2016-2017 Host Site Placements

Allegheny College - Youth Service Coordinator (Meadville): The VISTA member will serve from The Allegheny Gateway - Civic Engagement to develop community service opportunities for area youth. The VISTA member will strengthen community outreach, coordinate opportunities alongside college student volunteers, create presentation materials, develop social media and marketing materials, explore additional communication tools to relay service opportunities, establish a youth advisory board, explore potential of alternative break trips, immersion experiences, and weekend trips. Website: http://sites.allegheny.edu/commservice/

Bayfront East Side Taskforce (BEST) - Home Chore Program VISTA (Erie):BEST’s VISTA project will provide critical and minor home repairs and knowledge of home maintenance, with the use of skilled volunteers and local contractors to residents of the East Bayfront Neighborhood. In year two of this project, the VISTA member will identify funding opportunities for home repair projects, create processes and management tools to track existing home improvement funds, creating marketing materials and online tools to promote programming, provide volunteer management, and identify collaboration opportunities with area agencies focused on neighborhood development. Website: http://www.besterie.org/

Bethesda Children’s Home - Trinity Center - Volunteer Program VISTA (Erie):  Position Filled - The Trinity Center will utilize VISTA resources to grow its volunteer base and gain a reputation as a positive environment for volunteering through increased infrastructure development, expanded partnerships, and fundraising. Located on the west side of Erie, the Trinity Center provides educational and prevention based programs for youth ages 5-12 years old. Website: http://bethesda-home.org/

Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) - BCAP VISTA (Pittsburgh): In the third year of this VISTA project, the VISTA member will develop sustainability around efforts to engage students and families educationally. The VISTA will continue to establish volunteer infrastructure to provide educational liaison services and connect students with out-of-school programming. Website: http://www.bhutanesecap.org/

Club Fit - VISTA Coordinator (Erie): Position Filled - Serving in the final year of building capacity for Club Fit, an all-girls fitness and nutrition program, the VISTA member will establish sustainable infrastructure including developing an internship curriculum, diversifying funding, and exploring additional program outcomes. The VISTA member will serve from Gannon University’s Recreation and Wellness Center. Website: Not available

Community Shelter Services (CSS) - Marketing and Volunteer Utilization VISTA (Erie): Position Filled - The VISTA member will work with the CSS Director of Development to increase outreach and gear volunteer participation in strategic ways. VISTA member activities will include: conducting outreach, educating and orienting volunteer groups, generating funding ideas, and assisting with donor relations. Website:  http://www.communityshelter.org/

Emerge 2040 - Digital Inclusion VISTA (Erie): The VISTA project focuses on improving internet access among low-income populations in Erie County. In year two of the project, the VISTA member will begin to implement the most promising internet access strategies developed in year one by: building partnerships, working with stakeholder groups, and addressing barriers/challenges. Website: http://emerge2040.org/

Erie County Department of Health - Food Access Coordinator (Erie): In the second year of this project, the VISTA will ensure the sustainability of the Eats and Arts Market and support the Food Policy Advisory Council. Sustainability of the Market will be achieved by increasing program development in the areas of partnerships, volunteer recruitment, and developing vendor communication systems. Website: https://www.eriecountypa.gov/county-services/health-department.aspx

Erie Public Schools - BELONG VISTA (Erie): Position Filled- In the final year of the BELONG (Becoming Empowered by Living Our Natural Gifts) VISTA project, the VISTA member will increase the capacity for each school to incorporate BELONG. BELONG engages students in hands-on activities that promote positive behavior changes and environmental stewardship for students in grades K-8. The VISTA member will design a sequential series of garden lessons, create a summer volunteer garden maintenance protocol, collaborate with and support teachers to implement activities, assist with the grade 6 capstone projects, conduct community outreach, and assist with funding initiatives. Website: http://www.eriesd.org/

Erie United Methodist Alliance (EUMA) - Homelessness Initiative VISTA (Erie): Serving in the third year of this project, the VISTA will assist EUMA to increase health care for homeless individuals in Erie County. The VISTA member will work closely with the Health Care 4 Homeless Program (HC4HP) supervisor and Faith Community Nurses of Northwestern PA to coordinate and monitor activities of program partners, work with local health networks to develop a discharge planning protocol, and continue to expand HC4HP through educational material development, marketing, and relationship building. Website: http://www.euma-erie.org/

Family Services of NW PA - Western Crawford BBBS VISTA (Meadville): In the final year of this project, the VISTA member will build sustainability for site-based programming through recruiting volunteers, expanding programming, developing enriching events, solidifying a volunteer social media plan, and increasing community involvement in fundraising. Website: http://www.fsnwpa.org/ 

