Absolutely. All VISTAs receive pre-service training, as well as project-specific training during service. At the pre-service orientation (PSO), VISTAs meet and network with fellow VISTAs to cultivate support systems that are valuable throughout the year of service. Additionally, skill sets are honed and developed to prepare you for life as an AmeriCorps VISTA member.
When you serve as a VISTA you are committed to the program 24/7, meaning you cannot hold any outside employment.
All VISTA positions are full-time, year-long engagements. Our VISTA summer program is the exception, with the engagement lasting between 8-12 weeks but still being a full-time commitment.
If you are moving more than 50 miles to serve as a VISTA, you are eligible to receive up to $500 to assist with your moving expenses. Each state director distributes relocation funds with his or her own discretion.
VISTAs can serve anywhere in the United States. Volunteer opportunities exist in big cities, rural towns, and everywhere in between. This is your opportunity to give back to your local neighborhood or to one on the other side of the country if you so choose. As a VISTA, you serve an organization focused on a specific project to help a low-income community. You have the option to apply to any location, project or area of focus you want. The choice is yours – we want passionate individuals who are ready to step up and serve the community.
You must be at least 18 years old, but there is no upper age limit. With such a wide variety of projects, VISTA seeks individuals from all walks of life.
You must be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the United States to be a VISTA.
Most programs seek members with college degrees or at least three years of work experience. Many VISTAs bring significant work and life experiences to their assignment. Initiative, flexibility, and organizational skills are a must. Fluency in Spanish or other languages also are helpful in certain programs. You must be available to serve full-time for one year.
Additional benefits include training, limited health care benefits, relocation expenses, student-loan forbearance or deferment and non-competitive eligibility for a federal government position. You may also be eligible for childcare assistance should you need it. Perhaps the greatest benefit is the experience of making a positive change in your community and your country. But there are other benefits as well. VISTAs serve for a variety of reasons, from wanting to make the world a better place to discovering a life-changing adventure.
No, but VISTA members receive a modest, monthly living allowance to help cover the basic necessities. VISTA members who successfully complete a term of service are also eligible to receive either a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $5,550 to pay for college or to pay off student loans, or an end-of-service cash stipend of $1,500.