We are so excited to announce that Aris Garcia has expanded her role at the PJC! She started in September, 2019 as our Volunteer Coordinator and Assistant Store Manager. In December, 2020, Aris took on new responsibilities as our Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager. In this role, she is working with Arima Minard to better serve all Vermonters, especially Vermonters of Color.
As an Indigenous woman, Aris brings lived experience that benefit us internally and externally in our ability to work with an anti-colonial, anti-racist world view. Since starting at PJC, Aris has helped us shift away from white supremacy culture. She has questioned assumptions and long held practices of the organization that were rooted in whiteness, capitalism, and patriarchy.
Aris has been part of simple but profound things like making our budgeting process more transparent, creating group agreements, and finding ways to better support and celebrate our volunteers and each other. Even cleaning, organizing, and rearranging our physical space has made us a more welcoming home to more people (when we aren’t in a pandemic). Our recent interior design work was largely driven by Aris and the bulk of the physical work was done by her as well. She doesn’t mind doing the heavy lifting – metaphorically and literally!
Aris’ attention to detail and creation of systems are a couple of her other strengths. Her commitment to relationship-building is like a superpower. Aris brings a sense of joy, commitment, and enthusiasm to work that she loves. Engaging with the community is one of those things.
Our volunteers have felt seen and supported by Aris as she works hard to keep them engaged. By hosting regular volunteer trainings and gatherings, she has helped cultivate those relationships and gives people the opportunity to participate in critical work for peace and justice. I know other community members will feel the same.