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Megan Stith, AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor Connecting Our Community Through Capacity Building UWCKs Partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA Program VISTA Application.

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Presentation on theme: "Megan Stith, AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor Connecting Our Community Through Capacity Building UWCKs Partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA Program VISTA Application."— Presentation transcript:

1 Megan Stith, AmeriCorps VISTA Supervisor Connecting Our Community Through Capacity Building UWCKs Partnership with the AmeriCorps VISTA Program VISTA Application Training

2 About the AmeriCorps VISTA Program Low-income focus since inception in 1965 Help poor communities attain self-sufficiency by recruiting and training volunteers, raising funds, and developing community initiatives Capacity building, sustainable development Serves both nonprofits and public agencies Full time, one year positions living at economic level of people they serve Summer Associate positions United Way of Central Kentucky


4 About VISTA Assignments VISTAs are not meant to be long-term resources They build capacity and create new programs within organizations and make them such an integral part of the organization that they stay on a long-term basis but without the VISTA Projects focus on: -Economic Opportunity -Education -Healthy Futures -Veterans and Military Families -Disaster Services -Environmental Stewardship United Way of Central Kentucky

5 About VISTA Assignments United Way of Central Kentucky Capacity BuildingDirect Service Recruiting volunteers to build housesBuilding houses Organizing a fundraiserDelivering Meals on Wheels Developing a database of mentorsMentoring teenagers Writing a curriculum for a financial literacy course Teaching a financial literacy course Setting up partnerships in the community Providing health screening services

6 UWCKs Role in the VISTA Program United Way of Central Kentucky Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) KY State Office United Way of Central Kentucky Chris Wilborn, Director VISTA Supervisor Megan Stith USA Cares Jenn Robinson 1 VISTA Hardin County Schools T. Ovesen, C. Wise 2 VISTAs Helping Hand of Hope David Dozer 2 VISTAs CASA of the Heartland Sylvia Griendling 1 VISTA Big Brothers Big Sisters Terri Harms 3 VISTAsUWCK3 VISTAs

7 Bringing VISTAs to Our Community Initial concept paper for new sites Application for all sites which includes: -Project plans and VISTA Assignment Descriptions -Needs assessments -Letters of support from community partners -Recruitment and training plans Approved by advisory committee that guides initial project selection Recruitment through My AmeriCorps Portal Federally-funded Pre-Service Orientation Quarterly reporting to CNCS Ongoing training and support (ARC certification, social and educational opportunities) Complying with regulations (record keeping, benefits administration, etc.) United Way of Central Kentucky

8 Benefits for VISTAs A living stipend of $10,704 (pre-tax) dispersed over the 12 month service term* Forbearance or deferment during the 12 month service term for qualified student loans* Upon completion of service, VISTAs may choose EITHER a $5,500 education award OR a $1,500 (pre-tax) end-of-year cash stipend Free health coverage (vision and pre-existing conditions not included; dental coverage is limited to emergencies; limited annual exams) A childcare subsidy of up to $400 per child for qualifying childcare providers Vacation time: 10 personal days, 10 sick days, and holidays your service site honors Skills development for non-profit or public sector career Reimbursement for service-related travel (sites responsible for payment) A relocation reimbursement and reimbursement of some shipping costs for VISTAs moving over 50 miles to serve 1 year of non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs United Way of Central Kentucky

9 Requirements for VISTAs VISTA members CANNOT hold secondary jobs or make additional income during a VISTA service term Full-time commitment of at least 35 hours/week Members remain available for service, without regard to regular working hours, at all times during the members service, except for periods of approved leave Part-time educational enrollment may be allowed with prior CNCS approval Must pass federal background check Must be at least 18 years of age and a US Citizen, National or Legal Resident Sites can add additional requirements depending on project needs (education, skills, etc.) Complete pre-service forms in My AmeriCorps Attend Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) and take Oath of Office if they have not previously served as a VISTA United Way of Central Kentucky

10 Costs Incurred Paid by CNCS: -VISTAs living stipends, educational awards/end of service awards, health coverage, and other benefits -VISTA Supervisors stipend -PSO training Indirect Costs: -Site Supervisors time -Use of site facilities, office supplies -Mileage reimbursement -Costs of new/expanded program, community outreach, etc -No training budget, education arranged pro-bono by UWCK and sites United Way of Central Kentucky

11 Time Required of Site Supervisor Write VISTA application for CNCS approval Develop project plan/VAD using provided templates Recruit applicants for the position, interview and select the VISTA Attend orientation and training opportunities Supervise the VISTA on a daily basis Approve VISTAs biweekly time sheets Ensure VISTA provides UWCK with all documentation required Be available for site visits by VISTA Supervisor as needed Submit monthly reports written by the VISTA to the VISTA Supervisor Complete VISTAs end of service evaluation United Way of Central Kentucky

