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Amber Matkowski

Story of Service: Amber Matkowski

My experience with AmeriCorps was truly life changing. I completed two years of service, during my junior and senior year at Christopher Newport University. Alternatives Inc. is such a warm and friendly organization to work with. They made it a priority to train us not only to be thorough workers, but to be passionate advocates, exceptional leaders, and supportive team members. They showed me the importance of knowing your program and your team inside and now. By the end of my AmeriCorps service, I felt like I could quickly and efficiently solve problems and take on big challenges. I am...
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Zoie Sickey

Story of Service: Zoie Sickey

Zoie Sickey is a first-generation college graduate and a second-year Virginia College Advising Corps adviser at Salem High School. She studied biomedical engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University and plans to pursue a career in higher education after she completes her service with VCAC. Zoie reflects, “I was fortunate to have a wonderful academic adviser during my time as an undergraduate student, and when I was in the process of job searching, he inspired me to consider advising as a possible career. Because of his suggestion, I came across the posting to become a college adviser with VCAC and have loved...
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Deirdre Arnowitz

Story of Service: Deirdre Arnowitz

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Deirdre continued her volunteer service at Meals on Wheels and helped pack meals to be delivered to those who were unable to leave their residences due to safety reasons. Her favorite aspect of volunteering is offering assistance to older adults who have a difficult time helping themselves. Deirdre has a passion for educating others on the importance of caring for older adults. She has held an adjunct faculty position at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1984. She has also been a member of numerous professional affiliations, such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the...
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Miriam Farris

Story of Service: Miriam Farris

Igniting a Passion for Learning for Struggling Students Miriam Farris is an AmeriCorps member and tutor with The Literacy Lab - Virginia Reading Corps program at Elizabeth Redd Elementary School in Richmond. Redd is a Title I school, which means that a high percentage of its students come from low-income families. Miriam reflects on a recent experience she had working with a struggling student. "I serve fifteen students each day, some of whom are immigrants and English language learners (ELL)," explains Miriam. "My ELL students speak Spanish at home, and they rarely have the benefit of parental reinforcement when it...
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Edward L. Weiner Esq.

Story of Service: Edward L. Weiner Esq.

Congratulations to Edward L. Weiner Esq. - winner of the 2020 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteer! Attorney Ed Weiner has combined his love for jazz and justice to raise much-needed revenue for music scholarships at George Mason University and for and supporting civil legal aid. Ed, who previously served as the past president of the Virginia State Bar and Fairfax Bar and presides over a highly successful annual Law Day event entitled “Weiner Roasts,” developed a special concert event and formed a nonprofit, Jazz4Justice, which has been replicated both within Virginia and across the country....
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Change the World RVA

Story of Service: Change the World RVA

For many kids, high school and college is an exciting and memorable time in their lives. But imagine what it would be like to go through this challenging and important phase without family support, without the tools to learn, and without a place to sleep at night. Change the World RVA, winner of the 2016 Governor's Award for Outstanding Community Organization, is the only organization in Central Virginia specifically addressing the needs of high school and college students who face homelessness. An all-volunteer organization, Change the World saw an overwhelming need in the community – with nearly 1,800 homeless students...

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