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AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a full-time, year-long program for men and women age 18 and older from all backgrounds. AmeriCorps*VISTA members work with agencies (Sponsors) in communities across the United States to help further local efforts in alleviating poverty. The Sponsors are typically community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and local government agencies. Sponsors may be focused on education, service learning, homelessness, hunger, economic development, elderly, youth or other issues. AmeriCorps*VISTA Members do not provide direct service such as one-on-one tutoring, teaching, or counseling. Rather, they work to mobilize community resources to aid the Sponsor and strengthen the capacity of the community. Examples of activities include recruiting/coordinating local volunteers, soliciting donations, developing a new program, providing resources to a community, and raising public awareness about a particular issue that affects a low-income community. The Sponsor provides day-to-day supervision for the AmeriCorps*VISTA Member as well as a work plan that outlines goals and objectives for the year. In exchange for your year of service, VISTAs receive a modest living allowance, relocation allowance (if you relocate more than 50 miles), health benefits, and a choice of an education award worth $5,550.00 or a stipend that accrues at $100 per month. VISTAs also gain skills and experience that will prove invaluable, especially if you are planning a future in public service or not-for-profit.
For Potential Sponsors:
Who can start a VISTA project? Any nonprofit organization or public agency with a project concept designed to alleviate poverty within a community may apply to sponsor a VISTA project. Potential sponsors must have the capacity and commitment to recruit, train, supervise, and otherwise support VISTAs.
What can VISTAs do for your organization? VISTAs enable an organization to turn dream projects into reality. They mobilize local human, financial, and material resources to expand the capacity of low-income communities to build on their own resources and address the challenges they face.
What VISTA can achieve in communities like yours: In a year, VISTAs helped their sponsoring organizations generate $51 million in cash funding. The average amount per organization was nearly $50,000. In-kind support generated by VISTA was valued by sponsoring organizations at more than $34 million. Each year, VISTAs recruit nearly 500,000 community volunteers, who in turn provide more than 6 million hours of service to their communities.
Visit www.nationalservice.gov for more information and to find the Corporation State Office in your state. The Corporation State Office can answer questions about becoming a VISTA sponsor and provide technical assistance.