12 Organizational Support Required Reimburse VISTA for work-related travel Provide space and equipment for VISTA to work, including but not limited to a phone, computer, printer, and internet connection Provide on-site orientation and training to your VISTA Attend Site Supervisors Orientation (online, asynchronous)- done before VISTA is hired Require VISTAs to attend UWCK-coordinated workshops, trainings, and volunteer events (including but not limited to Red Cross Certification, Day of Action, Project United, MLK Day of Service) United Way of Central Kentucky

13 Benefits from VISTA Service The talents of a VISTA who works full-time to develop new programs, fundraise, or recruit volunteers Many VISTAs possess specialized skills that might otherwise be outside your organizations budget (graphic design, grant writing, etc.) The opportunity to implement some of your big ideas through the VISTAs capacity-building focus A sustainable program that will be able to continue after your participation in the VISTA program (typically VISTAs can be hosted for up to three years per project) New partnerships that address community-identified issues of concern related to eliminating poverty Measurable achievements and participation in volunteer events that can be publicized in press releases, newsletters, or other outlets Ongoing training and opportunities for professional development United Way of Central Kentucky

14 Benefits from VISTA Service UWCK brought 12 federally-funded volunteers to build the capacity of 6 local nonprofits in 2013. These AmeriCorps VISTAs raised $435,946 in donations, recruited 1583 volunteers, and generated over 28,304 hours of service at a value of $594,384. Last year alone, the VISTA program had an $1,030,330 impact on our community. VISTAs have brought $3.6 million in value to our community since 2011. Estimated return on CNCS investment: -$238,000 to administer the program last year -ROI of approximately 430% United Way of Central Kentucky

15 My passions are education, working with kids, and service, so I became a VISTA at Big Brothers Big Sisters in order to impact youth and communities in a positive way, outside of the typical classroom setting I was used to. I strive to treat each family and Little with as much care and flexibility as I can, which means holding meetings on evenings or weekends, or driving to the family's home if needed. I also make sure to support my volunteers, Bigs, in the best possible way, as I want them to know how much their service and dedication to our agency and their Little is appreciated! I see this experience as much more than a year of service to my community; it's allowing me to find clarity in my educational and future goals. Ashley Orr, Big Brothers Big Sisters United Way of Central Kentucky

16 October 2011 VISTAs supporting Project United

17 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service VISTAs volunteering at Feeding America

18 Application Procedure United Way of Central Kentucky New Site Concept Paper Submit full application, Project Plan, begin recruiting Submit VAD, position posted in eGrants Current Site Submit application and Project Plan, continue recruiting Submit VAD, update posting in eGrants After your concept paper/application has been reviewed by the Advisory Committee, you will be notified as to whether UWCK will move forward with recommending your placement to CNCS.

19 Application Procedure Same questions as 2013-2014 Responses should be thorough but concise Annual review for existing Sites New Sites will have a few additional questions to answer if initial concept paper to CNCS is approved Must submit signed MOA before you can be reviewed by Advisory Committee REVIEW MOA AS A GROUP United Way of Central Kentucky

20 Developing a Project Plan and VAD Think carefully about the milestones you set, as they cannot be changed once approved Find a balance between ambitious and realistic goals Consider factors like the time of year your VISTA will be starting (Project year of July-June may be different than VISTA start dates depending on PSO availability) VAD is the VISTAs guide to achieving their Project Plan goals Must have milestones from Project Plan but may have additional indicators related to overall project Samples available at United Way of Central Kentucky

21 Questions to Consider Can you provide an incentive for VISTAs like housing stipend or Cost- Share the placement with CNCS (may give flexibility with start dates)? For existing projects, how can you expand the program or have different focus? How are you bringing your services to under-served areas? How is your program sustainable? Which VISTA focus area(s) will your project address? How will your project alleviate poverty? United Way of Central Kentucky

22 Finding Potential VISTAs Dont rely solely on applicants to find your posting in My AmeriCorps Failure to fill your positions can jeopardize current/future placements at your site May want to pre-screen with checklist before doing more in-depth interviews UWCKs interview checklist must be completed during interview with candidate to ensure they understand terms of service Be sure to verify references independent of automated responses in eGrants Always be recruiting in case your current VISTA leaves unexpectedly United Way of Central Kentucky

23 Application Procedure Applications available for download at MOA must be signed and set to UWCK for your application to be reviewed Notice of intent to apply must be received by March 18 th at 2PM EST, via email to Applications due via email to by April 8 th at 2PM Supporting documentation (new sites) and MOAs (all sites) can be mailed to 850 West Park Rd, Elizabethtown, KY 42701 but must be postmarked by April 8th United Way of Central Kentucky

24 More Information More resources on VISTA available at Check out the Site Supervisor online training class available at Login info: uwckvista14 as username and password Contact UWCK VISTA Supervisor, Megan Stith 270-737-6608 United Way of Central Kentucky

25 Questions? Thank you for your time! United Way of Central Kentucky

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