The AmeriCorps VISTA program has much to celebrate this year.
And we’re not just talking about the fact that they have more than 7,000 AmeriCorps VISTA members were placed in over 2,600 sites and service locations in low-income communities across the nation. We’re talking about their 50th Anniversary!
The AmeriCorps VISTA program is a national service program designed to fight poverty. From recruiting thousands of volunteer tutors and mentors, to creating adult literacy awareness campaigns, to connecting veterans to housing and job opportunities, AmeriCorps VISTA members have helped create ladders of opportunity for millions of Americans.
Karthik Rao served as a VISTA with City Year ’12, ’13
Karthik currently is a Strategy Analyst at City Year, Inc.; hear why he chose to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA and what he gained from his experience:
Being a VISTA provided me the chance to work with a diverse group of people and taught me what it really takes to work as a team. It helped shine a light on the state of poverty and education in communities around this country and has inspired me to continue to work in this field. Learning how to live on little to no money didn't hurt either. I feel more confident about the path I have taken following a cause I care about and being a VISTA was a huge part of that.
I was not satisfied with the opportunities in front of me as a business major during my undergrad years. I had always been passionate about social justice, specifically around education. As a son of immigrants, this country offered my family opportunities we may never have had and I wanted to find a way to pay it forward. I considered a number of service options such as the Peace Corps and Teach for America but stumbled upon a VISTA position with City Year Boston. It was a role I was prepared for with an organization focused on education. It seemed like a perfect match and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity.
My favorite part was the people, whether it was my fellow AmeriCorps members or teachers and principals I worked with. It was an incredible experience being surrounded by like-minded individuals driven to provide the children of Boston with the tools needed to succeed in life.
While the celebration officially kicks off in February, City year is excited to join the celebration early. Here are a few easy ways for you to join the effort now:
1. Visit their new 50th anniversary microsite for great stories, photos, and videos featuring highlights from the AmeriCorps VISTA program’s history.
2. Watch their “Get Involved” video for inspiration on how to plan local anniversary events. Then, forward the video to your networks.
3. Share your best AmeriCorps VISTA stories on your social media channels. Tag @VISTAbuzz and use the hashtag #VISTA50 on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram so that our national network can amplify your posts!