Volunteers in Service to America (AmeriCorps*VISTA) is a year-long national service program for men and women 18 years of age and older committed to increasing the capacity of low-income people to improve the conditions of their own lives, and building permanent infrastructure in nonprofit organizations to help them more effectively bring individuals and communities out of poverty.
What VISTA Members Do
Each VISTA member makes a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return for their service, AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance and health benefits during their service, and have the option of receiving a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their service. About 6,500 VISTAs are placed each year in more than 1,200 projects in low-income communities around the country.
VISTA members generally do not provide direct services, such as tutoring or building homes. Instead, they focus their efforts on building the organizations, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, and foster economic development, and assist low-income communities. VISTAs develop programs to meet a need, write grants, and recruit and train volunteers. As a VISTA you can:
"As a VISTA, I see the disparities that exist in this country, in our state, and in my very own neighborhood. The work I do continually fuels my desire to help my community and work together with my neighbors to address the factors that sustain poverty, addiction, and homelessness. By serving with AmeriCorps and collaborating with other VISTAs and community organizers, I also see that there can be change."
- Create an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors.
- Set up transitional housing dedicated to helping the homeless turn their lives around.
- Expand programs to help low-income families obtain affordable health insurance.
- Recruit mentors for children of incarcerated parents.
- Organize shelter and job opportunities for victims of disasters.
AmeriCorps VISTA, Diocese of Providence,
Project Hope/Proyecto Esperanza