Last week was the 2022 AmeriCorps Week, which took place on March 13th through March 19th. In honor of AmeriCorps week we are proud to highlight our current AmeriCorps VISTAS: Treshauxn Dennis-Brown and Dina Knott. Hear from Treshauxn and Dina as they share some of the work they have been doing with Immigration Advocates Network. 

My name is Treshauxn Dennis-Brown and I am the 2021-2022 AmeriCorps VISTA Remote Volunteer Project Coordinator at Immigration Advocates Network. My role centers around enhancing remote legal advocacy through technological advancement and supporting pro bono advocates by providing them with the tools necessary to make innovation to their service delivery models. I accomplish this by conducting a series of interviews and webinars alongside experts in the immigration field. Currently, I am working on IAN’s newest edition of the Remote Legal Support Guide, having compiled a series of profiles from many of our partners. I am excited to see the final version of this Guide be published and serve as a model for future innovations!

My name is Dina Knott. Since the end of last August, I’ve served as Volunteer and Community Education Coordinator at Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) through the AmeriCorps VISTA program. The primary focus of my position is updating IAN’s Nonprofit Library, which consists of finding and reviewing legal training materials and selecting the very best, most up-to-date and accurate ones to post on the site for our pro bono members. I’ve also been working on updating the IAN Legal Directory, which has over 1,200 listings for free or low-cost legal service providers. My favorite part of my job is collaborating with legal partners to make podcasts for our pro bono audience, which has given me the chance to have one on one conversations with legal experts in the field. Since I’m planning on going to law school after my AmeriCorps VISTA term of service, getting to speak to so many practicing lawyers who are well respected in the field is really amazing. Finally, I’ve helped to create our Pro Bono Service Experience for Legal Advocates survey, which will help us identify what kinds of resources our audience of nonprofit and pro bono service providers would find most helpful. In the coming months, I hope to organize my first webinar and look forward to the completion of the directory and library update processes. Outside of work, I enjoy hiking and participating in local theater—you can see me in Theater Company of Laffayette’s production of The Twilight Zone in April!

Also in the spirit of AmeriCorps Week, we wanted to congratulate Dennis Brink on winning the President’s Volunteer Service Award. According to the Presidential Service Awards website: “[t]his award honors individuals whose service positively impacts communities in every corner of the nation and inspires those around them to take action, too.” 

Dennis Brink served three years as an Americorps VISTA Volunteer for Pro Bono Net.  He specifically was working to perform outreach for LawhelpNY running trainings on LawHelpNY’s tools and resources for nonprofits throughout Western New York; providing new tools for nonprofits to assist their constituents. Dennis also worked to assist LawHelpNY with its LiveHelp program. He helped manage, recruit and onboard volunteers, so that can provide impactful assistance to low-income residents.  

Throughout his time as a Vista, Dennis recruited over 300 volunteers who served over 10,000 hours and assisted over 20,000 low-income residents. Dennis also cultivated new strategic partnerships, by working with Monroe’s Access to Justice Coalition to run workshops for local nonprofits on available legal assistance to low-income residents.  Dennis has served over 5,500 hours during his 3 years of Vista service. 

Our final shout out to the Americorps VISTA Program comes from Pro Bono Net’s Development Strategist Kathleen Klock. Kathleen began her career in nonprofit development almost 20 years ago as a VISTA Volunteer at Advocates for Children of New York. Since then, Kathleen has used the skills she learned as a VISTA Volunteer to raise tens of millions of dollars for nonprofit organizations in New York, the US, and internationally.  From Kathleen’s perspective, the Americorps VISTA Program not only provides excellent services to under-resourced communities, but also provides valuable on-the-job training for people who want to start a career in the nonprofit sector.