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Plateau Welcomes AmeriCorps VISTAs

Three new AmeriCorps VISTAs begin service!

Please join the South Cumberland Plateau VISTA Project in welcoming three new VISTA service members to the plateau. Adrian Johnson, Presley Ratliff, and Rowan Wiley have recently begun serving their one-year terms. VISTA member Adrian Johnson began service this week at financial nonprofit, BetterFi which serves the greater South Cumberland Plateau region. Presley Ratliff serves Marion and Grundy Counties at SETHRA CASA. VISTA Rowan Wiley serves in Franklin County at the Franklin County Prevention Coalition.


A native of Eastern Kentucky, Presley Ratliff attended Austin Peay University and received a Bachelor of Science in communication and a minor in political science in December 2021. Presley worked extensively with the University of Kentucky Extension, and was a program staff member at J.M. Feltner 4-H Camp, where she developed the camp's first media and photography class. During her time at Austin Peay, Presley was the technical director and copy editor for APSU-TV News, her university's news station. She recently finished filming and editing a documentary covering drug abuse in Middle Tennessee, "Unstable: Victims of Addiction." Her interest in non-profit work and experience in youth development led Presley to her VISTA service.

Presley Ratliff serves as the CASA Systems and Volunteer Recruitment VISTA for the South Eastern Tennessee Human Resource Agency (SETHRA) Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). In her service Presley recruits and manages court appointed advocates who provide a nurturing, less bureaucratic approach to child advocacy in the court system. As a result of Presley's service, children living in Marion and Grundy counties will have greater assurance of receiving safe, loving, and permanent homes where their needs are met.


Rowan Wiley was born and raised near Kansas City, Missouri. She received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in December of 2021 with a degree in political science, and a minor in criminology and criminal justice. During her undergraduate studies, Rowan worked part time as a barista and volunteered with Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps funded program focused on preparing underprivileged preschool students for kindergarten.

Rowan Wiley serves as the Opioid Prevention Outreach VISTA at Franklin County Prevention Coalition. By connecting like-minded individuals and organizations, Rowan hopes to develop reliable, sustainable systems for preventing substance abuse long-term.


Adrian Johnson, from Laramie, Wyoming graduated from Macalester College in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and minors in political science and human rights. During his undergraduate years, he ran cross country and track, worked as a news writer for the community paper and served as a volunteer recreational soccer coach for under-privileged kids in the area—work that made him acutely aware of the lack of economic and social resources available to help families escape cycles of poverty.

As the BetterFi Process and Sustainability VISTA, Adrian’s service is dedicated to building the capacity of BetterFi by developing sustainable networks of clients, volunteers and partner organizations to improve the outreach of the organization and increase its capacity to serve low-income families on the South Cumberland Plateau. Because of Adrian’s work, families in Franklin, Grundy and Marion Counties strengthen their financial fitness and literacy, improve their credit scores, and, as a result, increase their ability to utilize conventional financial services in the future.

The South Cumberland Plateau AmeriCorps VISTA Project

The South Cumberland Plateau (SCP) AmeriCorps VISTA Project is a partnership between the University of the South and South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF). Through their efforts, VISTAs expand the scale, reach, efficiency, and effectiveness of programs and organizations that work to alleviate poverty on the plateau. VISTA capacity building activities expand services, enhance delivery of services, and generate additional resources for these programs and organizations. These activities achieve lasting positive outcomes for those served by these program organizations.

For information about becoming a VISTA member or enlisting a VISTA to join your organization, please visit or contact Vicki Borchers at

South Cumberland Plateau VISTAs serve 11 local organizations

The plateau’s AmeriCorps VISTA partners include BetterFi, Growing Roots, Franklin County Prevention Coalition, Grundy County Mayor’s Office, Grundy Recovery Alliance Community Endeavor (GRACE), Grundy Safe Communities Coalition, Mountain T.O.P., SETHRA CASA, Sequatchie Valley Head Start, South Cumberland Health Network, and the University of the South Office of Civic Engagement.

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