Happy AmeriCorps Week from VISTAs past and present! This week I am celebrating AmeriCorps week along with my mentor Ms. Debbie, who was a VISTA before me. You may find yourself wondering: what is AmeriCorp? How does it work? The history of this program stretches all the way back to 1965, and President Johnson.
The VISTA program was designed to be a version of the PeaceCorps, but instead of doing work overseas it would be a domestic service program. The mission was to alleviate poverty throughout the United States. From VISTA the program expanded to the National Civilian Community Corps, and a number of subsets such as ConservationCorps, HistoriCorps, Senior Corps, and many others. Each program is designed for individuals who are interested in a year of service to their community. Furthermore, all participants earn a modest stipend as well as a grant towards their education, or a cash amount upon completion of their service.
As a VISTA I do "indirect service," meaning I handle behind the scenes operations of a nonprofit. It has been incredibly rewarding, and allowed me to learn and grow in ways I could never have expected. I would not trade it for the world.
I am also not the only AmeriCorps participant here at Pathways. Our YouthBuild students are part of an AmeriCorps program as well, and several of our staff people have passed through various AmeriCorps programs. If you think any subset of AmeriCorps might be right for you, click the image below and check out the website!