Gannon University - Resource Mobilizer (Erie): VISTA resources will be utilized in the initial year of this project to mobilize large scale resources - most notably students and faculty, for labor and specialized skill sets—to address the major challenges in downtown Erie’s Our West Bayfront neighborhood, such as safety, blighted properties and housing, food access, and public safety. Website: https://www.gannon.edu/

House of Mercy - Economic Development Revitalization VISTA (Erie): The House of Mercy will provide the support for a VISTA member to increase economic development and neighborhood revitalization on Buffalo Road in east Erie, PA. In year two, the VISTA member will develop and implement action steps within the strategic plan, host neighborhood and business focus groups, partner with other neighborhood revitalization organizations, secure funding for projects, and coordinate outreach. Website: http://www.houseofmercyerie.org/

Meadville Area Middle School (MAMS) - Youth Employment Opportunities VISTA (Meadville): The MAMS VISTA project focuses on increasing student engagement and developing leadership skills through employment opportunities and financial literacy education. In the final year of this project, the VISTA member will increase volunteer recruitment to support programming, job development, and fundraising, secure sustainable funding, develop additional service experiences and job opportunities, and evaluate programming and implement necessary changes. Website: http://www.craw.org/meadvilleareamiddleschool_home.aspx

Mercy Center for Women (MCW) - Development VISTA (Erie): The final year of this project will focus on working with the Executive Director and Development Director to implement MCW Development Plan adopted by the Board of Trustees in 2013, as it relates to grants, researching major donors, planning annual fundraiser events, and bequest opportunities.The VISTA member will seek out best practiced programs and methods in use across the United States that MCW can implement for client programs and collaborate with program staff to seek creative solutions to the issues that hold women back from maintaining permanent housing. Website: http://mcwerie.org/

Mercyhurst University (MU) - School-Based Mentoring Program VISTA (Erie): Position Filled - In year two of this VISTA project, MU will continue its mentoring program relationship with JoAnna Connell School through Leadership JAM (JoAnna Connell and Mercyhurst) using student and adult volunteers to expand programming from sixth grade to also include seventh grade. The VISTA member will manage mentor resources, collaborate with team leaders to develop mentor training curriculum, coordinate program logistics, seek funding, document programming, assist in training new volunteers, and facilitate assessment. Website: http://www.mercyhurst.edu/

Mission Empower (ME) – Outreach Specialist (Erie): The VISTA member will implement Mission Read, a new pilot reading program geared toward 6-8 year old children who are dyslexic or demonstrate dyslexic tendencies. Mission Read uses evidenced based reading instruction proven to remediate dyslexia through the Barton Reading and Spelling curriculum. VISTA member activities will include: establishing outreach/recruitment protocols of volunteer tutors, enhancing partnerships within the community, and developing funds to insure program sustainability. Website: http://www.missionempower.org/

PA Soldiers and Sailors Home - Vet Specialist (Erie): Position Filled - Serving in the second year of the project, the VISTA member will coordinate current veteran’s services offered in Erie in order to establish a network to connect agencies, funds, and resources to each other and veterans. The VISTA member will focus on increasing awareness of and communication between veterans’ programs and/or organizations and usability of the Veterans Online Portal. Website: http://www.dmva.pa.gov/stateveteranshomes/PA-Soldiers-and-Sailors/Pages/default.aspx

Supports, Inc. - VITA VISTA (Meadville): In year two of this unique VISTA project provides assistance to two organizations: Supports, Inc. and Meadville’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VISTA member will facilitate VITA’s efforts in increase funding and support the transition of VITA under a new organization. In regards to Supports, Inc. the VISTA member will secure funding to implement a variety of Supports’ goals aimed at increasing the quality of programming for clients. The VISTA member will focus on developing the Supports, Inc. strategic plan and identifying initiatives that align with their mission and can enhance efficiency of operations. Website: not available

Union City Family Support Center (UCFSC) - Parents as Teachers Outreach Coordinator (Union City): UCFSC’s VISTA project focuses on Parents as Teachers (PAT), an in-home, early-childhood education program for children ages prenatal to kindergarten. In the third year of this project, the VISTA member will be responsible for building the Friends of the Center volunteer program and increasing funds to support PAT. Website: http://ucfsc.org/

Urban Erie Community Development Corporation: (Erie)  Position Filled  - Employment Training and Access VISTA (Erie): The VISTA resources will sustain efforts to create a “Hope Zone” in which the surrounding neighborhood is saturated with employment, education, and financial opportunities to improve the quality of life for new Americans and others living within the neighborhood. The VISTA will support efforts to create small business initiatives and financial literacy educational programming.
Website: http://www.uecdc.org/uecdc2010/

Women's Services – Community Garden VISTA (Meadville): In the second year of this project, the VISTA will continue the work of developing the Women's Services' community garden and volunteer program while liaising and coordinating community-wide siloed food security programs, initiatives and community gardens.  Website: http://www.womensservicesinc.org/