Five AmeriCorps VISTA members have joined the United Way of Tarrant County team to help address social issues identified in the organization’s Community Assessment and to strengthen collaboration, leadership and capacity building in the Tarrant County community.
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet the most pressing challenges and advance local solutions. The AmeriCorps VISTA program was first developed by President John F. Kennedy, United Way said in a news release.
United Way of Tarrant County’s Community Assessment, released in January 2019, identified five key issues in Tarrant County including: Housing and homelessness; health, mental health and wellness; transportation; education, early childhood and youth; and basic needs, emergency assistance and financial stability.
VISTA team members will focus on the issues from the Community Assessment and also work together to explore how the issues are interconnected. The VISTAs will serve with United Way of Tarrant County through August 2021.
“United Way of Tarrant County is fortunate to have these five AmeriCorps VISTAs join our team,” said Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County. “Their dedication to public and community service is perfectly aligned with United Way of Tarrant County’s mission to solve some of the most challenging issues in our community.”
The AmeriCorps VISTA team members are:
Lydia Gulnac, VISTA Team Leader: Gulnac spent the last two years as a Community and Organizational Development Peace Corps Volunteer in Moldova, where she served with a local nonprofit, learned Romanian and practiced her Russian speaking skills. She has both a BS and an MS in international political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Andrea DuBose, Affordable Housing VISTA: DuBose spent more than a decade in real estate and finance before transitioning to aviation five years ago. She most recently held the role of Community Relations Chair for the Professional Women in Aviation Employee Business Resource Group at American Airlines. With the onset of the pandemic, she decided to transition away from aviation to community service. DuBose has an MBA in finance and accounting, a BS in commercial aviation and a BA in English and creative writing, all from Liberty University.
Candis White, Ed.D., Educational Equity VISTA: White recently moved from Nashville, where she worked in education and criminal justice and focused her career on the school-to-prison pipeline. She is currently pursuing a M.Div. from Brite Divinity School. White has an Ed.D. in learning organizations and strategic change from Lipscomb University, a M.Ed. in education administration and supervision from Tennessee State University and a BA in English from Xavier University of Louisiana.
Nadine Salas, Community Needs VISTA: Salas most recently was elected as Commissioner of Community Affairs as a student at California State University, Chico, where she focused on community relations and public safety as a liaison between the student body and the City of Chico. Salas has a BS in public administration and a double minor in communication studies and diversity studies from California State University, Chico.
Sheereen Ibtesam, Transportation Access VISTA: Ibtesam is a native Texan from Galveston Island with parents originally from West Bengal, India. She most recently served as an intern with VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio and RailVolution in Minneapolis. She has also served in two prior AmeriCorps positions. Ibtesam has an MS in urban and regional planning from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BS in international political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.