“TCHH is a fantastic program to build community with other service-minded individuals, encourage personal and professional development and make it possible to live off an AmeriCorps stipend in the Twin Cities.” ~Resident 2016
Our Current Cohort: 2017-2018
Samra: Samra grew up in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area and recently graduated from the College of William & Mary with a major in Public Policy and a minor in History. She will be serving through Americorps with College Possible, a non-profit organization that helps low-income students apply and succeed in college, as a High School Coach. Samra enjoys reading novels and poetry, listening to music, traveling, and forms of exercise that do not involve pure running. Service and social justice are important to her and she is excited to live and interact with the community formed by the Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality over the coming year and to learn more about the Twin Cities.
Michael: Michael has been an extreme optimist his whole life. He tries his best to always see both sides of every story. Michael loves to have nonchalant chats about weird topics! He tries his best to be outside on sunny days, at all costs. He’s an extremely easy going guy that takes a lot of pride in his job. Michael believes how passionate people are in their jobs can tell a lot about them. He is currently debating where to go after this year, professionally. He loves to hear about others experiences with their own jobs. Even more so he loves to tell and hear stories. Everybody has so many stories that define them! It’s what makes us all different and the same, simultaneously!
Sami: After receiving her BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies at UW-Eau Claire last May, Sami has spent the past year living in TCHH and serving with AmeriCorps at the Minnesota Alliance with Youth. This year she served at Wellstone International High School, which is a Minneapolis Public School for recently immigrated students. Both TCHH and AmeriCorps have helped me learn more about other perspectives, social justice, hospitality, leadership, service, and how I can better develop these values into my own life. While initially Sami had planned on only staying in Minneapolis for one year, she later decided that another year here with TCHH and AmeriCorps would best help her continue learning and growing in both my professional and spiritual journeys. This year she is serving with a different AmeriCorps organization, Reading Partners, by promoting literacy for elementary school students as a tutor coordinator. Some aspects of this year will be similar to the past year, but many will also be different. Sami looks forward to the changes and how she can use this year of experiences to better help those around me.
Jack: Jack and grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, located only 90 miles south of the Twin Cities. After graduating from high school, he moved to Winnipeg, Canada, to attend the University of Manitoba where he graduated with a degree in Sociology in the summer of 2016. During his time in Canada, Jack was exposed to a diverse international student community and different ways of thinking which peaked my interest in seeing more of the world; this interest lead him to move to Madrid, Spain where for the past year he has been working as an English Teaching Assistant in an elementary school. This coming year Jack will be serving with AmeriCorps VISTA at College Possible, a nonprofit that helps get low-income students to and through college. He will be helping to evaluate the current standing and functioning of College Possible’s programs, and research was to improve College Possible for future students. Jack looks forward to meeting other young people who are bettering their communities and also seeing all the great things that the Twin Cities has to offer.
Emma: Emma grew up in Wheaton, IL, living with her parents and younger brother. This past spring, she graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. Having always been passionate about learning about different people and perspectives, Emma chose to major in sociology and anthropology, and she took a particular interest in Latin American studies and family/kinship studies. In the summer of 2015, she spent six weeks in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer teacher with Kids Alive International. And during the next school year she studied abroad in Guatemala, getting the opportunity to do independent, ethnographic field research on Kaqchikel Maya kinship and house structure. Emma returned to Guatemala during the following summer to continue this research for my senior thesis. Aside from academics at Carleton, she was also involved in various other campus activities. She was a sprinter and jumper on the varsity track and field team for all four years, took music lessons to learn a couple new instruments, and played the cello (and occasionally the oud) in the Chinese Music Ensemble, the Global Music Ensemble, the cello ensemble, and a few different small chamber groups. Emma also played in the Christian worship band and became very involved in the campus Christian community, serving two years on the leadership panel and starting a discussion group with the goal of bringing the community together and understanding the variety of perspectives present in the community. Additionally, she had the opportunity to be a member of Carleton Council for Religious Understanding (CRU—an interfaith discussion group organized by the chaplain). Emma has always loved exploring and talking about faith and different world views, and really thinks interfaith dialogue can be extremely powerful in developing respect and understanding and healing divides. Thus, fostering dialogue about faith and diversity was a major part of her time at Carleton.
