Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (C5)
C5 is a 10-month AmeriCorps experience that brings together emerging, diverse leaders and local organizations to assist communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Members serve full time at local nonprofits where they help with research, outreach, contact tracing and more. Members also receive leadership training, coaching, and networking from our staff and top experts to maximize their ability to make impacts. Corps members come from a wide range of educational and professional backgrounds.
The Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (C5), has been formed under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Department of Health to serve the communities of SWPA on COVID-19 relief efforts. We are a group of six interdisciplinary members who are passionate about bringing health awareness to our communities. To do this, we partner with local organizations to develop and implement learning opportunities for at-risk populations to find resources that help them stay healthy during this reopening phase.
What We’re Working On
Currently C5 is creating a network of partnerships with nonprofits, schools, and other organizations in order to reach as many members of the Allegheny County community as possible. C5 has prepared several presentations on important health topics related to Covid-19 to help educate members of the community.
Mental Wellness During the Pandemic – Provides information and introduces tools on how to manage the way stress can impact our wellbeing
Returning Back to the Workplace – Crafting a workplace protocols and guidelines regarding COVID safety measures
COVID-101 & Jeopardy – An interactive presentation on the basics of COVID-19, safety, and misinformation. Suitable for high school, junior high school, and middle school audiences
Who We’re Partnered With
- A+ Schools
- The Forbes Funds
- Latino Community Center
- Neighborhood Legal Services
- Sustainable Pittsburgh
First day of in-person work nerves: Picture this: It’s your first day of in-person work. You’re about to meet your co-workers who you’ve been working with for months virtually, but this time, in-person. It’s early and you can hear the birds chirping as you prepare for...
The PreparationOur preparation for the Propel Northside Back-to-School Carnival started roughly one month before the event. Our team’s creative guru, Giselle, led a brainstorming process where we planned some potential carnival games that we could tie to COVID-19...
There is a very distinct anxiety that bubbles up at the start of every new school year. With the world as we know it shifting to accommodate living during a pandemic, the worry has undoubtedly magnified. From the uncertainty of being in-person, the struggles that come...
One busy training day in our C5 training we were given an assignment by our supervisor, Sarah. The assignment was for us to choose a podcast from the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health Covid-19 Mental Health forum series, and make a short presentation on what...
Get to Know Us
Originally from Western New York, in 2015, Alissa packed up her car and headed to the Steel City to study where she graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and a minor in Theology. During her undergraduate studies, Alissa participated in Best Buddies International as a Peer Mentor; engaged in Work-Study responsibilities at Duquesne’s Major and Planned Giving department; and was involved on Zeta Tau Alpha’s Executive Council as the Risk Management chair. During her last semester studying – Alissa started working part-time as an Administrative Assistant in the Staffing and Recruiting industry for Nurses, which then transitioned into her first full-time gig upon graduation in 2019. Additionally, Alissa served as a Health Activist Fellow with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation in 2020, where she had hands-on opportunities in the Pittsburgh community to apply and develop her skills, experiences, and education in Health Equity.
Alissa Monette has accepted a full-time position as an Administrative Assistant in the Business Solutions Unit of the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) upon graduation from the 10-month long AmeriCorps program that she has recently completed. Alissa feels that although she is a lifetime learner – her time spent as a Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (C5) Member partnered with The Forbes Funds as the Black Equity Coalition (BEC) Capacity Associate has helped to prepare her for the next steps in her professional career.
Briana Davis, a Homestead, Pittsburgh native, is Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps member partnered with non-profit A+ Schools. She currently serves as the corpsmember who supports Parent Nation, TeenBloc, and runs the Pittsburgh Learning Collaborative Family Hotline. Through intentional community outreach, Briana has seen the various inequities in education and healthcare in Pittsburgh’s Black and brown communities. Her previous experience as a home health aide has also given her first hand experience with the disparities in the healthcare system. These experiences have motivated Briana to continue learning how to be an effective leader in the community in order to help drive change.
As a mother of two, making a change in her community is personal to Briana. The existing education and healthcare inequities have a direct impact on her children. She hopes to be an advocate for change to ensure that her children and future generations have the opportunity to get the quality education and healthcare services that they deserve. In order to make a change, she hopes to work closely with the social determinants of health that create systemic barriers and inequities. As this program comes to an end, Briana will join A+ Schools team as a Family Care Coordinator helping families to overcome barriers and enabling their children to get the quality education they deserve. With this hands-on experience, Briana hopes to pursue her goal of opening a home health agency focused on Human Centered Design.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Ehryn Ortega grew up in a family that encouraged her curiosity, fierce determination, and gentleness with and for others. She found her calling in public health after an Identity & Ethnic Studies and Infectious Disease class in high school.
