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Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators
Backpacks of Love Cumberland Elementary School Coordinators

Rumana Chattopadhyay-Reid

Story of Service: Rumana Chattopadhyay-Reid

“I have always been drawn to public service,” reflects Rumana Chattopadhyay-Reid, who started volunteering as a teenager in West Bengal, India. She regularly volunteered for 4-5 hours each weekend in a neonatal care facility while completing her bachelor’s degree. After moving to South India for graduate school, she met the man who would become her husband, an American student who was studying abroad. Together, they moved to the United States, where Rumana began teaching at a reservation school and the couple started a family.   Then, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and changed everything. Rumana became a stay-at-home mother, working to ensure that...

Rachel Haines

Story of Service: Rachel Haines

Rachel Haines

Claudia Ramirez Cuéllar

Story of Service: Claudia Ramirez Cuéllar

AmeriCorps member Claudia Ramirez Cuéllar currently serves at Aspire Afterschool Learning as the Parent Coordinator in the AmeriCorps Learning Links program. In her role, Claudia connects with the parents of Aspire students to share student progress, successes, and challenges. She greets parents as they pick up their students and communicates regularly through phone calls and text messages. She also organizes monthly talks for parents on relevant topics, such as how to read report cards, how parent-teacher conferences work, keeping children safe on the internet, and advice surrounding mental health for the parents and children. As a result of her proactive...

C’erra Rhodes

Story of Service: C’erra Rhodes

C'erra Rhodes is a first-year Virginia Collage Advising Corps adviser at Madison County High School, having graduated from Radford University in 2023. She attended Charlottesville High School, where a VCAC college adviser supported her with her own college application process. “I was served by VCAC advisers throughout my junior and senior high school years," recalls C’erra. “I wanted to serve as a VCAC adviser because I remember the challenges I faced during the college application process as a first-generation student. Without the guidance of my VCAC adviser, I'm not sure if I would have navigated it successfully on my own.”...
Sydney Sanders

Sydney Sanders

Story of Service: Sydney Sanders

Sydney Sanders is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. She originally discovered AmeriCorps VISTA in college, hearing fellow students discuss their post-graduation plans. "After I graduated, I knew I wanted to find a program or position that would afford me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained in school, while also cultivating new skills," she recalls. "What drew me to serve was the unique position I applied for and ended up being offered." Through her VISTA service at the Federation, Sydney has had the chance to be involved in a broad range of...

Doug Mueller

Story of Service: Doug Mueller

Congratulations to Doug Mueller, one of the many dedicated Virginia volunteers who was nominated for the 2023 Serve Virginia Honor Roll, which spotlights the volunteers that serve their communities in a variety of ways, promoting quality of life and creating a lasting impact for others across the Commonwealth! In early 2020, when Doug began volunteering at the Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve near Portsmouth, Virginia, he had retired from a job in the U.S. government and was mourning the death of his 95-year-old father just months earlier. Doug recalls, "Dad was standing by my side when I enlisted in the U.S....

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