The VISTA Experience
VISTAs: Building Power with Minnesota Youth
Every day, nonprofits and government agencies work hard to make Minnesota a state where every single young person has a fair chance to thrive — and they need your help. As a member of the Alliance’s AmeriCorps VISTA program, you’ll spend a year helping one of our partner organizations serve young people in Minnesota though capacity building, strengthening and connecting resources, and developing programs and processes With your help, these organizations can create more effective and powerful solutions for young people facing poverty, racism, and educational inequities in our state. The work will be challenging. But you’ll have the support you need to do it well, all year long — financial assistance, mentorship and leadership training, and the extraordinary community of your fellow VISTA members.
Through their service, Alliance VISTAs implement three key strategies:
- Build capacity at their host site organization to help address education inequities such as the achievement and opportunity gaps
- Coordinate efforts that bridge and build the integration of school and community wide support for youth, focused on providing and sharing resources that increase a young person’s school attendance, behavior and/or course performance (all indicators with a strong link to academic engagement and high school graduation)
- Actively engage youth as agents of change in closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in their communities
VISTA Professional Development
The Minnesota Alliance With Youth AmeriCorps VISTA Program is committed to providing ongoing, extensive professional development and training to our AmeriCorps Members. As an Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA, you will gain behind-the-scenes experience at your host site, learn from mentors and peers, and benefit from a wide range of workshops and trainings led by community members and experts in the Alliance’s statewide network. Your year as an Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA will empower you to develop your professional skills, make a difference for those you serve, and emerge as a leader in Minnesota’s educational equity sector. The Alliance VISTA Program offers over 200 hours of training and Professional Development opportunities for members during their service year:
- On-site Orientation at your host-site to prepare you for your specific role.
- Monthly cohort trainings on a wide range of topics tailored to your specific interests and goals – ranging from education reform, the opportunity gap, conflict resolution, and much more.
- Opportunities for networking, personal growth and peer-learning as a member of a close-knit cohort of 15 Alliance AmeriCorps VISTAs.
- One on One support from a VISTA Leader and Alliance Trainer allows for individualized support and coaching throughout your service year.
- Scholarships and access to professional conferences held in the Twin Cities and beyond. The Alliance is an organizational member to Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA) and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, passing along membership benefits to our VISTAs.
- An Individualized Professional Development Plan for your service year. Develop reachable goals personalized to your service and skills. Dedicate a portion of your service to the advancement of your personal professional goals.
- $100 in Professional Development funds to use as you choose.
- Additional training, team-building, and professional development support through your host site and on-site supervisor.
- Free access to a Life Coach throughout your service year, a benefit unique to the Alliance VISTA Program.
- The InterCorps Council of Minnesota, a peer-led organization that connects AmeriCorps members across Minnesota.
- Open invitation to all Alliance AmeriCorps Promise Fellow conferences. The Alliance hosts the third largest AmeriCorps program (Promise Fellows) in the Minnesota. All Alliance VISTAs are invited to participate in the 4 annual conferences hosted for our Fellows. Past topics have included: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Service Learning, Youth Voice, Personal Identities, etc.
Alliance AmeriCorps VISTAs benefit from exceptional support for starting their life after AmeriCorps:
- Tap into a large and active network of AmeriCorps Alumni and Alliance partners throughout Minnesota who can help you transition to your post-service career.
- Learn tips and tricks to take your career to the next level through resume workshopping, mock-interviewing, and informational interviews.
- If Grad school is in your future, take advantage of matching institutions – universities that match the Segal Education Award!
- AmeriCorps VISTA Members benefit from a year of non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs, allowing you to get the jump on competitive government positions.