Wanting to experience life outside of her Bay Area bubble, Ehryn found herself at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Health Studies and a minor in Environmental Studies. Her time at Oberlin was greatly defined by her work at Oberlin’s Multicultural Resource Center, serving as the treasurer of ABUSUA (Oberlin’s Black Student Union), and the community she was able to build along the way.
She has a plethora of academic and non-academic interests, but two have greatly informed her professional trajectory. The first is understanding how the cultivation of scientific knowledge continues to promote and uphold structures that lead to health disparities; the second is Ehryn’s deep commitment to the promotion of community organizing and empowerment as a means to affect transformative societal change.
Ehryn has interned at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the behavioral and clinical surveillance branch of the National Center for HIV/AIDS prevention. During her time at the CDC she did research on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among Black women living with HIV in the United States. She has participated in online seminars dedicated to effective grassroots organizing and has a passion for social justice.
Ehryn looks forward to utilizing her detailed-oriented skills to support the Latino Community Center’s food program as a Food & Nutrition Advocate and AmeriCorps Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (C5) member. In her free time, Ehryn loves to read, bake and enjoys spending time in nature.
Originally from Chicago, Eric Chiu moved to Pittsburgh to attend the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated magna cum laude in Spring 2021 with a degree in Rehabilitation Science, minor in Chemistry, and certificate in Pathokinesiology in Rehabilitation. During his time at Pitt, Eric was a member of the Office of PittServes’ Service Leadership Committee and Student Civic Engagement Council where he explored Pittsburgh through service. With his team-oriented mindset, Eric hoped to influence other students find a similar passion for service by organizing and leading them in volunteer opportunities with Pittsburgh’s many non-profits.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted Eric to integrate his passions for civic engagement and healthcare to positively contribute to the public health recovery in Pittsburgh. Through the Coro C5 AmeriCorps program, Eric worked with Sustainable Pittsburgh to coordinate a campaign that encouraged shopper support of local businesses in Southwestern Pennsylvania to alleviate the economic impacts caused by COVID-19. With intentions of attending medical school, Eric hopes that this hands-on experience, drive, and dedication in public health will help guide his lifelong service to others as a healthcare provider. Eric is currently searching for work as a rehabilitation technician or research assistant, with goals of gaining more clinical experience.
Giselle is deeply passionate about art and its intersection with technology. Her childhood home in Wyoming had been filled with books, comics, sculpture, painting and video games. This fascination with all forms of art only deepened when she moved to Pittsburgh and discovered that these art forms were a vital part of how she understood and connected with the wider world. As she got older, she started to explore not only the aesthetics of art, but the interaction the audience has with it as designed by the artist. This led her to study Game Art and Design at Drexel in Philadelphia where her love for video games and interactive media could be explored and experimented with.
Recognizing art as a vital part of our lives, Giselle seeks to connect and understand people through it in all its myriad forms. Upon joining the Coro Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps (C5), she turned this understanding and drive toward crafting accessible and meaningful art in the service of community health education.
Now that Coro’s C5 program has ended, she continues to work with both Neighborhood Legal Service and Coro’s social media, branding, and graphic design needs while working on a long term personal project. She intends to bring what she’s learned about people and community needs to craft sensitive and empathetic narratives in her art.
Mackenzie Soriano was raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She later moved to Delmont, a small town in Southwestern Pennsylvania. As a community-minded and enthusiastic highschooler, she spent her free time volunteering locally and playing lacrosse and soccer. Her passion and drive earned 8 letters, and led her to be the captain of the lacrosse team for all four years of high school. As she matured, her passion for serving her community deepened, her focus shifting to addressing problems of social justice and inequity. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg to pursue a degree in psychology.
Driven by continue learning, she utilized COVID induced changes to pursue other avenues to enhance her learning. It was clear that AmeriCorps core values, aligned with her own passions and interests. She pursued a position within the C5 program where she knew she could thrive, work directly within her community, address inequity, and grow as an individual. With C5, Mackenzie has used her unique outlook and resourceful nature to solve problems and further hone her problem solving, self-management, and communication skills. Currently, she is working with Sustainable Pittsburgh, a nonprofit that pushes for sustainability to build an equitable, resilient, prosperous region, allowing her to serve her community during this stressful global pandemic era. Her time with C5 and Sustainable Pittsburgh has allowed her to explore and gain an interest in working in the nonprofit sector.
After graduating from AmeriCorps, she plans to return to school at Chatham University to complete a degree in psychology. She hopes to maintain her community service and civic engagement throughout her studies. Mackenzie’s long term goal is a career in the nonprofit sector.