About Us

Westside Communities in Action began with a search

A search for meaningful ways to engage in community efforts and offer help to those in need. A search that was often frustrating and full of obstacles. A search that made our founder think, “It should not be this difficult to help a neighbor.” The seed was planted and the goal set: WCIA will be a conduit through which everyday people can get connected to various organizations or individuals needing volunteers and/or other resources.

Westside Communities in Action (formerly Wayzata CIA) started in 2011 as a grassroots effort of current and former Oakwood Elementary School moms who are highly motivated to make a difference in our community through service. Knowing there are many significant needs in our community, we are committed to inspiring people to use the gifts they have been given for the greater good.

For most people, finding an organization or specific opportunity can be quite challenging and will limit a person’s willingness to get involved. People looking to volunteer or share their time, talents and resources will no longer have to spend hours searching multiple websites to find ways to give back in the local area. WCIA was created to provide one place that acts as a clearinghouse for needs in our community and it is our vision to connect people’s needs with resources provided by neighbors and friends. WCIA wants to encourage a lifestyle where neighbor helping neighbor is a natural part of everyday life. A place where a family can check out volunteer opportunities – and make a difference within our community.

We created this website to make it easy for all of us to give back to our community. Westside Communities in Action is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff.  Funding is provided by donations from the general public. WCIA’s board and board at large consists of seven people:

Tammy Orning

Tammy is a Type A wanna-be, excels in chaos, and voluntarily runs with the neighborhood gals at an unholy morning hour. With a Bachelor of Applied Science in elementary Education from the University of Minnesota – Duluth, this Once Upon A Time Kindergarten teacher now is being challenged by her live in wards, 3 teenage daughters! Tammy loves the Lord, her jet setting husband and spending time with her family anywhere Up North. She is proud to serve as the Executive Director for WCIA.

Rachelle Nelko

Rachelle puts the “er” in everything she does: organizer, marketer, financial analyzer and trainer, communicator, writer, leader, manager, and researcher. Coming up for air is one thing this lady rarely does! Her degree in Elementary Education from the University of St. Thomas somehow landed her a position running a financial planning firm and teaching adults. Rachelle is arguably over committed to pro bono gigs to help save the world and is a born organizer that keeps her 2 boys and husband on task. Her fitness instructor like attitude landed her the position of the Creative Organizational Director for WCIA – rip it girl!

Kari Stern

Kari is armed with a Liberal Arts degree in Accounting from the coolest school in northeast Iowa, Luther College. She spent 12 years working in Accounting, Finance and Industry Consulting and Analysis at Fingerhut and Carlson Wagonlit Travel, before pursuing motherhood and household management full-time after the birth of her third amazing daughter. She currently teaches in a Norwegian Immersion preschool class two mornings a week during the school year. Kari loves using her time for doing good, as well as reading, wasting time on Facebook, running with her pooch, Buttercup and traveling. She serves as the treasurer for our small but awesome organization.


Patricia D’Angelico

Patricia always wondered what would happen if you mixed an Italian with a Texan – she got TWINS – yeeehaw! Like any modern woman of today, Patricia enjoys her electronic gadgets and has spent the last 20 years at the ultimate toy shop Best Buy. Finding time to put her nose in a cookbook, makes her as happy as a gopher in soft dirt. Patricia brings her southern charm and hospitality – and slightly neurotic organizing skills to WCIA as our Super Charged Event Organizer! This gal is all about giving back, she’s the whole enchilada!

Kirsten Ferguson

Kirsten has always loved volunteering in her kids’ schools and being involved in their activities. But after becoming an empty nester, she was looking for a new place to focus her volunteering energy…enter WCIA!   Kirsten is in Marketing at US Bank and puts her MBA in Marketing from the University of St. Thomas to work as our Marketing Director extraordinaire.  Kirsten enjoys exercising, reading, hanging out with her family and has a serious sweet tooth…and loves giving her time to this amazing organization.


Faye Otero

Faye may have mastered the downward facing dog but her heart only skips a beat when her passion for event planning comes to fruition. She holds a degree in Anthrolopology and Art History from UW-Milwaukee and 10+ years of event experience via HR. Just like her garden, Faye brings a touch of color, fun and elegance to any event. At home, Faye is an awesome mom and wife – and at WCIA she is our Event Planner ROCKSTAR!


In order to accomplish our mission, WCIA believes that we must be responsive to the needs of everyone in the community who may receive services. We will create and implement programs using our awareness of cultural differences and treat all organizations and volunteers with respect.