This week is the annual AmeriCorps Week, hosted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
We believe this is an excellent opportunity to highlight the extraordinary work of our AmeriCorps VISTA members and alums, who have volunteered their time to the mission of fighting poverty and creating opportunities for low-income communities.
Last year, the Volunteers in Service to America program – known as VISTA – celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, the program aims to fight poverty in low-income urban and rural communities. In 1993, President Bill Clinton expanded national service and incorporated VISTA into the newly-created AmeriCorps program. Today, over 8,000 AmeriCorps VISTA Members serve at more than 1,100 sites across the country.
In the spirit of national and community service, the Ohio CDC Association partnered with CNCS to establish our AmeriCorps VISTA Project in 1995. Our VISTA Members are full-time volunteers who dedicate themselves to a year of service at a member site. Rather than engaging in direct service themselves, their efforts focus on building organizational, administrative, and financial capacity to expand the ability of their site to offer services.
VISTA Members support a variety of programs, including those related to affordable housing development, housing counseling, employment training, healthy food access, and energy and water efficiency. Most of our AmeriCorps VISTA members hail from the communities they serve, so their impact is both community-centered and personal.
Since we began our AmeriCorps VISTA program 20 years ago, we have had 431 participants.
Over the last four years, our VISTA Members have
- Recruited a total of 8,766 volunteers that served 51,215 cumulative hours;
- Developed over $2.7 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
These quantitative measures demonstrate the dedication of our members. The lasting effects of their service in developing new community relationships and strengthening neighborhoods, however, truly cannot be measured.
Our AmeriCorps VISTA Program has contributed significantly to fight against poverty and furthered Ohio CDC Association’s mission of fostering socially and economically healthy communities.
As we move into the next 50 years of service, we look forward to working with our AmeriCorps VISTA Members, who continually and consistently represent the values of national service.