November AmeriCorps*VISTA Spotlight: Amelia Bass

The Winston-Salem Community Action Coalition consists of 18 AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) members sponsored by the Office of Civic & Community Engagement (OCCE) at Wake Forest University. 

Members are placed in full-time, capacity-building roles with community organizations throughout Winston-Salem in the areas of educational equity, economic empowerment, and health and food justice. United by their passion to make a difference, VISTA members have vowed to complete a year of national service and create meaningful change in Winston-Salem and beyond.

Last year, a cohort of 9 VISTA members helped Winston-Salem community partners apply to 54 grants and receive $235,650.00 in funding; support 454 programs and events for their service sites; contribute over 72,000 hours of service; and engage almost 1,500 community volunteers. 

As the year progresses, each month members of the 2019-20 VISTA Cohort will be featured in the OCCE News Letter. 

This month the OCCE is happy to introduce Amelia Bass, the 2019-20 AmeriCorps VISTA with Kids Cooking Coalition (KCC). In her position, Bass builds capacity by reviewing KCC educational materials, researching grants, assessing the needs of community partners, and managing the donation database.

Bass,-Amelia_VISTAAmelia Bass, AmeriCorps VISTA at Kids Cooking Coalition

Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC
Alma Mater: Appalachian State University (‘19)
Degree: Bachelor of Social Work
Favorite place in Winston-Salem: Barnes and Noble
Favorite quote: “Healthy bodies, healthy minds, healthy communities” -Amelia Bass

Why did you join AmeriCorps VISTA?

I’m very passionate about social work on the macro level, so being able to work with capacity building on a large scale is my niche. 

Additionally, I knew I wanted to return to Winston-Salem, after receiving my degree, and give back to my community. I set to do that through AmeriCorps, by diving deeper into social injustices, while also building my professional skill set. I am specifically interested in food justice and health access because they play a significant role in people’s access to resources. For me, the KCC is very significant because its goal is to put the power of education and tools back into the hands of under resourced kids. It is innovative programs like this that contribute to food justice and healthier futures for kids.

What would you say is the highlight of your 2019-2020 VISTA year been so far?

One of the projects that I have been working on is assessing the distribution and allocation needs of community partners and looking at the changes we can make to best fit those. In meeting with these partners I am able to learn more about who they are, what they do, and the people they serve, which really reinforces my passions for service and community. 

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

Sometimes change and progress is slow moving and hard to see while it is happening. So, I’m looking forward to the end of my service term to look back and see how all the small pieces come together to enhance the capacity of Campus Kitchen and the Kids Cooking Coalition. I am also looking forward to building relationships with community partners, student volunteers, and staff of OCCE, while broadening my interpersonal, leadership, and management skills.

What would you want people to know that want to get involved in AmeriCorps?

Having the drive to do a service year includes educating yourself about the community you’re serving, making meaningful connections, asking questions, and setting your preconceived notions aside. Without doing this you will be limiting yourself in your service term. Remember that the people you are serving are the experts in their own lived experiences. 

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