Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Foundation wins Award for 5 CNS- VISTA Positions

WACF awarded five VISTA positions
(from the Daily Mountain Eagle www.mountaineagle.com)
Jennifer Cohron Eagle Reporter Sunday, Jul 05, 2009

Walker County needs you.

The Walker Area Community Foundation was recently awarded five positions through AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).VISTAs make a commitment to help fight poverty by serving for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency.Paul Kennedy, WACF executive director, said the Foundation’s VISTAs will be working with the Health Providers Network, the Heritage Center and the Arts Alliance and Nonprofit Council.VISTAs are not paid employees. “They are under contract to the federal government to alleviate poverty and increase the capacity of organizations operating in rural America,” Kennedy said.VISTAs work no less than 32 hours per week. The Corporation for National Service provides $800 a month as a living allowance for the volunteers. Benefits such as health care and child care are also available.At the end of their service, each VISTA can choose to receive an education award worth $4,725 to pay for college or $1,200 in cash. However, Kennedy said that VISTAs get much more than money.“They get very valuable experience in the non-profit world and the work world. I also think they get an eye-opening experience for what their community is and how it functions,” he said. Kennedy said ideal VISTA candidates have a college degree and are interested in taking a year off before going to graduate school.Mothers who have raised their children and want to reenter the workforce gradually may also find the VISTA program helpful.“Maybe they’re a little hesitant about jumping into a 9 to 5 job. This is a great way to segue back in to the work world. We get the advantage of their maturity and social connections,” Kennedy said.The VISTA program, a vision of President John F. Kennedy, was founded in 1965.In April, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which authorized spending $5.7 billion and will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 positions to 250,000.Paul Kennedy said the national service program is particularly helpful now to non-profit organizations that need more people to fulfill their mission but can’t afford to pay more employees.“This is the best way that the Community Foundation can help develop capacity and sustainability in the organizations that we are trying to support in very lean times,” Kennedy said. Kennedy hopes to recruit locally for the positions, although he can recruit nationally if suitable candidates are not found within Walker County.For more information or to apply for a VISTA position, visit www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp

1 comment:

Cathy Puett Miller said...

Congratulations on getting the VISTA positions. As always, remember that I am available for consultation, program design or evaluation, when it relates to children's and family literacy. Keynotes are also available for any special literacy events!