WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Corporation for National and Community Service today announced that AmeriCorps VISTA members will be part of the Promise Zone Initiative, following President Obama’s designation of the Five Promise Zones in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“We’ve got to make sure this recovery, which is real, leaves nobody behind,” said President Obama. “And that’s going to be my focus throughout the year. This is going to be a year of action. That’s what the American people expect, and they’re ready and willing to pitch in and help. This is not just a job for government; this is a job for everybody.”
Five full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members will deploy to each of the Promise Zones to support each community’s goals and recruit and manage volunteers. Among other tasks, the AmeriCorps VISTA members will work to build the capacity of the Promise Zone to work with federal agencies, coordinating key stakeholders, and creating the community’s project evaluation.
“The President’s announcement today will help revive some of the country’s most vulnerable areas,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Our nation is stronger when people serve and the inclusion of AmeriCorps VISTA members as part of the Promise Zone Initiative puts one of our nation’s greatest resources – our citizens – to work in rebuilding hard-hit communities, ensuring that every child has a fair shot at success.”
The inclusion of national service in the Promise Zone Initiative follows President Obama’s creation of the Task Force on Expanding National Service, an effort that recognizes that national service has a critical role to play to accelerate economic recovery.
The President first announced the Promise Zone Initiative during last year’s State of the Union Address, as a way to partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand access to educational opportunities and quality, affordable housing, and improve public safety.
A program of CNCS, AmeriCorps VISTA has engaged Americans in a year-long, full-time intensive commitment to service designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and otherwise assist low-income communities.