Tuesday, September 13, 2005

AmeriCorps VISTA To Recruit Members


RENO, Nevada - AmeriCorps VISTA, the United States’ “domestic Peace Corps” is announced 24 openings in seven different organizations for VISTA volunteers. An information session, which was open to the public, was held at 4:00 p.m. on July 11, 2005 at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Reno. For more information on future openings, call 352-3202.

For 40 years, AmeriCorps VISTA has been helping bring communities and individuals out of poverty. Today, nearly 6,000 AmeriCorps VISTA members serve in hundreds of nonprofit organizations and public agencies throughout the country - working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, increase housing opportunities, or bridge the digital divide. They leave behind lasting solutions to some of our country's toughest problems.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke of a domestic volunteer program modeled after the newly established Peace Corps. The next year, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "war on poverty" and signed the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The Act created Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) and fulfilled President Kennedy's dream. More than 130,000 individuals have dedicated a year of their lives to eradicating poverty in the United States through AmeriCorps VISTA in the past 40 years.

The first VISTA members started in January 1965, and by the end of the year, more than 2,000 members were working in the Appalachian region, migrant worker camps in California, and poor neighborhoods in Hartford, Connecticut. By 1966, there were 3,600 VISTA members serving throughout the country. Throughout the 1960s, they helped develop some of the first Head Start programs and Job Corps sites. The first members started agricultural cooperatives, community groups, and small businesses that still thrive today. 

Locally, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers will begin to assist Big Brothers Big Sisters, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Great Basin Primary Care Association, Great Basin Outdoor School, Friends of Special Children, American Lung Association, and Food Bank of Northern NEvada.

Positions are full time volunteer assignments, focusing on resource (volunteer and/or financial) development. A “living allowance” is provided, as well as an Educational Award of $4,725 at the end of one year of service.

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