History of the Project

“Because of the collaborative nature of the project, Leaders bring a lot of resources beyond their own capacity.  This project has really helped build strong connections between community partners and higher education in a collaborative way to reduce poverty”  ~Sr. Michele, Supervisor

Lake Effect Leaders began in 2003 when a four college collaborative was formed between Allegheny College, Edinboro University, Gannon University, and Mercyhurst University.  These institutions identified an opportunity to match the resources of higher education institutions to the needs of the community by utilizing AmeriCorps VISTA members.  During the 13 years of our project, we have placed more than 200 members in more than 85 community organizations to address the issue of poverty.

Originally, the project was known as the Children and Youth AmeriCorps* VISTA Project of NW PA and members served at sites that worked with underserved youth.  Over the years, project leadership identified the need to expand the focus area beyond children and youth to account for the complex issues of poverty in our community.  Our project has expanded to include organizations that work with issues of economic development, education, and healthy futures. In 2012, our project name changed to Lake Effect Leaders to more accurately describe the work of our members.

2009-2010 Cohort   2010-2011 Cohort   2011-2012 Cohort
2012-2013 Cohort   2013-2014 Cohort   2014-2015 Cohort
2015-2016 Cohort   2016-2017 Cohort