What is AmeriCorps VISTA?
Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was created in 1965 and is a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into AmeriCorps, a federal service program. VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for 50 years.
What do EMERGE Vista members do?
EMERGE VISTA members serve full-time for a year at organizations that provide services to participants that are re-entering from incarceration or have a criminal history. EMERGE VISTA members primarily focus on the areas of financial literacy services, housing services, and employment services, but we also have positions that focus on grantwriting and data management.
VISTAs perform indirect service, which means they help build the capacity of organizations to deliver valuable direct services to people living in poverty. VISTAs typically create new programs, write grants, and recruit volunteers. For example, a VISTA could establish a tutoring program, recruit and train volunteers, and raise money for the program—but would not tutor the children.
What does it mean that Emerge “sponsors” VISTA positions?
VISTA sponsors are organizations that grant VISTA positions to other organizations and act as intermediaries between the national VISTA program and these “host sites.” Each sponsor site stipulates that its VISTA host site positions focus on a specific issue area, such as employment or education, with the overlying goal of alleviating poverty. Emerge provides administrative support to its host sites and professional development opportunities to its participating VISTA members.
How is Emerge different from other sponsors?
Emerge project focuses on alleviating poverty for people re-entering community from prison or jail and reducing recidivism by working with nonprofits serving these groups. Other sponsor sites may focus specifically on issues like literacy, employment or education.
What does it mean to be part of a VISTA “cohort”
Emerge VISTAs meet at least once a month for professional development Corps Days and are encouraged to collaborate and connect with one another both inside and out of work. This cohort of VISTAs provides a supportive peer-learning environment for our members as they grow and overcome obstacles during their terms of service.
How long do VISTAs serve?
VISTAs can serve for up to five one-year terms, but they can only earn up to two education awards (see the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award webpage for more information). EMERGE’s program runs August through July.
What do VISTA members typically do after completing their service?
VISTA is committed to preparing members for post-service life. Many members go on to grad school, find jobs at their host sites or through connections made during their service years, or complete a second year of service.
Can I choose my host site?
Yes. Prospective VISTAs will interview directly with their desired host site. To learn more about our host sites and available positions, visit our Apply tab above.
What kind of training and support will I receive?
Your site will provide training regarding how to work within their organization and programs. Emerge will provide professional development opportunities that will help shape your professional perspective with the hopes that you’ll choose to continue this work beyond your service year.
When Can I Apply?