My name is Pablo Bejarano (he/him/his). I am from the border town of Tijuana, Baja California. Growing up there, you see all kinds of people in line, from all over the world. From day trippers that work for the weekend, to families that have sacrificed everything and more to be so close, yet so far from their dream. I went to primary school in Mexico and then, in the US, I went to high school. From there I went to a small liberal arts college named Hope College, where I got my philosophy degree.
Hi! My name is Emilie Gitter – Millie – (she/they) and I’m a recent graduate from Luther College in Decorah, IA. I graduated with a B.A. in Biology and a minor in Environmental Studies with a curiosity about the natural world and conservation biology. While I was a student, I enjoyed spending my time as a peer tutor and teaching assistant, which allowed me to develop leadership skills in teaching, problem solving, and group collaboration. One social justice cause that I am passionate about is combatting inequalities against the LGBTQIA+ community and pushing back against our heteronormative culture. I am Safe Zone training certified, so I can serve as a resource for creating safe, inclusive environments for people with diverse gender identities and sexualities. During my undergrad years, I also had the privilege of living in two intentional communities—one in Holden Village, Washington, and the most recent in San Mateo, Costa Rica. I believe that these experiences have been the most meaningful and transformative in my life thus far, which is one of the many reasons I’m excited to be a part of the LVC program! This year, I will be working with B’More Clubhouse as their Program Coordinator supporting adults living with mental illness. I am looking forward to new learning opportunities and forming new friendships!
I’m Kelsey Carlson (she/her/hers), and I graduated Syracuse University in 2022 with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. This is the ability to craft persuasive arguments and put them into writing, to better look at arguments and positions held by others and work out what makes them successful and what they may be missing. The main benefit to this degree is that it has also taught me to see through the bluster of the divisive, to realize that people from all backgrounds and beliefs are being polarized through the intense misuse of rhetoric. During my time at university I volunteered for the public library, campaigned for a prospective Congressional candidate, and helped Get Out the Vote in the campus area.
I’m Hallie Millsaps (she/her/hers). As one who has a great passion for writing, I often use my writing to speak back to social injustices. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to take courses in Peace & Social Justice and recently earned my B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies. These learning opportunities have given me great insight as to what the true issues are, and how I can possibly be a part of a solution. One of my more prominent skills that, I feel, will serve me while social justice volunteering is my ability to effectively to communicate, verbally and nonverbally. Communication is truly key and I hope to emphasize this notion throughout my LVC experience.
I’m Jacob Mier (they/them), and I graduated from Vassar College in May of 2022 with a major in Women, Feminist, and Queer Studies alongside a minor in Native American Studies. I spent all four years as a member of the swim and dive team and also worked closely with our LGBTQ+ center and the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (NAISA). With the LGBTQ+ center I served as president of AroAce Space my senior year and additionally helped plan Vassar’s first month of Pride celebrations in April of 2022.
Richnetta Parker (she/her/hers) is a recent graduate of Augsburg University where she studied Political Science and International Relations. She has spent the summer community organizing and serving as the Summer Non-Profit Capacity Building and Development Assistant at The Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement, where she focused on collective leadership, community engagement, embodied anti-racism work, and creating participatory space for predominately white congregations to examine the ways in which they ethically engage in beloved community with BIPOC community members and congregants. Netta enjoys spending her free time singing in her home church and is a member of the youth and young adult choir “Chosen 1’s”.
My name is Jocelyn Anctil (she/her/hers) and I am so excited to serve with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps for the 2022-2023 year! I am a recent graduate of Nazareth College with a B.S. in Social Work and Dance Studies. Through these degrees, I have had internships working with multiple populations in a legal setting. This has fostered an interest in the legal system and how it can be used and adjusted to better the lives of individuals. I have begun to learn how to advocate for multiple populations to receive better care. In March I went on a retreat to El Paso, TX where I worked with migrants and learned about the policies and laws that can dictate their lives. I immediately wanted to learn more from this population and empower them. My placement for LVC is with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition. Here I am hoping to build on the experience in El Paso and learn more about what gaps exist in the care of this population. After this year of service, I intend to use these experiences in pursuit of a law and public policy degree. I cannot wait to take every opportunity to expand my perspective!
