VISTA: Volunteers in Service to America
In 2009, the Corporation for National and Community Service selected YouthBuild USA to sponsor a national VISTA program. Since the first YouthBuild AmeriCorps VISTA member took the oath of service, YouthBuild USA has placed over 300 VISTA volunteers in 54 different YouthBuild programs in 27 states.
Typically VISTAs are college educated middle class young people seeking to serve their country by diminishing poverty. They increase the capacity of local YouthBuild programs by securing donations, building graduate support systems, creating tools and partnerships to promote career development and college success, and developing resources to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of local YouthBuild programs. VISTAs have provided an injection of talent, creativity, and a spirit of service, and YouthBuild supervisors have helped the VISTAs to hone new skills, acquire new experiences, and expand their professional networks.
Most importantly, YouthBuild USA provides every VISTA member with the opportunity to internalize the spirit of service and the values of YouthBuild. The VISTA partnership is creating a pipeline of leaders who emerge with a deep respect for the talent and intelligence of low-income young people. Each one also earns a college scholarship worth over $5,000.
Recently some YouthBuild graduates have chosen to spend a year in VISTA, building their own pathway into public service careers. They earn a full education award of $5,500 for college, while learning management skills. On a similar path, some graduates have gone on to serve for a year as AmeriCorps members in Public Allies, a national non-profit that places members in a variety of non-profits and provides excellent leadership training.