Engaging Families for Student Success

VISTA Spotlight: Claire Johnson

March 13, 2015

AmeriCorps VISTAs serve nationally to strengthen local organizations that serve low income communities. At Turning the Page, they’re fundamental to bolstering partnerships with parents and school staff and forging long-lasting relationships with local nonprofits, museums, and universities. In fact, VISTAs are a part of almost all aspects of TTP programs, and are the faces behind outreach strategy, child mentoring activities, field trips, social media, program evaluation, and research.

Here on the TTP blog, current VISTAs will get the chance to share a little bit about themselves and their experiences serving DC families.


Name: Claire Johnson   

Hometown: Portland, OR

Hats I wear at TTP: staff focusing on strengthening our partnership with Kramer Middle School, resident graphic designer of flyers and other promotional materials, and TTP social media guru maintaining our presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and here on our blog.

Fun fact about me: I co-hosted a radio show/podcast about the Harry Potter series during college called The Witching Hour. (It’s still running, and on iTunes, if you’d like to check it out!)

Why I chose a year with AmeriCorps VISTA: I am passionate about improving educational equity in the US. Public education has such great potential to address issues of social inequality in communities all over the country, but it does not yet live up to that potential and I hope to be a part of the effort to change that. A year with AmeriCorps VISTA gave me the opportunity to engage directly with these ideas and contribute to an organization that is already making great things happen!

volunteerA story from my year of service: I love when I get to give DC residents a new perspective about the far Southeast, the area of the city where all of TTP’s partner schools are located. East of the Anacostia River, the Southeast is known for high crime rates, low incomes, and a lack of resources in general. Most people I meet here who ask what I do have some kind of reaction when I say we work in Anacostia- “oh, how difficult,” or “is that dangerous?” are a couple of common ones. I tell everyone that the parents and educators I have met at schools in Southeast are the kindest, hardest working, and most community-minded people I have encountered since coming to the East Coast.  I admire their strength and perseverance. I seek to emulate their dedication to their community. Whatever the area is struggling with, this is the way that I see Southeast, and I enjoy getting to spread that perspective as far and wide as possible. Betlemska kaple .