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:
- 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.
- Coordination between the Vancouver Housing Authority and various community partners to develop a summer job fair that was attended by 400 young people in Clark County.
- 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.
Deadline for Winter 2015 placements: September, 2014.
Step 2 – Create a Project Plan and VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) for submission to the Corporation State Office (CSO) for final approval.
Deadline for Winter 2015 placements: October, 2014.
Step 3 – Recruit, interview, and select VISTA members.
Selection deadline for Winter 2015 placements: December, 2014
Step 4 – VISTA Project Supervisors attend Supervisor’s training.
Step 5 – New VISTA members must attend Pre-Service Orientation (PSO).
Fall 2014 placements: Los Angeles, CA on November 18-21, 2014
Winter 2015 placements: Late January, 2015, location TBD
Which organizations host AmeriCorps VISTA members?
AmeriCorps VISTA members are currently placed at:
Human Services Council – Vancouver, WA
Vancouver Housing Authority – Vancouver, WA
Washington Gorge Action Programs – Bingen, WA
Vancouver School District – 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.)
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, 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
- Human Services Council VISTA members receive a $125 training allowance.
- 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 $5,730 Eli Segal Education Award.
- Upon successful completion of a service year, one year of Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) for federal employment
You may search for AmeriCorps positions throughout the United States HERE
See this AmeriCorps VISTA Application Guide for information about applying.
For more information contact: