• Alumni story
    Antonique Jones Clarksdale MS

    My life has been greatly affected by serving as a VISTA, however, I did not give up.  The experience itself was more of a professional growth.  I never thought nor saw myself joining such committment.  However, there are no regrets about joining.  To know you have hleped change a person's life is such a heart felt feeling.  The site where I served gave me the opportunity to get to know the community and build capacity as well.  Serving for an Adult Basic Education program has shown me strengths that I did not know I had.  I had the opportuity to encounter many different people however they had the same goal.  While serving it was my duties to promote access skill training and education for low income, underemployed and unemployed participants through such activities recruitment, and strategies in the community and in WIN Job Centers, coordinate referrals to college programs for under-prepared participants who must over come barriers to employment.  Serving such organization almost made me find my purpose.  I have always wantede to seeindividuals be successful.  I never mind going the extra mile to help someone over come their barriers.

  • Alumni story
    Marisa Thomas 2012 2012 Tallahassee

    After learning about AmeriCorps in 2011 and completing two terms of service through State/National, I had the opportunity to become a Summer VISTA through Florida State University's Youth Programs at the Center for Leadership and Social Change. My Summer VISTA experience included coordinating speakers and community outreach presentations for a neighborhood summer youth program. The skills, knowledge and hindsight that I learned as a team member has been very influential in how I communicate with others on a professional and personal basis. An unforgettable highlight was when I was invited to attend the White House briefing for AmeriCorps Alums at the close of my Summer VISTA term. I highly recommend to individuals who are seeking to learn more about Americorps and/or able to only fulfill a short service term to apply for a nearby Summer VISTA position!

  • Alumni story
    Summer Disson 2017 Chesapeake, VA

    Operation: Engage Norfolk


    My name is Summer, and I’m an Americorps VISTA serving with Heart of Compassion Partnerships in Chesapeake, VA. I recently attended my first “official” event with the organization, and it was impressive – to say the least.

    On Sunday, February 12, 2017 my organization attended the “Engage Norfolk” civic event. The event was sponsored by Norfolk Councilwoman Andria McClellan. Also in attendance was Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, as well as office representatives for Senators Kaine and Werner. Nearly 100 community organizations got involved and made the event.

    “Engage Norfolk” is an event that allowed the community organizations who were seeking volunteers, for various different project and programs, to interact and inform members of the community, who were looking to volunteer, about their organization and what they “do”. The turnout was amazing. At our table alone, between signup sheets and business cards, we had 30+ members of the community interested in volunteering to tutor the students at our urban outreach centers!

    The “Engage Norfolk” was a huge success. There are many cities surrounding with communities surrounding Norfolk that would benefit from an event like this. With this being the first year of the event, and it being such a success, there are “talks” of creating a “manual” so that other cities can host similar events with the same outcome and enthusiasm, as well as a version geared towards younger members of the community.

    To see the people of the community, my community, come out and support each other was truly an inspiration that has undoubtedly made an everlasting impact on the passion I have of ending the war on poverty. Throughout this year of service I look forward to seeing and experiencing our community come together and support each other to achieve the ultimate goal- to change the world one child, one family, one community at a time.

  • Alumni story
    Mellody Frazier 2014 2015 Chicago

    Hello my name is Mellody Frazier,I served as a VISTA from 2014-2015. I am a Military Navy Veteran. My assignment was to increase the awareness of services and benefits to veterans & their families in underserved communities here in Chicago. I did met my goal and I enjoyed giving back to community. I now as a VISTA ALUM find myself continuing volunteer service to the Senior Veteran community by raising their awareness toward the promotion of healthy living , community and improving the quality of their lives in the area of sports. I am competing in the National Military Senior Golden Age Games and hopefully with sponsorship the National Senior Olympics in the spring and summer of 2017. As usual I welcome the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of people.My life is one of public service.

  • Alumni story
    Kristin Sewell 2016 2017 Eaton Co., Michigan

    I've lived in and out of poverty my entire life. This is the first time I've ever examined it analytically. Here's something I've learned about poverty.

