey, even if it was by doing something as simple as handing them a warm plate of food is very fulfilling for me. 

Some of my favorite things to do outside of work include but are not limited to crocheting, playing indoor and beach volleyball, hanging out with family, friends, and my cat, and cooking! I am really excited to be a part of CommunityGrows, and am determined to give the very best of myself for the mission of this wonderful organization!”

Brittney Mendez (She/Her)-Communications & Development Coordinator

Hi yall! I am a first-generation graduate from the University of California, Merced. I graduated in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. I heard about CommunityGrows through LinkedIn after searching for a Communications role that did non-profit work in the community. 

During my undergrad year,  I was involved with student government where I advocated alongside 8 UC campuses and service workers. We protested on issues such as fair contracts for service workers, tuition hikes, food and housing insecurity and many more. I was empowered and gained my public relation skills through a Latina organization called Hermanas Unidas. I gained research skills through a participatory action research project called “Central Valley Freedom Summer” where I conducted research and worked alongside community-based organizations. Our goal was to engage  young people of color in improving their communities through electoral engagement and grassroots organizing. Most importantly, for 3 summers I helped lead a program and mentor first-generation and youth of color on applying to college. 

After graduating from UC Merced, I landed an Communications Internship at Full Court Press Communications in Oakland, California where I learned about traditional communications. This internship definitely prepared and gave me the skills necessary to pursue a career in Communications. What I hope to accomplish during my role as the Communications and Development Coordinator is to help raise CG’s social media presence and funding! Outside of work I love to travel and try new food trucks.”