Meet Our VISTAs

VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) was founded in 1965 as a National Service program to fight poverty in America and was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. In 2016, AmeriCorps St. Louis added VISTAs to the AmeriCorps St. Louis team.


“AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring passion and perseverance where the need is greatest: to organizations that help eradicate poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges and advance local solutions.”


Jane Kersch

Development and Events Coordinator vista

Jane is from Dubuque, Iowa. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and a Bachelor’s of Science in Global Resource Systems with a minor in Sustainability from Iowa State University. She served with AmeriCorps St. Louis Emergency Response Team Year 24. Prior to serving, she worked for her local Parks & Recreation, where she discovered her passion for public lands and local government. Politics, animals, The Office, and memes make her happy. Jane is excited to strengthen and grow AmeriCorps St. Louis’ capacity for service this year as a VISTA member.

Jimmy Tyler

Disaster Support Coordinator VISTA

Jimmy is from Indianapolis, Indiana. He received a Bachelor’s in History and a Minor in Religious Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Jimmy started with AmeriCorps St. Louis as a Member of Year 24 and has decided to become a part of the VISTA team focusing on Disaster Response. Before ERT, Jimmy had a slew of different occupations like working on a golf course, managing an office, and substitute teaching. Jimmy became interested in trying to take more trips into the wild which lead him to AmeriCorps St. Louis. As a VISTA Member, Jimmy hopes to raise awareness to local communities about disaster response and is excited to learn as well.


Ellen Alston

Outreach Coordinator vista

Ellen grew up in the Chicago area. She attended Saint Louis University (SLU) in St. Louis where she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work. Post-graduate work took her to Billings, Montana, with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest––an AmeriCorps National partner––where she served with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Yellowstone County. After acquiring her Master’s in Social Work and a Certificate in Disaster Mental Health and Trauma Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans in 2017, she spent a short time in Madison, Wisconsin, working for nonprofits. In fall 2018, she and her husband got married and returned to St. Louis, where they first met. As a VISTA, she hopes for another fulfilling and challenging AmeriCorps experience and for her diverse experiences to support ACSTL's mission.