One thing Detroiters do very well is to make a difference. That opportunity has opened up for 14 people who are ready to make a one-year commitment to fill full-time positions with the city’s VISTA program.
This program has long legs. Back in 1963 President Kennedy introduced the idea of VISTA to Congress to address poverty in the US.
Two years later in 1965 VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) was founded as a national service program to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.
Fifty years later it is still going strong and committed to ending poverty. During that time it has expanded some of the best-known anti-poverty programs, including Head Start and credit unions. Every year more than 7,000 Americans use their skills and talents to help overcome poverty by working at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country.
Now there’s an opportunity to become one of those volunteers in Detroit. The City of Detroit’s Department of Neighborhoods is accepting applications for the 2016-17 VISTA program. These are full-time positions with a one year commitment. There are currently 14 opportunities available for eligible candidates.
The VISTA program will provide a unique opportunity to transform Detroit neighborhoods and help expand the programs the Department of Neighborhoods has in place.
You must be at least 18 years old to be part of the program, but there is no upper age limit. Applications are accepted through Sept. 18.
Just so you know, VISTA members are not paid but do get a modest, monthly living allowance to help cover the basic necessities. If you’re a student or a future student, this program can help you with tuition.
Those who successfully complete a term of service are eligible to receive either a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,550 to pay for college or to pay off student loans or an end-of-service cash stipend of $1,500. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is matched by certain colleges and universities. Check with your school.
If you have a student loan you may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of your loans during your service.
The goal of the VISTA program in Detroit is the enhance community engagement. The key objectives include:
- Support the expansion of existing and creation of new block clubs
- Identify actionable gaps in block club and radio patrol coverage and prioritize strategies for filling these gaps
- Organize and host community workshops and fairs to provide support and information to residents and local leaders
- Assess current radio patrols and develop recommendations and implementation strategies to modernize and expand citizen-led radio patrol
- Establish appropriate metrics to track the success of block clubs and radio patrols and Blight Strike Team
- Support the District Blight Strike Team monthly meetings
- Track completion of actions/recommendations outlined at monthly meetings and hold team accountable for completing objectives
Since the VISTA program was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, almost 1 million AmeriCorps members have contributed more than 1.2 billion hours in service across America. It is open to all U.S. citizens, nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens age 18 and older.
Here is a video from its 20th anniversary,
Interested candidates MUST APPLY ONLINE. Click here to apply.
For additional details and/or questions about the Detroit program, please click here.
If you want some questions about AmeriCorps VISTA answered click here.
– Photos from AmericCorps Vista Facebook