Melissa: Melissa is from a super small town called Millis, Massachusetts. She is the youngest of three kids, with an older sister and an older brother. Her mom still lives in Massachusetts, sister lives in Washington DC and brother lives in New York City so they are pretty spread across the country! Melissa went to the College of the Holy Cross where she was an anthropology major with a concentration in Latin American Studies. She moved to the Twin Cities in August 2016 to work for College Possible, where she will be working for a second year while living with TCHH. Melissa decided to do her first term of service with Americorps because she has always been very committed to community service. During high school engaging with service helped me through a really rough part of my life and ignited a passion within me that continues today, as she starts her second term of service! Melissa is a pretty “go with the flow” type person, always up for spontaneous adventures and willing to do crazy things like move across the country to a place she didn’t know anyone! When she’s not being adventurous, she’s acting like an old lady, often found under multiple blankets working on her latest crochet project, or in the kitchen baking something super sweet.
Sarah: Sarah is a recent college graduate with a degree in international studies. She loves studying the different parts world, such as; International relations, politics, geography, tourism, culture, and her favorite: people. Sarah loos forward to continuing to learn about the world with AmeriCorps and College Possible. After her service with AmeriCorps she hopes to do service with the Peace Corps and eventually attend law school and work on international human rights. In the meantime, she loves the outdoors, playing/watching sports, spending time with friends, and traveling whenever possible.
Jake: Born in Illinois off the military base, Jake comes from a humble Navy family that moved about until finding a home in Kenosha, Wisconsin when he was a kindergartener. His adult ambitions did not coalesce into a solid plan until he was in high school, where his biology teacher showed him an enthusiasm not only for teaching, but for her discipline. From then on Jake’s wanted to study life and environmental sciences, determined to make his way in academia. His junior-to-senior transition was marked by a six-week program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison called the Summer Science Institute – a place he had never been until that point. That place Jake was determined to return, and not only gained admittance, but received my greatest gift to date: a full-tuition scholarship from the UWMadison Powers-Knapp Scholarship program. As many find, the change in lifestyle from home to college was steep and trying, though his dorm community and scholarship cohort were essential for finding his niche of comfort and belonging. Through public service he realized his passion for working with people on social concerns, and a life of research and lab work became less appealing; Jake’s love for science remained and he discovered an opportunity to teach after school science lessons in Madison community centers with the Adult Role Models in Science program as well as with the Madison School and Community Recreation summer program. Jake graduated in four years with a Bachelor of Science in Social Welfare with plans to pursue a career in education. This year he will be an AmeriCorps VISTA in the College Possible program serving as an academic coach to 40 high school seniors, and could not be more excited to get to know his students and my TCHH cohort.
Maggie: Margaret is a Carolina girl born and raised. She graduated one year ago from Appalachian State University in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with a degree in communication studies with an emphasis on journalism. Margaret spent the past six months traveling through Ecuador and Colombia, experiencing different cultures, and teaching English. Amongst other things, she is interested in environmentalism and animal rights. In her free time she enjoys cooking and baking, reading, and playing ultimate Frisbee.
Our Third Cohort: 2016-2017
Hayley: Hayley grew up in a suburb of Denver and graduated from a small liberal arts Mennonite college in northern Indiana in May 2015. She studied English writing (focusing on poetry for her senior thesis) and women’s and gender studies. She currently works at the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests and will continue for another year while at TCHH. In the past nine months she has worked for them, she redesigned the website, wrote an encyclopedia of about 150 entries of words related to gender and sexuality in English, developed a new Safe Zone Training Manual, a new Ally Training, worked on our Oral History Project, and written several blog posts. This coming fall, she will be visiting a schools in Kansas and Virginia to do some trainings and give lectures. Outside of work, she writes poetry, reads, goes to workshops and slams, and stays involved in activism and community organizing (especially in the Mennonite church). She also enjoy concerts and listening to music and watching TV series. She tends to read five to six different books at a time and likes to discuss them with whoever is around her.
Samantha: Samantha recently graduated from UW-Eau Claire this spring with a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies. During her time at UWEC, she was able to study abroad three times. Not only was she able to improve my Spanish and appreciation of other cultures during these trips, but she was also able to learn more about herself and how important her faith is to her. She’s also learned the importance of service and giving back to the community. This year she is working with Minnesota Alliance with Youth as a mentor to international high school students. By drawing on her own international experiences, she hopes to relate to these students from a perspective of understanding and teachability. Service, social justice, and tolerance are very important to her, and she looks forward to living in a community of people who also understand the importance of these.
