AmeriCorps Community Partnership

AmeriCorps VIP- Volunteer Infrastructure Program

AmeriCorps VIP trains and places AmeriCorps members to increase the number of volunteers providing needed services to children, youth and families who face economic hardship in the community.

AmeriCorps Members are placed at fellow non-profits and serve as part of a community team, working to coordinate programs and support volunteers.

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Check out our 2015-2016 Partnering Agencies

Contact the AmeriCorps Lead Coordinator, Spencer Takata, at (831) 427-5070 or at for questions about the program.

2014-2015 AmeriCorps VIP Members

Lucy R AmeriCorps Lucy Rodriguez graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from UCSC, and is a Santa Cruz County native. She is now working as the volunteer coordinator at Friends Outside, where she is excited to serve her community through providing support for currently incarcerated people, their families and those recently released by providing information that can help lead to positive changes. In her free time, Lucy loves being creative through art, crafting, and taking in music and culture. Upon her completion of her service year she hopes to continue working in the non-profit sector. Contact:


Paige Petersen is an AmeriCorps VIP member working as volunteer coordinator for the Young Writers Program. She is thankful for being able to work in the mystical Santa Cruz and enjoys mountain biking, writing, and relaxing as the warm light creeps into evening. She fully appreciates this experience as an AmeriCorps member, the inspiring people she has gotten to know, and the purpose it has brought to her life. Always looking forward to what the next day will bring, Paige hopes to continually challenge herself in steps to come. Contact:


Tiffany M. Smith, AmeriCorps VIP Fellow serving at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. I went to Lincoln Memorial University for Social Work. It’s located just before the Tennessee state line turns into Kentucky in a little place called, Harrogate. I’m proud to be the first one in my family to graduate from college and with all honors.  My life experiences give me the drive, motivation, resilience, and empathy I need to work in any helping job. My passion in life is to help others who just need a little support in their lives like I did.  Since I moved to California to serve in AmeriCorps, I have volunteered with the Children’s Museum of Discovery, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Digital Nest, United Way, Santa Cruz Animal Shelter, and more.  I serve as an AmeriCorps VIP Fellow in the Student Support Services Department of the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. The programs I recruit volunteers for are: Students in Transition (homeless students), Teen Peer Court (teen defendants), Healthy Girls Santa Cruz (girl support groups), Sueños (youth workforce training), and much more.  Someday, I hope to have a career working to empower foster care children; although, I will not be disappointed if I end up working with another population.  As long as I have helped at least one person in my life, then I have served my purpose. As Ronald Reagan once said, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” Contact:


Lizzy Speece graduated from Connecticut College in 2013 with a degree in Latin American Studies and a certificate in Community Action and Public Policy. She loves to travel and has studied abroad in Lima, Peru and interned with The Pulsera Project in Nicaragua. Lizzy came to California from Pennsylvania in 2013 to serve with Notre Dame-AmeriCorps at Alianza Charter School in Watsonville. This year, she is very glad to continue to get to know and to work in the Watsonville community with Mesa Verde Gardens. Lizzy hopes to stay in central California and to pursue a career in the non-profit industry. Contact:


Justen Time Maltinsky: After graduating UC Santa Cruz with degrees in Environmental Studies and History, Justen sailed aboard the tall ship Lady Washington as a historical educator. He believes in the goal of experiential education and currently serves in Americorps VIP Community Partnership with Digital NEST. Contact:


Michele Martinez is a graduate of  San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Women Studies.  Living in San Francisco inspired her interest in social justice and volunteerism.  Her community service experience has been based in the areas of foster youth, undocumented immigrants, and the homeless.  After her AmeriCorps term, she plans to teach English abroad and continue working in the non-profit sector.Contact:


Jacqueline Brenton graduated in 2014 from UCSC with a degree in Sociology. Through her education she has become passionate about social justice and being the change she wants to see in the world. AmeriCorps presented itself as a great avenue in which to pursue social change in her own community. Currently she works with the Homeless Garden Project coordinating volunteers in the retail store, which provides funding for the wages of the trainees experiencing homelessness. Beyond the social justice passions she also enjoys farming and nature, and in her free time loves to hike and walk at the beach with her bloodhound. Contact:


Hannah Teagle is serving as the Volunteer Coordinator at Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes which is located in Watsonville. Loaves and Fishes is a nonprofit food pantry and kitchen, serving the most of clients of any nonprofit of its kind in Santa Cruz County. After graduating from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina with a degree in Sustainable Development with minors in Nonprofit Management and Spanish, Hannah worked and lived in the beautiful southwest Colorado mountains and desert. She then moved to Santa Cruz to start as Volunteer Coordinator, where she brings her passions for food justice and the outdoors to Loaves and Fishes. She hopes to learn even more about nonprofits and the United States food system as well as teach others about the joys of being outdoors and growing food to sustain themselves! Contact:

Spencer Takata graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in June 2014 with a B.S. in Kinesiology. While attending Cal Poly, Spencer discovered a passion for service as he became involved in campus clubs that created opportunities to make a real difference in his community. After graduating, he felt drawn to Santa Cruz- mainly because of the legendary surfing- and was fortunate to join the Americorps VIP program. Spencer is proud to serve as the Americorps Team Lead providing support and resources to his fellow Americorps members, and collaborating with Volunteer Center staff to mobilize volunteers, coordinate events, and develop partnerships with community leaders. In his free time, Spencer enjoys playing guitar, exercising, going to the beach, and pursuing his passion/side job as a professional fire dancer. Contact:


Liz Hochler is a Santa Cruz native and graduated from Chico State University with a B.S. in Business Administration and Human Resource Management this past May. She is now working as the Volunteer Coordinator at 180/2020, where she is helping permanently house the most disabled and medically vulnerable homeless in Santa Cruz. Liz really wants to help address the problem of homelessness in Santa Cruz and make an impact by her completion of her service year. Liz enjoys singing and playing music in her spare time as well as adventuring to new countries and exploring new cultures and baking bread . At the end of her service Liz hopes to travel and go to culinary school. Contact:

Magi Ruiz is currently serving as the AmeriCorps VIP member at the Graffiti Removal Project. She is a Santa Cruz native and has an Associates Degree in Sociology from Cabrillo College. She hopes to continue working in non-profit organizations in Santa Cruz County. Contact:

Desiree Farnal graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science. During her time in college, she tutored children in the Dominican Republic, and volunteered as Program Coordinator for a youth scholarship program in Ghana. Her time in these countries revealed not only the educational needs of children abroad, but also those in her community. She continued her efforts to ensure children have access to educational resources as an AmeriCorps literacy tutor in Salinas, CA last year, and hopes to pursue youth law in the non-profit sector. Desiree looks forward to her term as a YouthSERVE volunteer coordinator where she can create and expand volunteer opportunities for youth in the Santa Cruz County. She enjoys traveling, reading, and watching re-runs of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.Contact:
Michelle Mecca was born and raised in Dublin, California and moved to Santa Cruz in 2011 to attend UCSC. She graduated in 2013 with her B.A. in Psychology. Michelle is currently serving as the volunteer coordinator for Friends Outside, helping to provide resources to individuals who have experienced incarceration. She is passionate about helping the underrepresented in the Santa Cruz County and is excited to continue to be apart of the community. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling. After her Americorps term Michelle hopes to pursue her PhD in psychology and continue her work in the nonprofit world. Contact Info:

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