The MTCC VISTA Project places full-time VISTA members with colleges, universities, schools and nonprofits throughout Montana to build capacity within the education and veterans services sectors. VISTAs help assess community needs, amplify local initiatives, and support long-term solutions to poverty.
The MTCC VISTA project advances higher education's public purposes and addresses poverty problems by utilizing strategic campus-community partnerships. MTCC VISTA offers partner organizations the opportunity to build sustainable infrastructure to address needs through leveraging of resources of higher education institutions. MTCC VISTA utilizes a 6-stage community building lifecycle, which engages students and community members in needs assessment, strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation phases of a project.
MTCC VISTA host site recipients receive a full-time, year-long AmeriCorps VISTA member and ongoing support from the Montana Campus Compact (members receive a living allowance, health benefits, an end-of-service benefit, pre-service and in-service training, access to MTCC's network and ongoing technical support, a value of approximately $32,000). 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 the University of Montana's Nonprofit Studies program.
What types of activities do MTCC VISTAs perform?
- Building a campus-community partnership;
- Creating a sustainable volunteer stream for a nonprofit organization or program;
- Leading a needs assessment;
- Creating an 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.