Ocean: Ocean was born in St Paul where they attended Adams Spanish Immersion for grade school and, once, got a snow day on his birthday. Then Caribbean for middle school, where they learned to love fruits with no names and damselfish. Then Apple Valley for a high school of running and theatre and publishing farcical articles about beloved teachers. Then Ohio for college — Spanish, poetry translation, postmodern philosophy, studio art, long runs through long-grass and bleary eyes in gothic rooms. Then Spain to teach English, dry mountains and dryer coworkers, plenty of solitude y mucho idioma. Now back and reborn into something that is beginning to feel right.
Jasmine: Jasmine will be continuing my work as a research technician in an immunology lab at Macalester College this year. In the lab she conducts research on chronic pain, supervises undergraduate researchers, and helps teach immunology classes. She is currently applying to medical school and hopes to matriculate next fall and someday work in primary care in an urban setting. Additionally she spends time volunteering with Planned Parenthood and the high school exchange organization AFS-USA. She is looking forward to making new connections through TCHH this year and learning from her peers who are living lives of service.
Raquel: Raquel worked in Madison, Wisconsin with PASS AmeriCorps the past year. She graduated from Ripon College in May of 2015 with a degree in Psychology. This fall, she’ll be working with College Possible this year as an AmeriCorps member. She is originally from Stillwater, Minnesota, but ironically, she does not know much about the twin cities. She’s excited to experience the cities with everyone. The best way to describe herself is an ambivert, in between extroverted and introverted. If there are any Packers fans, she’s looking forward to watching games together. Also this fall, she’s hoping to find some accountability buddies on remaining healthy.
Shannon: Shannon is serving with the AmeriCorps program College Possible as a virtual-based “CollegePoint” coach, assisting high school juniors and seniors around the country with the college application and financial aid process. Originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, she graduated from the University of Virginia in May 2015 with a degree in Linguistics. Last year, she served with the AmeriCorps program, City Year, in Chicago, working on a team of AmeriCorps members that partnered with an elementary school on Chicago’s South Side to provide small-group tutoring, whole class support, attendance initiatives, behavior/leadership mentorship, and after-school enrichment activities to the students there. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, learning different languages, watching college basketball, practicing yoga, singing/rapping, playing the hand drum, and drawing. She is very excited and thankful to be a part of a community that is committed to community-building and engaging in important conversations with the Houses of Hospitality!
Bethany: Bethany is originally from southern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in May of 2015 with a degree in social work. She will be returning for a second year of AmeriCorps service with College Possible, a non-profit organization that helps low-income students gain admission to and succeed in college. She will be supporting high school seniors in applying to schools, filling out scholarship and financial aid applications, preparing for the transition to college, and making final enrollment decisions. She is looking forward to getting to know other service-minded individuals and continuing to be part of a supportive and growth-oriented community through TCHH.
Mai: Mai grew up in Madison, WI. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare. She enjoys working with non-profit organizations. She would simply like to make small changes in different communities. She dreamed of working with PEACE Corps one day. She will be working with Hmong College Prep Academy in 2016/2017 as a paraprofessional. She likes to travel and discover new things.
Our Second Cohort: 2015-2016
Hannah: Hannah will be spending the next year as a Scholar Coach with Reading Corps at Nellie Stone Elementary School in Minneapolis, and taking some grad school classes at Augsburg. She is excited to be a part of the Twin Cities House of Hospitality to have a community of people to reflect with on my year of service and to help to explore her faith/spirituality and the Twin Cities!
Laura: Laura is an AmeriCorps VISTA through the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation. She works at an immigrant-led community social service agency called Hmong American Partnership, which is dedicated to serving Southeast Asian-Americans and other immigrants/refugees. She hopes to find friends and a supportive community within TCHH and that this community can be spiritually supportive as well. She is especially interested in learning about Buddhism and ways to interpret the Bible.
David: David will be serving this year of public service as an AmeriCorp VISTA at Emerge Community Development in North Minneapolis working to break down barriers to gainful employment for the local community. His passions in life are threefold: volunteerism, education, and human connection. He is excited to be a part of TCHH because of the sense of community that the program fosters. His dream is to find a way to normalize and incentivize philanthropy in the private sector through consumer movement-making.
Jasmine: Jasmine will be coordinating my immunology research lab at Macalester, continuing some of my research projects and helping students with their own experiments. Next summer she plans to apply to medical school with hopes of becoming a primary care physician and working with low-resource populations. In joining the TC Houses of Hospitality, she hopes to engage with peers who are also looking to live lives of service and explore the different capacities in which she can be of service.