I’m Onysha Boak (she/her/hers). As a recent graduate of St. John’s College (NM), I’m hoping to put all the thinking I’ve done about philosophy, ethics, and theology into action and further reflection during my service year. I’ll be serving at the Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington as an intern caseworker. In the past, I’ve worked with Amnesty International USA as a chapter leader and interned at an advocacy organization working on ending police violence in my home country of Malaysia. I hope to live a life in accordance with the way Christ asks us to treat our neighbors wherever I happen to be.
I’m Jeffrey Carey (he/him/his). I graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in English and a minor in Religious Studies. The four passions fueling my life are stories, people, nature and God. In my four years of AmeriCorps service, I cultivated a robust skillset in data management, facilitating activities, and public speaking. Living in intentional community has also been a goal of mine since Shane Claiborne’s The Irresistible Revolution introduced me to the idea, so I’m happy my journey took me here to LVC. From here, I have eyes on a non-profit career, publishing novels, and perhaps seminary.
Ian Herel (he/they) is a graduate from UMass Amherst with a degree in Social Thought & Political Economy, and minors in comparative literature and creative writing. In addition to fiction, he is interested in pursuing investigative journalism, and will be interning at the Government Accountability Project this year to work with whistleblowers and policy advocacy. Ian has also lived in Ecuador, speaks Spanish, and has experience in medical interpretation, ESL teaching, and teaching creative writing. He is so excited to live in community this year and continue learning about the intersections of spirituality, justice and writing.
My name is Sydney Johnson (she/they) and I am from Lake Elmo, Minnesota! I graduated from St. Catherine University with degrees in Economics & International Development. I have worked in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors while in school, including the MN Governor. I am a fourth degree black belt and taught karate for two years to ages 4-30. Through this program, I am excited to expand my experience in social justice topics I am passionate about, including women’s rights and economic freedom.
Zachary Light (he/they) was born to two queer women in Cambridge and raised in Sharon, Massachusetts. From an early age, Zack developed a keen eye for observing people and bridging their experiences with social dilemmas they read about at length in their free time. Their drive to always extend a hand in healing is rooted in their deep-set value of helping others before themselves. Their journey through Sharon High School and St. Olaf College were stepping stones to exploring the world of social justice and learning ways of service and reconciliation. As a history major and lover of literature, Zack excels at integrating vastly different perspectives and historical evidence into everyday problem-solving analysis. During this time, they supported numerous social causes from participation in GSA- and AAPI-rooted student organizations, courses in the Environmental Studies department that advocated for environmental justice and building community relationships, and the St. Olaf Chapel Choir which regularly highlighted a new social justice issue with each concert, from journeys of racial reconciliation to finding strength and hope in the midst of school shootings and mass loss of life. Zack has always sought to devote their life to enacting positive change in the world, and their first step is working with Community of Hope.
I’m Ellen Mickelson (she/her/hers). I am a 2022 graduate from St. Olaf College, majoring in Economic and Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. This taught me to think about problem from a variety of different perspectives and come up with creative solutions. Throughout my schooling I compete four years in cross country and track and field, 2 years as a captain. This developed my leadership skills and grew my passion for working in a team. I have worked in a variety of jobs in the service industry which taught me communincation skills.
I’m Lisa Thompson (she/her/hers), and I am looking forward to my current placement with Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I have a heart for social justice. People need basic needs met in order to live and work. I believe barriers need to be broken for people to make their dreams come true. Every person is valuable and can contribute to society. They can thrive with encouragement and support. I like serving at faith-based organizations since it gives me the opportunity to share my faith with others while encouraging them to find peace, purpose, joy, and hope in society.
Hi I am Ashley Dancy (she/her/hers), I am looking forward to volunteering through LVC, in my community I have been establishing a network to help spread social Justice. I advocate that no matter your race, age, Gender, we all should have the same opportunities and freedom.
I’m Edith Ramirez-Salazar (she/they). I am a recent college graduate that majored in both Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Criminal Justice and certificates in Addiction Science and Multicultural Studies. In college, I was on the executive board of a student-led service organization called Mizzou Alternative Breaks, in which I was able to assist other students throughout their service trip planning process. Before joining the executive board, I led several service trips that were immigration and poverty focused. These social justice experiences have led me to work with the Network for Victim Recovery DC as an advocate screening and intake specialist, where I will learn more about the area of social work and continue on the social justice path.