History and Mission
Our mission is to connect passionate people with transformative community projects to fight poverty.
Our story began in 2006 when several Yavapai County agencies saw a gap in services, so they brought together a small team of AmeriCorps VISTA members to fight poverty in the region. Several members chose to stay after their service year to develop the Yavapai County VISTA Project. In 2009, we became Serve Yavapai and a program of Prescott College, increasing in scope and size to 25 VISTA members.
During 2013, we expanded to Pima County as well, thus becoming Arizona Serve. We were awarded our first AmeriCorps State and National grant in 2015, which broadened the part- and full-time direct service opportunities available for projects targeting healthy futures, education, and economic opportunities. Additionally, in 2015, Arizona Serve established a partnership with the Tucson Mayor's office in order to implement the Tucson Community Schools Initiative. This initiative places members in three school districts to improve high school graduation rates and connect students to college and career opportunities.
Today, we are a team over 200 strong. We are proud to have one of the largest and top performing AmeriCorps project in the state of Arizona. Our staff, many of whom were National Service members themselves, oversees a collaborative team environment that allows us to support communities in the fight against poverty.
For general questions or information, please contact us at AmeriCorps@arizonaserve.org.
Celia Robidoux, Executive Director
Values based leadership is at the core of who Celia Robidoux is. Service means a lot to Celia, and she sees it as a great responsibility she carries in her work towards a better community for all. Celia brings her expertise in nonprofit management and human development to her current role as the Executive Director of Arizona Serve of Prescott College. She began her career in the public sector in 2006 by serving and working with Public Allies Arizona, an AmeriCorps program of the ASU Lodestar Center. Committed to lifelong learning, she graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Justice Studies with a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies Certification and is a graduate of Class Nine of the American Express Leadership Academy. Celia's service in Tucson involves community based campaigns and coalitions such as Youth on the Rise, a local Pima County collaborative to engage opportunity youth and serving on Pima County’s first Safety + Justice Community Collaborative as part of the MacArthur Foundation-funded effort to safely reduce the local jail population. When not being a facilitator of justice, Celia enjoys spending time with her family and friends; cooking; exploring the landscape and culture of Tucson; and binge watching her favorite shows like Gilmore Girls.
Meg Riley, AmeriCorps Program Director
Meg attended university in Vermont and graduate school in Minnesota. An interest in desert living, consistent sunshine, and family proximity brought her to Tucson almost 20 years ago. Meg has spent most of her career as a teacher working primarily with high school students learning English as a second language. In 2016, she joined the Arizona Serve staff as Program Manager for the Community Schools Initiative. In addition to her work in schools, Meg has worked with parent and family outreach within the Tucson refugee community and supports teachers working with students of refugee background.
Ann Drazkowski, Recruitment and Communications Manager
Ann moved to Tucson from Wisconsin in 2015 to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Arizona Serve and stayed on an additional year as a VISTA team leader. She served in both roles with the Community Schools Initiative, and then supported Arizona Serve as a Recruitment Specialist. Ann holds a Master's of Public Affairs from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she developed skills in program evaluation and non-profit management. She is passionate about recruiting talented individuals to serve in AmeriCorps State and VISTA roles and to develop communication strategies that will share the valuable impact Arizona Serve's AmeriCorps members provide to the community.
Andris Rapa, AmeriCorps VISTA and Administrative Program Manager
Ensuring equal access to opportunity for all and protecting the environment for generations to enjoy are what grounds Andris Rapa and has helped guide him in his career. Andris has previously served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Arizona Serve at Higher Ground and managed a VISTA Grant for two years prior to joining Arizona Serve as the AmeriCorps VISTA and Administrative Manager. In his free time, Andris has been known to travel and sample the local food. Pupusas are his favorite.
Annie Reifsnyder, Training and Program Manager
Annie moved to Prescott in August of 2017 to serve as the VISTA leader and has since transitioned into the Training and Program Manager role also based in Prescott. She calls Arlington Heights, IL her hometown. She received a bachelor degree at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN and majored in Religious Studies with a focus in Islam. A semester abroad in Kenya with the School of International Training propelled her to join the Peace Corps. She was placed after graduation in Benin, West Africa where she spent one term teaching English and another serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader. After her time abroad Annie return stateside and received a masters degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Annie worked in various capacities for the Boys Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee before turning once again to service, this time as a VISTA summer associate for Access Alaska based in Fairbanks. Annie loves to travel far and wide and has recently developed perhaps an unhealthy obsession with the National Parks.
Camille Corsino, Community Schools Program Manager
Camille moved to Tucson from Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 2016 to serve as a VISTA Community School Coordinator for Santa Rita High School. After falling in love with Tucson she decided to re-apply to an Arizona Serve AmeriCorps position and served in 2017 as the State Team Leader for the Tucson Community Schools Initiative. She is now the Community Schools Program Manager after working as the Arizona Serve Training and Program Coordinator. Camille has a degree in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico and enjoys hiking, travelling and photography in her spare time.
Becky Peters, AmeriCorps State Program Manager
Becky Peters was born in Tucson, Arizona and grew up in northern Colorado. She attended Colorado State University where she earned a degree in Environmental Sociology and Women and Gender studies. Upon graduation, she returned to Tucson where she completed a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA working as a program developer for an affordable housing non-profit. Her year of service helped her to build connections in Tucson that allowed her to continue her work in case management for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. She currently serves as the Recruitment and Program Coordinator assisting with recruitment and outreach, fulfilling vital administrative tasks, and managing a small group of members. When she is not with Arizona Serve, Becky can be found walking her dog Lou, scoping out the best cup of coffee in Tucson, doing yoga, spending ridiculous amounts of money at The Loft Cinema or planning her next road trip.
