Hello everyone, and welcome back to our VISTA Spotlight Series! Each month we spotlight one of our AmeriCorps VISTA Members and the amazing work they do. Our members and their host sites are the heart and soul of our program, and we want to show our appreciation for their efforts.

This month we have the opportunity to showcase our Afterschool Corps VISTA at Warren Wilson College, Victoria! Before joining VISTA Victoria attended James Madison University in  Harrisonburg, VA. While earning her bachelor’s degree in biology, Victoria was greatly involved in serving her community with the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. She also worked in the Community Service Learning office her senior year which is where she learned of AmeriCorps and began exploring a service year as her post graduate plans. Before starting her service Victoria completed a summer internship in Valencia, Spain with an NGO focusing on serving individuals with disabilities and providing them with opportunities to develop professional skills and enter the workforce. Victoria was drawn to VISTA and specifically the NCCE Afterschool Corps Program because of the great professional development opportunities VISTA presented and the opportunity to work with educational initiatives which is a passion of hers.

At Warren Wilson College Victoria works in the Community Engagement office as the Afterschool Corps VISTA.  Much of her role is focused on forming meaningful community partnerships especially related to youth education. Before Victoria came to Warren Wilson college there had not been a VISTA in this role as COVID had put up roadblocks for ECO Team. 

EcoTeam is an educational support program where students from Warren Wilson College go into schools in the Swannanoa, NC community and teach school age students mini lessons on the environment. Victoria is working on expanding these programs in the lessons taught and how many schools and classrooms the tutors have access to.

Upon starting at Warren Wilson this summer Victoria was tasked with revamping the Eco Team. She spent much of the beginning half of her service learning about EcoTeam and how the programs had been delivered in the past and made adjustments to the programs to make them current.  This work included connecting with people who used to be involved in the program, reviewing old documents and outlining how the pilot programs would work starting this January. 

She then prepared and planned the logistics for a pilot program in the Spring, including student volunteer recruitment, curriculum overview and development, and connecting with stakeholders that were interested in being involved and schools that wanted EcoTeam to visit their classes. Not only is she proud of rebuilding and restarting this program at WWC, but she has also built capacity by organizing a collaboration between the EcoTeachers and the WNC Nature Center, in which they will bring an animal ambassador to engage the children for one of the weekly lessons. It has been a busy Spring semester running EcoTeam, but the feedback that she has received from the 3rd grade teachers and from students has shown her what a worthwhile and valuable program EcoTeam is.

After her service concludes this summer Victoria plans to return to her home state of New Jersey and continue working with you facing educational programs. She then hopes to become a teaching assistant in Spain through the North American Language and Culture Assistants program. Thank you, Victoria, for your service in AmeriCorps and for all of the great work you have contributed to EcoTeam and the Warren Wilson Community.


This Spotlight Blog was written by Madeline DeLorenzo with information and support from Victoria Tartivita.

Learn more about Warren Wilson College and EcoTeam here.