Allie McGahee | Manitou Springs, CO | Economic Developer Coordinator II VISTA
Allie has had the privilege to be on the web development team for ManitouMade.com, a multi-vendor digital marketplace platform that will be launched in partnership with the Manitou Springs Creative District and the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Center, and Office of Economic Development. The Manitou Made brand was a pre-established program for locally-made products crafted, designed, prepared, sourced or brewed in the Manitou Springs area. The Manitou Made digital marketplace will showcase the people, places, and products unique to Manitou Springs, in addition to offering digital marketing and e-commerce classes open to the wider business community. To date, the experience has allowed her to develop useful skills in employee on-boarding, web development, and community capacity building, with a major emphasis on growing and supporting the local economy. All stakeholders, project partners, and the web development team call the Pikes Peak region home, which truly highlights the dedicated support of Manitou Springs’ community, growth, and sustainability. The program is funded through the El Paso County CARES Act funding. Allie is thrilled to be a part of the launch of ManitouMade.com because it will provide long-lasting, positive, direct impacts to the Manitou Springs community.
Matt Kojm | Montrose, CO | Neighborhood, Homelessness and Housing Coordinator VISTA
Mersadi McClure | Longmont, CO | Longmont Creative District Coordinator VISTA
Mersadi graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Urban Studies and Sociology, while also entertaining her creative side with a variety of art classes and a job at a local art studio. Paired with a lifelong love of community engagement, the transition to Americorps VISTA post-graduation was an easy decision, and the role of Creative District Coordinator for the Longmont Downtown Development Authority a natural fit. Prior to COVID, Mersadi focused on growing connections within the local creative community, building the brand recognition of the Longmont Creative District and Downtown Longmont, and creating more public art and programming for the community to enjoy within the district. In response to COVID and in recognition that many creatives were experiencing a loss of paid opportunities, Mersadi launched the “#Strongmont Creates Grant”, a micro-grant program that has been able to support 40 local Longmont creatives with funds towards facilitating public art projects and programming within the Longmont Creative District. Through collaborating with local artists, Mersadi has been able to help support their creative ideas and bring them to life, such as through public art installations, 2nd Friday art programming, virtual art markets, live music, and more. Mersadi has found the Longmont community and her family of coworkers at the LDDA to be incredibly welcoming and supportive during her tenure as a VISTA, and Colorado nature a constant comfort, especially during the COVID stay-at-home order.
Hunter Hovenga | Buena Vista, CO | Local Revitalization & Economic Development VISTA
Destinee Lukianoff | Leadville, CO | Main Street Revitalization VISTA
Carl Young | Huerfano County, CO | Economic Development VISTA
Rob Warner | Longmont, CO | Creative District Coordinator
Rob is an established and professional graphic designer and has done work for such clients as Kroger and the City of Cincinnati but decided to take a year from his career to give back by doing a year of VISTA. He joined the Longmont Downtown Development Authority under which the local Creative District operates and was able to make important connections and partnerships with local creatives, artists, small businesses, the library, and more to put Longmont artists and the Creative District on the map. During his time in Longmont, Rob designed the widely successful "Shop Loco" campaign logo and brand as well as leveraging a total of $39,000 in both cash and in-kind donations and grants.
Andrew Wallace| Trinidad, CO | Downtown Development Coordinator
Andrew began his AmeriCorps VISTA service at the City of Trinidad in August of 2017 under the Development Services Department. There he worked on a number of wide ranging issues including revising the downtown rental assistance program, the affordable artists' live-work housing project in Trindad, updated the Main Street Facade Program and the revolving loan fund for small local businesses, among other projects.
After Andrew's term of service, he became a volunteer coordinator for the Phil Weiser campaign for Attorney General of the State of Colorado.