VOA FIT: Get to Know Our Team
Val Farsetti has traveled the world working on innovative answers to some of society’s most challenging problems. Her passion for community building and expertise in sustainable development has taken her from Asia to Africa to South America. In Kenya, she worked on animal welfare and conservation, finding ways to protect elephants while keeping them from destroying local farmers’ crops. She provided medical services in a small village in Belize and supported people with disabilities in Chile. Her work has focused on the intersection between human, animal and environmental health. Today, VOA is fortunate to have Val as a vital team member leading HIV testing, education and outreach efforts. As Program Manager for HIV/AIDS Services, Val oversees VOA’s free and confidential HIV testing campaign and helps to educate our clients and assure they are receiving the services and support they need. “I love community-based work and connecting individuals and resources,” Val says, as she works with VOA to advance her life-long commitment to building healthier communities.
My name is Cory McCauley and I joined the Volunteers of America HIV Services Team in February 2021. Like many people, in 2020 I found myself without a job and in a place to stop and reflect on what direction I want my life to go in. Truth be told, sexual health education (specifically LGBTQIA sexual health) was not something I was exposed to growing up. That’s one driving force that motivated me to pursue a job with the VOA HIV Services Team. For me, working with this team is an opportunity to empower those in the community with knowledge and resources connected to their sexual health. I aspire to make a difference in the community through my work with VOA.
Dustin Collins, our Senior Outreach Specialist, is an Air Force Veteran and political and community organizer who lives in New Albany, Indiana. He began his organizing in 2007 at 17 years of age. Growing up in a military family, he has traveled and lived across the country visiting or living in 48 of 50 states (so far). He has organized everything from Presidential to City Council campaigns, as well as LGBTQ+ advocacy campaigns. He also has managed a top-tier targeted congressional race. Dustin joined the team in February of 2021. His passion for helping people and striving to make a difference stems from believing we are only as good as how we treat the most marginalized in society and that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and have equitable access, protection, and opportunity.
Name: Jordan Kiefer
Where are you from: Louisville, KY
How long have you been working here: I am actually a student at Spalding University getting my bachelors degree in social work. I have been doing my internship placement here since August of last year.
Why work in HIV services: When looking into the options for my internship, HIV services with VOA really stood out because it was the most unique option and I had a personal connection to HIV. Honestly, I wasn’t very familiar with the work being done in this field within our city and state and I wanted to learn more about it. Since I had little understanding of this type of work, I felt like this was an excellent opportunity to learn, grow, and contribute in an area that is often shadowed by some of the other more well known community needs (like substance use disorder or homelessness.)
What is a goal of yours: My main focus going into this was to understand all the details involving how our city is combatting HIV/AIDS. As I continue to learn and engage with this work and consider how I want to spend my final months with the organization, my goal is to be able to push awareness by confidently and competently informing those who may not know much about HIV/AIDS, and ultimately fight the stigma surrounding it through education and open dialogue.
Name: Hi! My name is Jenna Clark
Where are you from: I am from Louisville, KY.
How long have you been working here: I have been with VOA for a few months now and am so excited to be a part of the HIV services team.
Why work in HIV services: Currently I am working on a project for VOA alongside the Center for Women and Families to learn the intersection between HIV and Intimate Partner Violence. I teach quarterly HIV education classes to the clients of CWF as well as perform weekly HIV testing there. I was incredibly grateful to land this job, as sexual health has always been something I have been interested in educating others about. It's something I feel has been stigmatized and not talked about enough. My passion for sexual health education, my experience of working with women in recovery and my education of a Bachelor of Project Management, I believe, is the perfect combination to a successful career here at Volunteers of America.
What is a goal of yours: My main goal is to advance in my role and learn everything I can, gain my Master of Social Work and hopefully become a program manager for an organization one day where I can help guide other individuals like myself to becoming the change this world needs and helping others lead a successful life.
Name: Ashley Gaither
Where you from: Louisville Ky
How long you been working here: 3 years
Why work in HIV services: After losing my brother to HIV/AIDS I knew that I wanted to learn, teach and normalize discussing HIV and HIV Prevention. So many of us (Black people) lack the education of the virus they only know what people have stigmatized as a “Gay” disease and it’s not. So between breaking stigma and educating and also for my brother -- that's why I work in HIV services.
What is a goal of yours: To start a city wide community discussion of how we can come together to educate our own people and break stigma within ourselves and community and also have service that provides for people of color that are battling HIV who are in need of love, counseling and general needs.
Hello! My name is Alyssa Cisneros, but most of my friends and family call me Al or Aly. I was born and raised in southern Michigan where I spent part of my upbringing in Ann Arbor and the other part in Portage. I moved to Louisville in 2014 and graduated from the University of Louisville in 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Health. I started working for Volunteers of America in January 2020 because I am passionate about comprehensive sex education and working with people one-on-one. A goal of mine is to be fluent in American Sign Language, I am only a beginner and want to get better!
Alee Allemann (she/her) is a practicum student completing an internship with VOA FIT. She has a wide range of experience, which include writing, education, and theatre, graduating from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Arts in English (2013) and a Master of Arts in Teaching (2015). Alee is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work (MSSW) degree from UofL. Her personal and professional experiences have shaped the way she thinks about HIV, and as such, she believes stories are powerful. By encouraging and empowering young people to disclose their status, it can dismantle the stigma and shame that surrounds an HIV diagnosis. Previously, Alee has done advocacy work with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, amfAR, and the National AIDS Memorial Grove and is so excited to be part of the VOA FIT team.
Meet Ollie Drury who is from Radcliff, KY. Ollie is one of our newest colleagues and has been working with us since November 2020 Ollie states the reason why he chose to work with us and he states “I can remember the feeling of the first friend telling me he was positive just like it was yesterday. My heart sank. It was a different time then and the stigmas were much stronger than today. I knew that one day I would be given an opportunity to help make a difference so that no one would ever have to feel that fear that I had felt that day.” His goal is to continue on this career path to bigger and better things.
Name: Andrew Saltsgaver
Where am I from: Jeffersonville, Indiana.
How long have I been working here: Six Weeks.
Why work in HIV Services: I enjoy having the opportunity to help others and getting to create an atmosphere where people are able to be the best version of themselves.
What is a goal of yours: To build my knowledge in community services and to increase the successful outcomes of sustainability (in housing and living) within the HOPWA services of the VOA.