|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (May 2009)|
AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to fight poverty. There is about 46 million people in poverty in the United States. President John F. Kennedy originated the idea for VISTA, which was founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.
VISTA is an anti-poverty program created by Lyndon Johnson's Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. Initially, the program increased employment opportunities for conscientious people who felt they could contribute tangibly to the War on Poverty. Volunteers served in communities throughout the U.S., focusing on enriching educational programs and vocational training for the nation's underprivileged classes.
VISTA’s legislative purpose, as defined under the Domestic Volunteer Service Act (DVSA) of 1973, is to supplement efforts to fight poverty in low-income communities by engaging Americans from all walks of life in a year of full-time service. VISTA members support the program’s purpose through three primary objectives: 1) encouraging volunteer service at the local level, 2) generating the commitment of private sector resources, and 3) strengthening local agencies and organizations that serve low-income communities. There are currently over 8,000 VISTA members serving in over 1,100 projects throughout the nation.
There are multiple things that that people can do as a VISTA. They can create an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors, set up transitional housing dedicated to helping the homeless turn their lives around, and recruit mentors for children of incarcerated parents. The VISTA organizations focused on setting things up, like recruiting tutors and things like that instead of actually doing the tutoring so they can build a base and then let them continue the tutoring or the skill that the VISTAs started. As a VISTA, people can also expand programs to help low-income families obtain affordable health insurance and organize job and shelter opportunities for victims of natural disasters.
During the Clinton Administration, VISTA was brought under the newly created AmeriCorps program, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and was renamed "AmeriCorps*VISTA." VISTA members sign up with a host agency to a full-time term of service – 365 days.
- Constance Horner, director of VISTA from 1981-1985
- John Lewis (U.S. politician), 1977–1979.
- Jim Ranchino, political scientist who in the late 1960s headed the VISTA program at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Created by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, the Corporation for National and Community Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducts and supervises independent and objective audits and investigations of Corporation programs and operations. Based on the results of these audits, reviews, and investigations, the OIG recommends policies to promote economy and efficiency and prevent and detect fraud and abuse in the Corporation's programs and operations.
Being a VISTA member has many benefits that could affect the member’s life as well as many of the people in the community that they are helping by improving their community. The life skills that the members will learn is the work and skills that will translate directly into jobs, like teamwork, communication, and other skills. Also being a member will allow someone to have the satisfaction of making a difference in their community and accepting challenges and seeing the results that they made. In return for their service, members are provided with orientation and training, a living stipend calculated at no less than 105% of the poverty line, settling in and transportation costs, child care benefits, and a basic health care plan. Upon completion of their one-year term, VISTA members have the option of receiving a cash award or the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. VISTA members are not allowed to earn any secondary income during their term of service.
- "AmeriCorps | Corporation for National and Community Service". Americorps.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-17.
- "President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society ... included a domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps called Volunteers in Service to America, or VISTA." (Neuman 2009, p. 3): Neuman, Scott (21 April 2009), National Service Act continues U.S. tradition (PDF), National Public Radio (NPR.org)
- "Constance J. Horner". utexas.edu. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Lewis, Walking with the Wind, pp. 446–451:
Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis with Michael D'Orso, (Harvest Books: 1999) ISBN 0-15-600708-8.
- "Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- "H.R. 3794".
7. ^ Americorps VISTA, Nationalservice.com, April 14, 2015 8. ^ The Politics and Civics of National Service : Lessons From the Civilian Conservation Corps, Vista, and AmeriCorps. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, EBSCOhost, Retrieved April 14, 2015
- Official website
- A Personal Journey of Images from 1968 to 1969 by a VISTA volunteer
- Finding Aid: Billy E. Barnes Photographic Collection, 1959–1996, in the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, UNC–Chapel Hill