Welcome to the Alliance VISTA Toolbox! The toolbox has information, resources, and tools to support members’ implementation of the VISTA program.
Alliance VISTA Model
AmeriCorps & National Service Information
Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA Program Overview
Alliance VISTA Members strengthen communities and bring youth out of poverty by serving at non-profits, government agencies, community-wide coalitions and statewide agencies to 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
Alliance VISTA Member activities increase the capacity of their site and community to support young people, and lead to significant increases in the number of additional activities able to be carried out by the host organization and its partners.
Possible activities VISTA Members perform that provide a direct link to increasing educational equity in Minnesota include:
- Creating or improving data systems to increase host site’s ability to track, evaluate, and replicate positive youth interventions
- Establishing/strengthening volunteer programs
- Developing and implementing a process for recruiting volunteers and caring adults to work with youth
- Convening partners to align goals and activities
- Researching best practices relating to educational equity and conducting literature reviews
- Identifying and integrating best practices into communities and organizations
- Creating resources and materials to help inform the community
- Creating or promoting leadership and civic engagement opportunities for youth
- Researching youth-led programming models and identifying opportunities to engage youth in co-creating programming
Learn more about Minnesota Alliance With Youth’s AmeriCorps Program Overview.
Training Materials and Calendar
August Cohort Meeting
- Minnesota Department of Education Grad Rates
- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) MN Plan Executive Summary
- Building a GradNation
- Professional Development Plan
September Cohort Meeting
October Cohort Meeting
- Living Allowance Calendar
- Food Support – Application process for SNAP benefits (food stamps). Find official certifications of Service on your My AmeriCorps account under “My Service Letter.” If you need a certificate with more details, contact your VISTA Leader.
- AmeriCorps VISTA Healthcare FAQs
- Minnesota VISTA Living Guide
- Discounts Near You – Growing list of discounts and free activities for members to explore.
- Tax Resources – new to taxes? Check out these resources and tips for FREE filing.
- Life After AmeriCorps Resources – find a list of matching institutions, financial aid, and other places/ways to use your ed award!
Education Award and Student Loans
CNCS: Education Award – Ed Stories and Guidebook
- Forbearance Guide – eligible federal student loans only
- Postponing Student Loan Payments and Getting Interest Paid
- Tax Implications and Tax Strategies
- Using your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
- Education Award Uses: Loans and School
Alliance Guide – Student Loan Forbearance and Resources Review
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: AmeriCorps service is eligible for the PSLF Program; this program allows qualifying federal student loans to be forgiven after 10 years working at a qualified employer. You may receive credit by either making monthly, on-time, income-based payments during your service or by making a lump sum payment from the education award toward a qualified loan. Read the resources below to learn more:
- VISTA Professional Development Plan & Guide to Developing SMART Goals
- Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA): VISTAs can attend in-person or online training for free, as well as access the on-demand library of training. *Make sure to note you are a VISTA with Minnesota Alliance With Youth when registering.
- UMN Center for Youth Development
- Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Twin Cities (YNPN)
- Diversity and Equity Education Resource Library
Life After AmeriCorps and Alumni Services
- Forms and Policies
- VISTA Reporting
- VISTA Vocab