United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region welcomes Javier Gomez as an ESPRI VISTA for the City of Newburgh’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, through AmeriCorps VISTA. Javier will focus on narrowing the poverty gap in Newburgh during his year-long appointment.
Javier grew up in Wappinger’s Falls and attended SUNY Albany for his freshman year; he then transferred to Marist College to finish his BA in Political Science, with a minor in Digital Media Production. His work with community politics began through various internships he completed during college, including, Hudson River Housing’s Middle Main Initiative, as well as a position with the Poughkeepsie Mayor’s office his senior year.
Javier was attracted to the ESPRI VISTA program through his experiences at his various internships. He explains, “I got involved with AmeriCorps through the Middle Main Initiative, they always had two or three AmeriCorps VISTA’s working in the office. As an intern, I worked under and learned from them. I thought VISTA was a very exciting program and decided to continue my community development work in Newburgh and Poughkeepsie after graduation.”
Javier is tasked with working with the Anti-Poverty initiative in Newburgh and coordinating their efforts with local governments and organizations. This includes county and city governments, as well as education, healthcare, nonprofit organizations and businesses. “My role is to facilitate what these different sectors and organizations need to do in order to fill gaps in the services they provide; put it in writing, and then coordinate volunteers or find residents to work in these jobs,” explained Javier. “Hopefully if I do this well, I can set these institutions in the right direction, so that by the end of my year here everyone can be on the same page, and we can move forward. If I can help provide this foundation in the community then I will be happy.”
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