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AmeriCorps VISTA: “The Domestic Peace Corps”

By Kate | Permalink | 4 comments | April 13th, 2007 | Trackback

ac_02.jpgIf you’re looking for a longer term volunteer opportunity that may involve relocating, but aren’t ready for the Peace Corps, have a look at AmeriCorps VISTA program. Developed in 1964, soon after the Peace Corps, VISTA sends volunteers – who receive a monthly stipend of around $600-800 – to communities throughout the US as part of a strategy to alleviate poverty.

There are currently over 4000 volunteers and more than 100,000 former volunteers. A college degree is not always required, though a degree or specific experience might be required for some positions. The benefits include training, the monthly stipend, and a grant of over $4700 to be used either towards future schooling or to pay off educational loans (which can be deferred while serving as a VISTA volunteer). The other obvious benefit is the chance to utilize your skills to make an impact in a community.

Readers with a healthy dose of skepticism might ask – what can an 18-year old or even a recent college graduate do to alleviate poverty in a community? The Friends of VISTA site includes this:

“VISTA is about finding long-term solutions to the problems of poverty by increasing the capability of low-income people to improve the conditions of their lives. This focus on empowerment and poverty is VISTA’s unique niche in the service field…the focus of VISTA Volunteer activity is not to provide direct service such as one-one tutoring or counseling. Rather, VISTAs are community organizers. VISTA Volunteers try to engage all elements of the community, enabling the community to solve its own problems. Examples of activities include recruiting and training community volunteers, creative fundraising and grantwriting, public awareness work, creating resource centers, or assisting a sponsor to develop a new program. A VISTA project is considered successful when the work continues after VISTA Volunteers have left.”

For more information – and other similar opportunities - also check out the main AmeriCorps page.


ourman | April 13th, 2007 at 3:19 pm
top comment

It constantly annoys me that people write web posts entirely forgetting that the world does not begin and end with the USA.

Both the Peace Corps and Ameri Corps are only open to US Citizens - something which you forgot to mention.

Can you please remember what the first W in www stands for and actually start writing for everyone.

I don’t expect you to ignore US-only volunteer opportunities but it might be nice to us non-American readers to point out they cannot apply.

Kate | April 13th, 2007 at 11:01 pm
top comment

Hi there. I’m sorry if you were disappointed that my post didn’t include more information. I hope readers realize this is a summary - for full information they of course need to see the website.

I think however you need to look at more than one post before judging that I’m not writing for everyone. Here are my posts about a variety of organizations, most of which make no mention of nationality and are based in a number of countries throughout the world (approximately 20):

Organizations that only accept US volunteers? Two ? The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps? I think you’ll see in my post on the Peace Corps, I included “If you’re from the US” in the opening sentence:

Additionally, I think a good volunteer will investigate the opportunity on their own, and not rely solely on a blog like mine for information.

Thanks for your comment.

ourman | April 14th, 2007 at 4:20 pm
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I am not saying you don’t write for everyone. I am saying when you are writing US specific information you should say so.

If I worked for a national newspaper in the UK and there was a program for Liverpool people I wouldn’t write a story about opportunities open without ensuring that people realised it wasn’t open to all.

Yes there is a link but this is not a blog aimed at US only readers. So surely, if something is open only to American citizens you should say so.

Let’s face it - if it was only open to Norwegians you would have said so.

Scott | December 15th, 2008 at 6:05 am
top comment

All www means is that anyone can access it. How can it not be more specific by just the name AMERI CORPS.

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