What VISTA Members Do
AmeriCorps VISTA members live and serve in some of our nation’s poorest urban and rural areas. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.
Each VISTA member makes a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return for their service, AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance and limited health benefit options during their service, and have the option of receiving a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their service. About 6,500 VISTAs are placed each year in more than 1,200 projects in low-income communities around the country.
VISTA members generally do not provide direct services, such as tutoring children or building homes. Instead, they focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic develop, and otherwise assist low-income communities. VISTAs develop programs to meet a need, write grants, and recruit and train volunteers. As a VISTA, you can:
- Create an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors.
- Set up transitional housing dedicated to helping the homeless turn their lives around.
- Expand programs to help low-income families obtain affordable health insurance.
- Recruit mentors for children of incarcerated parents.
- Organize shelter and job opportunities for victims of disasters.
In each case, you’ll be strengthening an organization so it can continue to serve the needs of the community once AmeriCorps VISTA’s support has ended.
Read "VISTA: Overcoming Poverty, Building Capacity" (6.67 MB PDF)
VISTA Member Handbook