Aaron Olsen has long been an advocate for the poor and underprivileged.
When he was a mental health case manager for homeless persons in Ogden, Utah, Aaron saw firsthand how supported housing can stabilize families and provide an escape from poverty. “A place to live can keep people out of the emergency room,” he says. “I watched people who were homeless and chronically unemployed get jobs and start to support themselves once they were off the streets and in a home. Housing can change lives, and I believe everyone has the right to have shelter.”
Aaron is working toward a master’s degree in public health because he is dedicated to serving his greater community and his nation. He stumbled upon the AmeriCorps VISTA program while researching jobs that would complement his graduate studies. Volunteering for a year was a perfect fit, allowing Aaron the opportunities to see how nonprofit organizations work up close, to serve those in need, and to work in a position that would use his undergraduate and professional experience.
“AmeriCorps VISTA has been a great way for my career to pivot,” he says. “I wanted something other than the jobs I was working, and I knew I needed a change. Getting into graduate school and serving in AmeriCorps for a year are just what I needed to give myself a reboot.”
Aaron will be raising funds for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Snohomish County, Washington, where he will call upon his marketing and PR experience to gather donations and secure grants for the organization.