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Volunteer Work: AmeriCorps VISTA Endorsement By H.O.W.

Updated on June 28, 2014

Welcome to Americorps Vista

VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America, was the brainchild of President John F. Kennedy. In his Inaugural Speech he called on the youth of America to ask what they could do for their country, and VISTA was one such endeavor that they could join.

The program was founded in 1965, after Kennedy’s death, and it was incorporated into the AmericCorps network of programs in 1993.

As part of President Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, VISTA was the domestic version of the Peace Corps, designed to increase employment opportunities for civic-minded people who wanted to fight the War on Poverty. Volunteers worked across America helping to enrich educational programs and vocational training for the nation’s poor.

There are three main objectives to the VISTA Program:

1. Encouraging volunteer service at the local level

2. Generating the commitment of private sector resources

3. Strengthening local agencies and organizations that serve low-income communities.

Each year there are approximately 5,000 VISTA team members active in over 1,000 projects across the country.

The VISTA Emblem
The VISTA Emblem | Source

Terms of Service

Members sign up for a full year of service, or 365 days. In return they receive:

· Orientation and training

· Living stipend calculated at no less than 105% of the poverty line

· Settling in and transportation costs

· Child care benefits

· Basic health plan

Upon completion of their year of service, members have the option of receiving a cash award or the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which can be as much as $5,550.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify to serve for AmeriCorps VISTA you must meet the following requirements:

· Be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or a lawful permanent resident

· Be team-oriented

· Be willing to meet a variety of challenges

· Be willing to work for one full year

· Most programs require a college degree or at least three years of work experience

· Must be able to pass a criminal background check

There is no upper age limit and in fact many retirees work in the program.

Types of Services Provided By Vista Volunteers

Members usually do not provide direct services such as tutoring or building homes. Their efforts are aimed more toward building organizational and administrative capacities that “fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities.” These would include:

· Create adult literacy awareness campaigns and recruit volunteer tutors

· Establish transitional housing

· Expand programs to help low-income families to obtain health insurance

· Recruit mentors for children of incarcerated parents

· Organize shelter and job opportunities for victims of disasters.

To Join Americorps Vista

For more information:

  • Tel: 1-800-942-267

From the website you will be directed to your individual state where the actual paperwork is generated.

Humanity One World
Humanity One World | Source

Personal Reflections from the Author

It was my honor to serve with VISTA shortly after I graduated from college in the early 1970’s. I spent a very memorable year in the New Iberia Parish in Louisiana, a year I will always hold near and dear to my heart.

There is always skepticism about government programs, and I readily admit to having my share of skepticism during my sixty-four years. However, I found my year with VISTA to be incredibly rewarding, and I found VISTA to be manned by dedicated people who were passionate about helping others.

In a world where greed and complacency seem to be the norm rather than the exception, it is heartwarming to know that there are still people out there who willingly give up a year of their life to make this world a better place.

I call on all members of H.O.W. to spread the word about AmeriCorps VISTA, an organization that truly lives by our H.O.W. Preamble, reaching out to help those who cannot help themselves.

Humanity One World enthusiastically endorses the work of AmeriCorps VISTA.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Deb! It was one of the more meaningful things I have done during my lifetime.

    • profile image

      Deb Welch 5 years ago

      Cheers to you. I had always wanted to join the Peace Corps since late teens - got as far as researching the program and getting an application but something always changed that plan. Interesting and Useful Hub. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, maybe some day; so much to do and so little time! :) Thanks dear lady!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, until now, I was unaware of this organization. I am extremely pleased to see we have organizations that actually help our own Americans in need. I would love to hear more about your experience with VISTA. Perhaps another hub is in order?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, you know, it just makes good sense to have programs like this one. If I had my way every single teenager would be required to join an effort like this but alas, nobody listens to me. :)

      Thanks as always, Jo!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      I don't know if we have the equivalent of this over here, the closest is probably, ' The Duke of Edinburgh's Award' but we could really use something similar. There are so many young people sitting at home on social benefits who could be out there doing some good.

      Another impressive write.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      alifeofdesign, they do great work, and I don't often say that about government agencies. :) thank you

    • alifeofdesign profile image

      Graham Gifford 5 years ago from New Hamphire

      One of my dear friends joined Americorps in her youth and to this day, speaks of it fondly. I was unfamiliar with many of it's services and enjoyed learning more about this group through your hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, please do so; this is a great organization that does wonderful work, and I don't say that about too many government organizations. LOL Thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have heard of VISTA before but never knew what it stood for as a service. This sounds like a great program and one that would benefit those who serve and the served as well. I will keep this in mind to suggest to students needing to perfrom volunteer service.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mperrottet, VISTA gets my personal seal of approval. I hope your granddaughter is inspired. Thank you!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 5 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I'm glad you wrote this hub, as I wasn't aware of VISTA. I'll have to mention it to my granddaughter, who has expressed interest in such organizations. Voted up and useful.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Mary! It just seemed like the thing to do after I left college....I bought into the JFK speech all the way. :) I'm not sure why they don't promote this at high schools and colleges. Personally I'd like to see it mandatory. LOL

