What is the AmeriCorps VISTA Program?
AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a federally-funded program of the Corporation for National & Community Service. VISTA members commit to full-time service in non-profits and government agencies to increase their ability to fight poverty in low-income communities.
Members serve in project areas of:
- Education (school readiness, K-12 success, post-secondary success)
- Economic opportunity (financial literacy, housing, employment)
- Healthy futures, (access to health care, food security)
- Veterans and military families (a variety of different supports that enhance the quality of life of low-income veterans, military members, and their families)
What can an AmeriCorps VISTA do for my organization?
VISTA members do not provide direct services such as tutoring children or building homes. Instead, they focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities.
What are the recent accomplishments of AmeriCorps VISTA members?
The accomplishments of AmeriCorps VISTA members are many and varied. Here's a sampling of contributions from recent VISTA Members:
- Developed a partnership between Vancouver Housing Authority and the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council to support 60 high-school dropouts in the YouthBuild program
- Conducted a regional transportation needs assessment for Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties to locate transportation resources for senior, disabled, veteran, and low-income people
- Generated $37,000 in grant revenue to help support revitalization efforts along the Fourth Plain Corridor in Vancouver.
- Sheltered and fed 245 homeless people, including 27 children, through the Winter Hospitality Overflow Program at the Council for the Homeless.
- Under the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor program, one individual saved $15,430 for the year on their prescriptions.
- The Student Learning Center at Clark College hosted its annual tutor recognition event to honor more than 122 tutors for their donation of more than 6,700 service hours.
What is the cost of a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member?
Cost per year:
Cost to your organization, per hour
What are the next steps if our agency is interested in hosting an AmeriCorps VISTA project?
Step 1 – Develop a VISTA Project Proposal and submit to the Human Services Council for preliminary approval, at least 3 months prior to anticipated project start
Step 2 – Create a Project Plan and VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) for submission to the Corporation State Office (CSO) for final approval.
Step 3 – Recruit, interview, and select VISTA members. Final selection must be made at least six weeks prior to Pre-Service Orientation date.
Step 4 – VISTA Project Supervisors attend Supervisor’s training.
Step 5 – New VISTA members must attend a regional Pre-Service Orientation (PSO), usually held on a quarterly basis.
Which organizations host AmeriCorps VISTA members?
AmeriCorps VISTA members are currently placed at:
Human Services Council – Vancouver, WA
Vancouver School District – Vancouver, WA
Innovative Services NW – Vancouver, WA
What services are provided by the Human Services Council, Volunteer Connections Program?
The Human Services Council (HSC) is the primary liaison between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the local project site. HSC assists with project coordination, recruitment and placement of VISTA members. HSC monitors the VISTA members and provides technical assistance and consultation throughout the VISTA's year of service. HSC coordinates training and community service events with ample notice for full team participation.
What are the other requirements that my organization must agree to in order to host an AmeriCorps VISTA member?
The organization and the supervisor must:
- Provide a designated workspace for the VISTA member with adequate resources including telephone, computer, internet access, and any necessary computer programs.
- Meet with the VISTA member for a minimum of one hour per week to communicate clear expectations, provide direction, assist with problem solving, and recognize achievements.
- Discuss any changes necessary in the project work plan with the VISTA member.
- Review and sign monthly timesheets.
- Review and sign quarterly project progress reports.
- Communicate with the VISTA Program Supervisor regarding the performance and acclimation of the VISTA member.
- Allow VISTA member to fulfill AmeriCorps VISTA obligations (i.e. training and community service events.)
- Hold a $500 emergency fund for your members in case of payroll error or family emergency.
An organization can contribute to the success of their AmeriCorps VISTA project by fostering an open and supportive learning environment, and by welcoming the VISTA member as a part of the work team.
Who is the typical AmeriCorps VISTA member?
AmeriCorps VISTA is open to all U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens age 18 and older. Members may be recent college graduates, have years of work experience, or may be considering a career change. VISTA members typically have college degrees, and many have significant experience serving their communities. Whatever their individual journeys, AmeriCorps VISTA members are generally people interested in helping to make their community a better place to live.
What are the benefits that AmeriCorps VISTA members receive for one year of service?
- Pre-service orientation training for new members, at the expense of AmeriCorps VISTA
- Relocation & settling-in assistance for members relocating more than 50 miles to serve
- Professional work experience that may include volunteer management and program development.
- Access to ongoing professional development
- A monthly subsistence stipend of about $973 (Clark County, pre-tax)
- Basic health coverage
- Access to childcare assistance for eligible children under age 13
- Elective life insurance
- Leaves of absence: Ten (10) personal/ vacation days; Ten (10) sick days.
- Forbearance or deferment for eligible student loans
- Upon successful completion of a service year, a choice of $1,500 cash stipend awarded or $5,775 Eli Segal Education Award.
- Upon successful completion of a service year, one year of Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) for federal employment
Nearby AmeriCorps VISTA positions:
Mobility Management - 3rd year project - Human Services Council
Lifeline Connections - Expanding Access to Behavioral Health Care
Southwest Washington Elder Abuse Prevention - Community Education
You may search for other AmeriCorps positions throughout the United States HERE
See this AmeriCorps VISTA Application Guide for information about applying.
For more information contact:
Marsha Freshwater, VISTA Supervisor, (360) 735-3689 firstname.lastname@example.org