VISTA graduates and opportunities at JFCS
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VISTA graduates and opportunities at JFCS

Michele Wellikoff (Photos courtesy JFCS)
Michele Wellikoff (Photos courtesy JFCS)

Over the last year, Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Northern New Jersey has hosted AmeriCorps VISTA members, introducing recent college graduates to the world of nonprofits. (VISTA stands for Volunteers in Service to America.) Sandra LeShaw facilitates the JFCS Americorps Vista program.

Michele Wellikoff, JFCS’s director of development since May, is an AmeriCorps veteran. From 1997 to 1998, she was a VISTA volunteer with the New York City Community Food Bank, where she helped screen people for food stamp eligibility and helped in tasks related to nonprofit management and social service agencies. After receiving a master’s degree in social work, she worked at JFS Clifton and now she is at JFCS in Teaneck.

This month, AmeriCorps graduate Katie Wolchko joined JFSC as its full-time grants associate. She started at JFCS as an AmeriCorps VISTA last year, assisting the fundraising and administrative teams. Connecting her day-to-day work with the JFCS mission was a significant part of her learning process.

Sandra LeShaw, left, with Ariel Barreras and Katie Wolchko.

Ariel Barreras joined JFCS as an AmeriCorps VISTA last August and recently accepted a position as a library assistant in Bergen County. At JFCS, she worked closely with many professionals and was the VISTA member assigned to the Re-Launch Career Services initiative. She also will use an AmeriCorps VISTA educational grant to attend Rutgers University for her master’s degree.

JFCS has three open positions for AmeriCorps VISTA members that will begin in September or October. They are in the food pantry, Re-Launch Career, and fundraising and administration departments. Two positions in marketing and the Club Ed afterschool program have been filled. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to SandraL@jfcsnnj.org.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a federal government initiative that provides opportunities for nonprofit organizations like JFCS to benefit from the support of VISTA members while creating opportunities for people to add value to the community. VISTA members are often, but not always, recent college graduates who are either exploring career opportunities or in a gap year between undergraduate and graduate school. For more information, go to www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/Americorpsvista. For more information about JFCS go to www.jfcsnnj.org

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