AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Authorized originally in 1964 by the Economic Opportunity Act, the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program provides full-time volunteers to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations and public agencies working to fight poverty in low-income communities. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 46,215,956 individuals are living below the poverty level. In Hillsborough County, there are nearly 18,000 homeless men, women, and children, which demonstrates the importance of a partnership between the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County and AmeriCorps VISTA.
The AmeriCorps VISTA program endorses three basic assumptions:
- Private citizens can contribute on a voluntary basis to meet the challenges confronting low-income communities.
- The skills and energies of AmeriCorps VISTA members are used most effectively when the members live and work in the low-income communities they serve.
- The full-time personal involvement of AmeriCorps VISTA members brings an added dimension to local public and private nonprofit organizations that work to develop lasting solutions to the problems of low-income communities.
The Role of the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
As an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, Margaret is assigned by the Corporation to assist the National Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County in achieving program objectives and developing new project activities and sources of community support.
Leaders set an example of leadership for AmeriCorps VISTA members, ensure positive relations, facilitate idea-sharing, and mediate issues with the community, the project, supervisors, and AmeriCorps VISTA members:
- Liaison: To bring people together. Ensure relationships between team members are on track and that members have what they need in order to accomplish the goals set out in their VISTA Assignment Description. Familiarized with the individual VISTA project goals and the VISTA Assignment Description (VAD) for each member; and how they fit within the sponsoring organization.
- Resource Generator: To facilitate VISTA membersâ€™ successful completion of project tasks by helping them access the resources they need.
- Ambassador: To act as an AmeriCorps VISTA ambassador. The Ambassadorâ€™s goal is to promote the national and community service movement and raise awareness about AmeriCorps VISTA.
Leaders also play a support role in recruiting, mentoring, and coordinating AmeriCorps VISTA members:
- Recruiter: To advertise open VISTA placements and attract as many qualified applicants as possible.
- Mentor: To identify VISTA membersâ€™ learning and development goals and work with them to achieve those goals. The Mentorâ€™s goal is to foster a purposeful relationship between him or herself and VISTA member(s) interested in developing skills and finding opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Would you like to get involved?
VISTA Monthly News Letters
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