Starting Summer Associates

AmeriCorps VISTA
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Welcome AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate!

Thank you for joining AmeriCorps VISTA, the movement for social justice and economic equity. This page outlines what you’ll need to do before starting your VISTA Summer Associate service.

Before you can start your AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate service, you must complete two online courses and fill out four onboarding forms. The courses will introduce you to VISTA's terms & conditions and benefits that come with VISTA service. The onboarding forms allow the VISTA program to provide your benefits appropriately.

Required Online Courses

  1. Benefits of Service. This self-directed tutorial describes the wide range of benefits you are eligible to receive during and after your service. Be sure to to click on "Show Summer Associate Benefits Only"
  2. VISTA Terms and Conditions. After completing each module of this course, you will be offered a link to a Terms and Conditions acceptance form on My.AmeriCorps.gov.
    Please note that you must be logged in to the VISTA Campus while taking this course in order to access the acceptance form link. If you are not already logged in to the Campus, create an account here.
  • You’ll notice that the Terms and Conditions course is geared towards full-year VISTA service.  Things to keep in mind as you review this course:
    • Summer Associates term of service is 8, 9, or 10 weeks
    • Summer Associates are permitted to perform direct service
    • Summer Associates do not attend a Pre-Service Orientation
    • Summer Associates are subject to a search of the National Sex Offender Public Website, but are not subject to an FBI criminal history check, and are not required to submit fingerprints

Required Onboarding Forms

There are three online forms and one hard copy form to complete as part of your onboarding process.  Log into your account at http://my.americorps.gov and click on My Living Allowance in the left menu to complete these forms:

  • Direct Deposit Information – if you are unsure of your account number and routing number, call your bank (your debit card number is not your checking account number)
    • Watch this video on how to complete your direct deposit.
    • We strongly encourage you to utilize Direct Deposit.  If you would like to waive direct deposit, please indicate so and click “Waive Direct Deposit”.  If you decide to waive direct deposit, your paper check will be sent to the site address on file and may face postal service delays
  • Federal Tax Withholding (W4) – If you need help filling out the form, go to www.irs.gov
  • Unpaid Compensation Information (Designation of Beneficiary) – include the name and address of the person you want to receive your living allowance in the event of your death. If you don’t know the ZIP+4 extension, enter 1111 and the system will suggest the correct extension. 

Additionally, you will need to complete the hard copy form End of Service Benefits Selection

  • You will receive this form from your VISTA Supervisor or State Office.  Bring the completed form with you to your first day of VISTA service and turn in to your supervisor.  If you do not have access to a printer, please let your supervisor know so they can provide you a hard copy of the form.  Read about the end of service benefits before choosing between the stipend and the education award. 

Optional Coursework

  • Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Website. Learn more about the Education Award, form a strategy on how to use it, and discover other post-service opportunities related to school and student loans.
  • VISTA Civil Rights and Responsibilities. This course explains your legal rights and responsibilities as a VISTA, and what to do if you experience or witness discrimination or harassment.
  • Mission and Legacy of VISTA. This course provides an overview of the VISTA program and introduces the four principles of VISTA service.
  • VISTA Campus Overview. The VISTA Campus offers a variety of online resources to help you during your year of service, as well as opportunities to connect with your fellow VISTAs, Supervisors, and VISTA alumni. This short video provides an overview of some of the key Campus features.
  • VISTA Member Handbook. Find the details of AmeriCorps VISTA policies, rules, and conditions of service, as well as resources on who to contact for assistance.