Aimee: Aimee believes in the value of community. As part of AmeriCorps, she will be trying to network with employers to help ex-offenders find jobs when they are in the process of reentering from prison. This belief in the value of community building also leads into why she is excited about being a part of Houses of Hospitality. She hopes that being a part of such a community can inspire personal growth. She wants to learn from others.
Bethany: Bethany will be serving as an AmeriCorps member with College Possible, an organization that helps low-income and first-generation students gain admission to and succeed in college. She will specifically be working with college students as a College Coach. Through the Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality program, she is hoping to live more intentionally and be mindful of actions she takes and the world around she. She also hopes to learn and grow through reflection, getting to know and engaging in conversations with others committed to service work, and explore her spiritual beliefs.
Christine: Christine is currently an AmeriCorps VISTA Program Specialist at Ka Joog Nonprofit Organization. Ka Joog works to mentor and empower Somali youth through a number of after school programs and outreach activities. After a year of service in China, she was looking for a way to give back to international communities in the US. That’s how she got involved with AmeriCorps. As a resident at TCHH, she hopes to find a community of people that will both support and challenge her.
Our First Cohort: 2014-2015
Maya: Maya is a Phillips Family Foundation VISTA serving at Lifetrack to help the underserved secure employment. Last year, she completed the Montana Conservation Corps program through AmeriCorps, and moving to Minnesota is her latest adventure. She studied philosophy and fine art and is interested in using the arts for social change. Maya remains in the Twin Cities, where she is actively involved in the arts community.
Toska: Toska is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a degree in Kinesiology and a concentration in Fitness Leadership. During her AmeriCorps VISTA term with Phillips Family Foundation serving at RESOURCE and working on an employment readiness project, she is interested in learning more about racial and economic disparities and how to find solutions to these problems. While in the TCHH community she hopes to develop more within her Christian faith and learn ways to effectively give and receive support to others. She enjoys anything outdoors, hands on crafts, reading and learning new things. Toska is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health at West Virginia University.
Laura: Laura is spending her year as an AmeriCorps VISTA member as an Education Evaluator at Hmong American Partnership, where she ensures quality programming for Hmong and Karenni youth. She graduated last May from the University of Minnesota Morris with Anthropology and Psychology degrees. An Apple Valley, MN native, Laura enjoys living in the St. Paul house and learning about life in an urban setting. Laura has continued on to be a member of our 2015-2016 cohort!
Patience: I am from Zimbabwe, and then moved to New York City area. I graduated from Fairfield University, a Jesuit institute in Fairfield, CT with my B.A in Communication with a focus in Health Communication. A breakthrough experience for me was when I served in Madras, India for the Indian Gospel Mission organization (IGM) for two months. I worked with youth who did not have a lot of things, but were grateful. The bigger picture for my life is to attend Divinity School, because I love the Bible and I read it like a novel. Service to others will be my ministry, and I will be preaching exactly that. I am interested in working with troubled youth, women and the needy populace both in the U.S.A and developing countries. I know that wherever life takes me, my hope is to always walk humbly, in the name of love, compassion, and service. I am serving as an AmeriCorps Promise Fellow at a middle school in north Minneapolis because this world is in need of my unique talents and gifts to survive. Patience is currently a student at Duke Divinity School.
Larissa: Larissa is a native of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and graduated from the University at Albany this past May with her bachelor’s degree. She came to Minnesota to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Minnesota Literacy Council in South Saint Paul at South Suburban Adult Basic Education because service and especially service that enables learning is important to her. Finding a community like TCHH has been a godsend and has allowed her guinea pigs for her kitchen experiments. Larissa has moved on to an AmeriCorps position in Ohio, working with technology in libraries.
Our Program Coordinator
Star Wynn: Star is from Summerville, South Carolina. She graduated from High Point University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Star has worked at the YMCA, mostly in the child care department, doing program development and event planning and was a Child Protective Services Casemanager. Last year Star served as an Americorps VISTA with Operation de Novo, which gave second chances to first time offenders in the Criminal Justice system. Star has also spent time in an inter-faith intentional community on the North side of Minneapolis where she developed a passion for building communities. She has received her Facilitative Mediation certification and started racial reconciliation circles with various faith communities. Star is currently attending the University of Minnesota’s Human Resources and Industrial Relations Masters of Arts program. She is excited to begin this journey with the Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality!
Contact her with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Lutter, Co-Chair, Presbyterian Church of the Way
Phillip Romine, Co-Chair, House of Hope Presbyterian Church
Anna Kendig, Westminster Presbyterian Church
Patrick Mulvihill, Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs
Jill Winter, The House of Hope Presbyterian Church