AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
VISTA Leaders, in coordination with the project supervisors, expand and build the capacity of the VISTA members they lead.
VISTA Leaders play a strategic role in recruitment, retention, and performance.
Recruitment – Leaders help sponsors market their VISTA positions and recruit VISTAs. Leaders may be brought onto a project before VISTAs to help with recruitment and help new VISTAs settle into their new communities.
Retention – From helping to plan and conduct on-site orientation and training, to providing project teams with daily guidance (information) and attention, Leaders assist VISTAs in overcoming many of the on-site barriers that lead to early termination.
Performance – They facilitate information sharing and peer learning, increasing the capacity of VISTAs to complete their work plans successfully and developing an esprit de corps among the VISTA cadre.
You may serve as a Leader if you have completed at least one year of VISTA service and have strong recommendations from your last project supervisor, a record of outstanding performance, and demonstrated leadership ability.
Benefits of Serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
In addition to the benefits all AmeriCorps VISTA members receive, AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders earn an increased subsistence allowance, participate in an intensive training that includes face-to-face sessions, webinars, virtual teams, and an Action Learning Challenge. Leaders also gain access to skills that will help them pursue their long-term professional goals. Below are descriptions of the benefits provided to AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders.
AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders participate in a weeklong training designed to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to help recruit, coach, and coordinate teams of AmeriCorps VISTA members. This training is followed by a series of instructor-led webinars and virtual team assignments. Topics include:
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Motivating Your Members
- The Art & Power of Asking the Right Questions
Additionally, a select few have the opportunity to participate in an Action Learning Challenge that has been described as one of the greatest opportunities to learn about yourself, your community on a personal level, and about a subject you believe to be of value to your fellow members.
Increased Subsistence Allowance
Every current Leader is eligible for a $200 per month increase in their subsistence allowance, effective beginning the date of their Leader assignment. If, however, the $200 per month increase raises the subsistence allowance above the federal or state minimum wage (whichever is higher), the Leader must be given the option of:
- Retaining the lower subsistence allowance in order to retain public assistance payments, see 42 USC. Sec 5044 of the Domestic Volunteer Service Act); or
- Accepting the allowance increase, with an understanding that it may jeopardize eligibility for, or the level of governmental assistance including public assistance payments.
All AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders receive health benefits in accordance with the provisions of the administrative contract between CNCS and the benefits provider.
Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
All Leaders who have not already received the full value of two AmeriCorps Education Awards are eligible for another, which can be used toward repaying outstanding qualified loans or toward future higher education programs.
Leaders who have completed terms of service as AmeriCorps VISTA members and do not choose the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award accrue a $250 per month stipend, which they receive upon completion of their full year of service.