The MTCC VISTA Project represents Campus Compact's approach of addressing community needs utilizing the resources of higher education. VISTA projects utilize the community building process which engages students and community members in needs assessment, strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation. AmeriCorps VISTA members serving with MTCC projects are placed in full-time service positions for one year in communities across Montana. All MTCC VISTAs receive a living allowance, health care coverage, and may choose an AmeriCorps Education Award or cash stipend upon completion of their term of service. Members relocating to serve may also receive reimbursement of relocation expenses for travel and shipping costs. AmeriCorps Education Awards can be applied toward tuition or to pay down existing college loans. MTCC VISTAs may receive graduate credit for their service through thep overty problems through strategic campus-community partnerships.
The program offers campuses, schools and organizations the opportunity to build sustainable infrastructure to alleviate poverty by leveraging the ALIVE program offered through The University of Montana’s Office for Civic Engagement. Because the service term with AmeriCorps is full-time, VISTAs cannot be current students (except through ALIVE) or hold other employment.
What types of service activities do MTCC VISTAs perform?
- Creating an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors;
- Setting up affordable after school programs;
- Developing a recruitment campaign for college students to serve with the project/program;
- Expanding programs to help low-income families navigate college application/enrollment;
- Developing a mentor program for students identified as at-risk of dropping out; and
- Developing systems for organizing job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.
AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 50 years.