VISTA History and Mission

AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program that works to eliminate poverty. The first VISTAs began serving in 1965 in the migrant farm worker camps in California, the hollows of eastern Kentucky, and the inner city of Hartford, CT. Since then, more than 180,000 VISTAs have served throughout America to expand the capacity of homegrown efforts to address community challenges.

VISTAs develop initiatives that enable people to become self-sufficient and secure. Our impact is reflected in the hundreds of programs that VISTAs helped launch over the decades, including Head Start, Upward Bound, the credit union system, Habitat for Humanity, and Neighborhood Watch.

Visit us for more information about VISTA, and to explore the many opportunities to serve.

AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of CNCS, the federal agency that improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering.

VISTA Timeline - Celebrating 50 Years of VISTA Service

Webpage link
Since 1965, VISTA has engaged volunteers to alleviate poverty in the United States. This interactive timeline pays tribute to our roots, our volunteers, and the program’s future.
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VISTA Legacy Video

Video
Learn about the programs under the national service umbrella from this short video.
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Mission Possible

Book document
Gain a deeper understanding of the history and mission of VISTA with this short tutorial.
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This is VISTA

Video
Watch this video featuring CNCS state directors talk about successful VISTA projects and the impact they have made in communities nationwide.
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"I Want to Serve Because..."

Book document
Take this tutorial to discover why others have joined VISTA and how you and your community can benefit from your commitment to service.
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What Is Capacity Building?

Book document
Take this tutorial to learn how VISTA defines "capacity building" to ensure that you are carrying out your assignment effectively.
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A Year Towards Tomorrow

Video
Watch this Oscar-winning short subject documentary that follows two VISTAs -- one serving in an urban location, the other on a reservation -- in 1966. This film was narrated by Paul Newman.
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VISTA in Photos and Posters

Multimedia resource
Watch a slideshow highlighting VISTAs who have served in communities around the country over the program's history.
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Capacity Building in Action

Book document
Familiarize yourself with the key elements of capacity building. Through real-life scenarios and examples, learn what tools work and how to maximize impact during your service.
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