Elaine MacPherson, Training and Program Coordinator
Elaine MacPherson was born in Pasadena, California and grew up in a small town in the high desert called Acton. Because her parents never took her to the beach as a kid, she decided to attend the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she studied Sociology and History, focusing on poverty policy. Elaine joined AmeriCorps VISTA in 2016, working with Compass Affordable Housing as a program developer and community gardener. After her year of service, she built on her skills in community collaboration to run a homeless prevention program and helped launch the coordinated entry system for homeless prevention services county-wide. She now serves as the Training and Program Coordinator, where she will develop training curriculum, conduct training, and manage a small cohort of service-members. When she is not with Arizona Serve, Elaine can be found cuddling with her dog Niles, watching ALL OF the television on every streaming service, or gardening.
Sarah Haber, Communication and Events Coordinator
Sarah got her start in National Service in the summer of 2017 when she moved from New York to Arizona to serve as a VISTA for 2 years. Her first VISTA term was for the Chino Valley Area Chamber of Commerce serving as the Community Volunteer Program Coordinator. There, she developed an online database to help to local nonprofits connect with people looking to volunteer. She then extended her service for another year and take on the position of the AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader for Prescott. Sarah is excited to continue her work with Arizona Serve in Tuscon where she will fill the role of the Communications and Events Coordinator. She can not wait to see what this new adventure brings!
Emily Carey, Prescott VISTA Team Leader
Emily Carey was born and raised in North Brunswick, NJ. She graduated from Albright College in 2017 with a BA in Communications & Theatre and a minor in Arts Administration. After graduation, her love for National Service was born when she started her first year of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in the summer of 2017 as a Corps Member. Based out of the Southern Region Campus in Vicksburg, MS, Emily served on a special disaster team responding to Hurricane Harvey, Irma, & Maria. She loved her time with NCCC so much she returned for a second year as the Delta Unit Support Team Leader, this time serving behind the scenes in Vicksburg and in the field. She knew her journey with National Service was not over and is glad to be part of the Arizona Serve team as the AmeriCorps VISTA Team Leader for Prescott. When she’s not getting things done for America, you can find Emily knitting and rewatching Downton Abbey.
Number: (520) 276-1802
Chalese Potts, Tucson VISTA Team Leader
Chalese Potts Is a Nevada native by way of Las Vegas. Chalese studied Psychology with an emphasis in Child Development at Nevada State College. Chalese’s passion for youth advocacy and support has been the foundation in her career. First starting out in Behavioral health, then leading to teaching poetry workshops, and community organizing. Chalese has since transitioned to a year of service coaching and mentoring youth In Tucson as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Community School Initiative. Chalese is excited to serve a secodn year as a VISTA Team Leader With Arizona Serve.
Ashley Benson, Tucson AmeriCorps State Team Leader
Ashley is proud to call Augusta, GA home. She attended the University of Georgia, graduating in 2012 with a BA in Anthropology and Philosophy and a minor in Spanish. After school she spent the next six years traveling and working in the aviation industry. However, her passion for supporting and inspiring others led Ashley to switch course professionally and dedicate herself entirely to community service. In 2018, she joined an exciting AmeriCorps State program in North Carolina called ProjectMARS, serving as a School Engagement Coordinator at a k-8 school in Transylvania County. After a fulfilling and illuminating year, Ashley is thrilled to continue her journey of service and exploration in Tucson. Ashley enjoys days spent hanging out with her four-legged friends, Goose and Charley, reading fantasy novels, discovering all that Tucson has to offer, and eating everything.
Nadia Nichols, Tucson Community Schools State Team Leader
Nadia was born and partially raised on the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia. She moved to Tucson later in her childhood, where she received her degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law from the University of Arizona and fell in love with the desert. Her love for Tucson's landscape and rich history instilled her passion in environmental and social justice and drew her to serving her first term as an AmeriCorps State member with the Center for Community Dialogue & Training in 2018. There, she initiated a program working with local middle schools to improve conflict resolution skills among the community's youth. She has continued her service with AmeriCorps as the Community Schools State Team Leader. Outside of Arizona Serve, Nadia enjoys being surrounded by friends and puppies (she calls all dogs puppies) and exploring Arizona's outdoor playground. You can often find her biking around Tucson seeking the best rooftops to watch the sunset from.
Allyson Stein, Prescott State Team Leader
Allyson was born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In 2013, she graduated from College of the Atlantic with a BA in Human Ecology with focuses in ornithology, wildlife conservation, and environmental education. After graduation, she returned to Massachusetts and completed a year of service with AmeriCorps Cape Cod as a meaningful way to give back to her community. After serving, Allyson moved to Prescott Valley, AZ to explore an entirely new community and environment. Following a new love for the Southwest and a yearning to expand her interests in wildlife and community education, she completed a graduate program in 2017 with a MA in Biology via Miami University’s Advanced Inquiry Program at the Phoenix Zoo. After thinking back to the joy and sense of accomplishment from her first term of service, Allyson decided to pursue a second term at Arizona Serve and is excited to give back to the Prescott community as a State Team Leader. When not with Arizona Serve, Allyson can be found spoiling her cat, Lexie, watching tons of movies, and birding around Watson and Willow Lakes.
Number: (520) 222-7969
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