AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a national service program that has been working to alleviate poverty in America since 1965. The program’s nationwide corps of VISTA members serve full-time for a year at nonprofit organizations or local government agencies to build the capacity of these organizations to carry out programs that fight poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members recruit and manage community volunteers, raise funds, and help manage projects. VISTA members support programs that improve academic performance, expand job opportunities, develop financial assets, reduce homelessness, and improve health services. They also support programs that increase housing opportunities, increase economic opportunities for low-income veterans and military families, and expand access to technology for those living in rural and urban areas of poverty across America.
Since its inception, more than 200,000 individuals have served with AmeriCorps VISTA. Annually, more than 8,000 members made a difference at over 3,000 sites across the country.
AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit http://AmeriCorps.gov/VISTA.
The key focus areas for VISTA assignments are:
- Economic opportunity
- Healthy futures
- Veterans and Military Families
Core Principles of AmeriCorps
Anti-Poverty Focus: VISTA supports community efforts to overcome poverty. Any nonprofit organization, educational institution, or tribal or public agency with a project explicitly designed to alleviate poverty may sponsor a VISTA.
Community Empowerment: VISTA values the inherent strengths and resources of the community. VISTA expects project sponsors to involve residents of the community in planning, developing, and implementing the VISTA project. This approach allows low-income individuals the freedom to speak for themselves in determining the projects that suit their specific needs.
Capacity Building: VISTA expands the ability of sponsor organizations to fight poverty. Rather than providing services to low-income individuals and communities, VISTAs strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, securing long-term resources, coordinating training for participants, and much more.
Sustainable Solutions: VISTAs serve as a short-term resource to help sponsor organizations achieve lasting solutions to poverty.