    Poverty is violent. It is an assault on the body. People who live in poverty suffer hunger and are vulnerable to eviction and lack of housing or substandard shelter. Children living in poverty are more likely to lack weather-appropriate clothing or shoes. People who live in poverty are more frequently exposed to environmental toxins through their work and through their living conditions, like Flint, Michigan during the water crisis. People living in poverty are less able to flee natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, and are more likely to lose their lives (their bodies) because of it. People who live in poverty are more likely to suffer preventable and treatable diseases. They are more likely to have diabetes and heart conditions. They are more likely to die because of lack of healthcare. They are more likely to have to choose between medicine and food or shelter. They are more likely to neglect their bodies. They are more likely to live without access to healthy foods. They are more likely to be obese. They are more likely to smoke and use drugs or alcohol. They are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies. People living in poverty are subjected to people judging what they do with their bodies, how they eat, who they have sex with, and how many sex partners they have. People living in poverty become accustomed to negotiating with people feeling entitled to agency over their bodies. People who live in poverty are more likely to be victims of crime and are more likely to be incarcerated for having committed crimes, thus losing agency over their bodies to the state. Young people living in poverty are more likely to see military service as a means out of poverty, thus giving their bodies to the state to be maimed or killed as an act of national service. Children living in poverty are more likely to be abused by authority figures as they are vulnerable, easy prey, and less likely to see abuse as an outrage rather than just more violence to their small bodies. Women living in poverty are more likely to suffer relationship violence. They are more likely to stay with violent partners for much the same reason. They are more likely to experience blame, shame, and judgment for their choices even though other people who make similar choices are easily forgiven.

    Poverty is violence. Solving poverty is a moral imperative.

  • Alumni story
    Isaac Walker 2015 2016 Camden, NJ

    In 2015, fresh out of college, I found myself flying from Madison, WI to Philadelphia, PA for Pre-Service Orientation. I would be serving as a VISTA for the next year right across the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ. I didn't know too much about the area, and was excited to become more familiar with the city in which I would be serving. I didn't know too much about National Service, either. A professor had recommended that I look into the VISTA program, and it had seemed like a good fit.

    My year of service was challenging and rewarding in equal measure. By the end I felt I was finally getting to know Camden and the organization where I worked. I was really starting to feel comfortable in my position, and like I was contributing something to the organization. My VAD was focused on grant writing, and I helped write a grant application to keep a mentorship program running. I was sorry to leave VISTA behind when my year of service was over. So sorry, in fact, that I've now returned as a VISTA Leader at another host site. 

    From knowing next to nothing about National Service to becoming a VISTA Leader, serving changed my life in ways I never expected.

  • Alumni story
    Kenyatta Turner - Burck 2015 2016 Atlanta

    My 1st year serving was  quite an experience but I did not give up! There were many obstacles in my way once I relocated to serve, and the primary one was housing. I was asked to terminate my service but I refused to quit. Each day I continued to research for housing and before I knew it, I found housing. Once I found housing  there was still a dilemma, I didn't have enough money to move in. I still did not give up and once again I made it through.

    After my term ended (I settled into the city that I was living in during my service), I decided to serve another term and now I'm a VISTA Leader. I enjoy helping other VISTA members complete their term successfully. My struggles during my first year of service made me stronger and a better leader to my current VISTAs.

  • Alumni story
    David den Boer 2014 2016 Mesa, Arizona (Phoenix)

    I served two full VISTA terms with the Native American Fatherhood and Families Association in Mesa, Arizona.  I was able to venture onto multiple reservations during my stay and meet with native elders of several tribes.  Seeing first hand the level of poverty right in the backyard of many residents of the Phoenix Metro area raised my level of concern on how indigenous people were being treated right here at home.  I grew to understand the level of distrust between natives and non natives with the hopes of revisiting the population in the future as it is an area that needs a lot of work and care put into it.

  • Alumni story
    Shanice Turner 2014 1 Atlanta

    I am happyto serve here as a Vista Leader. This will be my second year of service!

  • Alumni story
    Tansy Hamm 2008 2016 Atlanta

    This is my fifth year as a VISTA and I am happy to be serving at a site that is happy to invest in the communities that our VISTA's are serving within.

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