Getting to know the 2020-2021 AmeriCorps cohort — Part 4

We are so excited to welcome this year’s AmeriCorps cohort — 23 civic-minded individuals who are committed to spending the next year at area nonprofits working hard to make Nashville a better place to live. Here’s a little bit of insight into these amazing individuals who are helping Nashville nonprofits serve the community in a variety of ways.

Elizabeth Serrano
Environmental Outreach and Communication Coordinator
Harpeth Conservancy

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: It felt like the perfect opportunity to give back while simultaneously developing professionally.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A:
I am most excited to help others find a passion for the environment!

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I can nap anywhere, anytime.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

A: I love spending time with friends, running, making Spotify playlists, collaging, and eating yummy food!

Mikelle Benfield
Environmental Outreach and Communication Coordinator
Harpeth Conservancy

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Being able to work with local communities on environmental education and stewardship.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: Applying my nonprofit experience to the community in Nashville and being able to really develop those skills in a new setting.


Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I played roller hockey growing up.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

A: I enjoy playing the piano.

Kelsea Comb
Homeless Community Shower Bus Coordinator
Shower the People

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Service is one of your guiding principles and up until this point in my life service has also been mine, whether working at the Office of Disability Services, Urban Ministries, or in Ecuador with Ubeci. When I see myself, I always see myself doing something that helps and elevates others.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?

A: I am most excited to meet the individuals in the population I am working with. I know how much this work means, so I am excited to see the growth I believe will occur from the beginning of my service to the end.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I am fascinated with deep blue holes and scuba diving!

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

A: I like to read, listen to audiobooks, and write Spoken Word.


Heidi Hayne
Volunteer and Partner Engagement Leader
Nashville Diaper Connection

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: Serving my community has always been a large part of my life. For the past two summers in my hometown of New Orleans, I worked as an intern at Eden House, a nonprofit that houses and brokers wrap-around services for female victims of human trafficking. My experience here, along with my community service experience at Sewanee, inspired me to continue working toward bettering my community through collective action. AmeriCorps offered an exciting opportunity for me to use my educational background in art, religion, and environmental studies and my strong leadership and service experiences both to begin my career and build and better my newly adopted home of Nashville.

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I have loved serving at the Nashville Diaper Connection. Everyday, I learn something new and have really found it interesting how diaper need is linked to a variety of other necessities among poverty-stricken families and individuals in the Nashville area. It has been great to work towards ending diaper need with our volunteers and partner agencies to ensure that every baby in the Nashville area is clean, dry, and healthy.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you
?
A: I have given communion to Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

A: I love going on walks in all of the parks and gardens around Nashville. I am part of of a dinner club and book club and love painting and photography.


Dalia McCoy
Garden Programs Coordinator
The Nashville Food Project

Q: What drew you to serve with AmeriCorps?
A: I have always been passionate about service and working alongside nonprofits. After graduating during a global pandemic, I knew I wanted my “next step” to be doing work that created a positive impact, and AmeriCorps offers an opportunity to do this!

Q: What are you most excited to do in your new service position?
A: I have never worked with an organization whose focus is food justice — I am so excited to learn more about this issue and work to alleviate food insecurity in the Nashville community.

Q: What is a silly/random fact about you?
A: I have traveled to six of the seven continents!

Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not serving or volunteering?

A: I love cooking and baking! I also love music — I sing and play a little piano!

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