Oxnard native and AmeriCorps VIP member Jessica Rios has seen firsthand the challenge faced by residents with struggles like poverty, mental health, education, and public safety.
Rios said growing up in Oxnard has given her a unique understanding of these challenges and led her to volunteer as an Americorps VIP member. Rios works in Cabrillo’s Resident and Community Services Department.
Janice Aharon-Ezer, RCS director, said that from day one Rios has been an important part of the team. “Her scope while at CEDC is to bring on volunteers and build the department’s capacity and infrastructure for volunteerism,” Aharon-Ezer said. “She is doing a lot and we are very happy to have her.”
Rios has been making requests for donations that help defray program costs for homework clubs and special events. She also helps with new volunteer orientations and recruitment as well as administrative tasks such as creating fliers and putting together data for programs like Toys 4 Tots.
“I have the opportunity to give back to my community and gain the experience of working at a nonprofit organization,” Rios said. “Volunteerism, to me, is being able to give back to a community and individuals who need an extra helping hand to succeed. Volunteerism is being able to serve and see the impact you are making on someone’s future by simply giving your time and talent. It is important because, without a collective participation of individuals, change is not possible. With the help of volunteers, an organization can improve community life, affect someone’s future, and improve communities living conditions.”
AmeriCorps is a nationally recognized service that connects individuals with a unique site with the goal of “helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.”