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AmeriCorps VISTA Members
Welcoming Communities Initiative
Valerie is entering her second term in AmeriCorps, this time with Texas Impact. Valerie's prior term was served in 2009, at Idaho PCEI as conservation educator with the Idaho Fish and Game Services. Valerie feels it was the best year of her life and is very excited to have the opportunity to serve again. This time, within her home community and with cultures that are close to her heart. Valerie earned a Bachelors of Science degree at Texas State University in San Marcos in Natural Resource Management and GIS certificate in 2007. Shortly after returning to Texas in December of 2009, Valerie began working for the Baptist Health System as a certified nurse aide/CNA. Overall, she hopes to use the skills she gained from her prior term, the hospital and education, along with her passion for service to make the Welcoming Communities Initiative a very successful position and year ahead.
Leandro Marroquin is from Cibolo, TX and has worked in law enforcement and social services. He is currently a non-commissioned officer in the Texas Military forces. Leandro earned his Associates of Science degree in criminal justice in 2005 and his Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology in 2008. Leandro was awarded the Texas Medal of Merit during disaster operations in the Rio Grande Valley in 2008. Leandro holds to the philosophy that it is our duty to help those that cannot help themselves. He projects this philosophy by his actions in helping others.
Imara Brenyan is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving in Houston.
Gaby is a first generation college student who recently graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a bachelor's degree in Management, and minors in Spanish and Political Science. She has a desire to work in the public health sector in either public policy or health administration. She is excited to become part of the AmeriCorps family as an AmeriCorps VISTA through Texas Impact. She served as President of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and is passionate about innovation and health. She would someday like to develop a service or product that can aid in providing health relief for people around the world. She is passionate about making a difference in this world and is excited to learn more about the world through AmeriCorps.
Elaine Kieffer is a graduate of St. Edward’s University, where she used her political science degree to encourage access and participation in government within her community. Through her work in voter registration and transparency in government, she has sought to make communication and personal relationships with government available for all Texans. She holds certificates in Anti-Corruption and Transparency and American Government from Transparency International and Universidad de Los Andes. Elaine is a proud Texan who is passionate about her community’s voice and power to create change. In her service year with Texas Impact, she hopes to build stronger associations between nonprofits and faith communities united in addressing the needs of people affected by forced migration in Texas.
Emma is in her second year as a VISTA member. She previously served as a full-time Community Asset Mapping VISTA at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, a resettlement agency in Louisville, KY. She worked closely with caseworkers and housing coordinators to strengthen the agency's relationships with housing partners and to ensure the housing program was sustainable. From this, she developed ways to better connect clients to resources, services, and points of interest in their neighborhood, and the city at large.
Emma graduated with a BS in Political Science and a minor in Economics from the University of Louisville and has extended international experience in Southeast Asia. She is passionate about the arts and loves classical singing.