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I know you did not write this hub for personal praise but damn Bill, you are all the good things I thought you were and you show that more every day...that being said, this is a wonderful program that really is kept under wraps. Why don't they inform high school and college students about VISTA? Spreading the word would increase the volunteers.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, I agree. The government gets their share of bad raps, and most of the earned, but these programs are excellent.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This is truly an excellent program that can help so many around the world. If you teach a man to fish, he can eat forever. A great job on the good part of government programs. Habitat for Humanity is also inspiring.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, truth be known I would love to see this type of thing required of teens and college grads....get them out in the real world doing some good for their communities. Not that it will happen, but it's a daydream I play with. :) Thanks buddy and have a great weekend!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      This is an amazing organization! Good of you to share this with us, bil. I recall several years ago when the "VISTA" reps visited our local school. There was an entire week devoted to getting to know all about it, for students as well as the public.

      Very educational. I thoroughly enjoyed being privy to the incredible journeys people have experienced....changing their lives for the better.

      Good job as always bill..........UP+++

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Phoenix! I'm surprised they don't have something similar in the UK! I know that I loved my year with them; they are a great organization.

      Have a great weekend and thank you!

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is the first I've heard about VISTA. It sounds like just the thing I've been looking for. I don't think I can do this though because I am a US citizen, I live in the UK.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      HL, thanks again for the visit! VISTA is a worthwhile organization that does very good work. I think for any college grad who doesn't know what they want to do yet, or for someone looking to take a year off from the mundane and do some good work, VISTA is a great opportunity.

    • HLPhoenix profile image

      HLPhoenix 5 years ago

      Another really informative Hub. Growing up in Canada I knew about the Peace Corps... but this is the first time I was consciously aware of VISTA.

      What a great opportunity for young and old to do something really important. I can already think of someone who would be great in this program. I will definitely be sharing this not only through the Social Media... but by word of mouth and e-mail.

      Keep them coming Billy, you always teach me something. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, they really do great work...part of the AmeriCorps organization is also Habitat for Humanity, another great group.

      Anyway, thanks for the visit and compliment, and have a great weekend.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Bill, this is a brilliant addition to H.O.W. and an organization that I had forgotten about. Although I have no personal experience, I do know of the great work and volunteer opportunities they provide. This is a fabulous resource and a real tribute to the organization and....the author of this hub. Great job!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nancy, I love it! Good for you!

      Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      I also served as a VISTA for 3 years. I was a very good experience and gave me invaluable contacts in the community.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Beckie, I'm glad you approve, and thank you as always for sharing.



    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I applaud you for choosing a fine program such as AmeriCorps VISTA.

      I am voting up and will be sharing as well.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, keep those angels coming. They are always appreciated.

      VISTA was bigger in 1965 than it is today, at least with regards to public awareness. I think they do wonderful work.

      Thank you dear friend; have a wonderful weekend and sending hugs your way.


    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Another opportunity to serve and one that is kept rather out of the public eye . I was not familiar with VISTA. I am quite familiar with Habitat which I have worked with. Thanks for putting this out for all to learn about, Bill.

      Giving back can only result in positive results.

      Sending you more Angels again to today :) ps

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I suspect you are not alone; this is one of those organizations that flies under the radar for most; another of their sister programs is Habitat For Humanity, which most people have heard about. :) Thanks as always!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Brian! They really are a great group of people. I had the energy back then; not sure I would do it now.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      I am being honest when I say I never really no much about this organization before, but thank you so very much for sharing and sounds like you had amazing experience. Have of course voted up and shared all over!!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, and Interesting and shared with followers and on social networking sites. I agree that AmeriCorps VISTA is admirable. It sounds like professional level work requiring people skills way beyond my own capabilities. I highly regard those who can and do do it.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joanie, for sharing your mother's story. I love this organization, as I love the Peace Corps. Anytime we give back to society we are doing good and making a difference.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Michelle! They are an excellent organization.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      And this organization clearly deserves to be lauded for its good work!! Well-researched!!

    • joaniebaby profile image

      joaniebaby 5 years ago

      At the age of 60 my mother spent two years with VISTA. She spent one year in Alaska, which she dearly loved. Then the other year was split between Florida and the Indians of Colorado. She did not like the weather in Florida so asked to be transferred and they sent her to Colorado and she thoroughly enjoyed that assignment. While in Alaska she lived in a mud hut which grew grass in the summer. I have lots of pictures from her time there, and also many letters telling of her experiences. Before her VISTA experience, she spent two years with the Peace Corps in Pakistan. Thanks for the useful, interesting Hub.


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