What's in it for the VISTA Member? (The Benefits)
Authorized originally in 1964 by the Economic Opportunity Act, the federal program has provided full-time volunteers to thousands of low-income communities across the nation to address a multitude of problems as defined by those communities.
“Nearly 6,000 AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) members serve in hundreds of non-profit and public agencies throughout the country. Known also as the "domestic Peace Corps," AmeriCorps*VISTA is a national service program that seeks to eliminate poverty by setting up and expanding sustainable projects that impact the lives of those being served.
The Mission of AmeriCorps*VISTA
To strengthen and supplement efforts to eliminate and alleviate poverty in the United States by encouraging and enabling persons from all walks of life, all geographic areas, and all age groups, including low-income individuals to perform meaningful and constructive volunteer service in agencies, institutions, and situations where the application of human talent and dedication may assist in the solution of poverty and poverty-related problems to generate the commitment of private sector resources, to encourage volunteer service at the local level, and to strengthen local agencies and organizations to carry out the purpose of the program (42 U.S.C. 4951)
By dedicating a year of your life to VISTA, you can put your skills and experience into action and learn a lot along the way. Learn and grow as you mobilize volunteers, write grants, or develop a tutoring program for children.
When you serve for a full year in AmeriCorps*VISTA, you receive:
- A Monthly Living Stipend (between $927-946 per month), health coverage, child care (if eligible–maximum is $400/month), 10 personal and 10 sick days
- Relocation allowance up to $550, depending on the distance of the move
- A $5,550 Education Award at end of service or a $1,500 cash stipend with student loan deferment
- Professional trainings, which are held both by the DPI and AmeriCorps*VISTA
- Experience in a field that interests you, not to mention an immense boost to your résumé.
- Option to put your loans into forbearance or deferment for the duration of your service.
Visit the AmeriCorps Homepage or call 800-942-2677 for more information regarding AmeriCorps*VISTA, on general, non-DPI oriented questions.
Under our grant, the Department of Public Instruction currently supports 11 AmeriCorps*VISTA members whose sites span the whole state of Wisconsin. These sites serve a high proportion of low-income families.
The grant, administered by DPI's Title I and School Support Team, is to support the VISTA members in enhancing school or community based agency partnerships with their communities.
The VISTA and the site's Action Team (a group of representatives of the site community) will draw on the resources of the community, the DPI, and the Network to guide the development and implementation of partnership practices. Hundreds of such promising practices have been designed and implemented in schools and organizations around the country and have been collected by the National Network of Partnership Schoolsr. These practices may involve the recruitment and maintenance of volunteers, the enhancement of family center resources, the implementation of service-learning projects, the incorporation of parents in decision making, or the design of effective communication tools, to name a few.