Happy Americorps Week!

That’s the first line of the oath AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers In Service To America) take when they dedicate a year of their lives to serving our communities with the mission of eradicating poverty in the U.S. Since AmeriCorps began 20 years ago, more than 900,000 members have provided over 1.2 billion hours of service across all 50 states.

Today, Mission: St. Louis serves as a VISTA umbrella to the greater St. Louis area. Since 2009, our city has been home to over 200 VISTAs. This year, we have 60 VISTAs at over 20 nonprofits, all spending at least 40 hours a week dedicated to making a sustainable change in their communities today and into the future. VISTAs build capacity in many different ways, but all have the goal of leaving their organization better prepared to fight poverty.

VISTAs in St. Louis are not just concerned with changing their specific community. They have learned first hand the way an impact on one person or one organization can have far-reaching effects. Madeline Brophy, Prep Academy VISTA at inspireSTL, has seen this during her service,

“Our work as VISTAs further develops our scholars’ leadership potential, and at the same time, our scholars reflect that transformation taking place in our communities. 

VISTAs have the power to not only support and empower their organizations but also the communities around them.”

The impact our VISTAs are making in St. Louis is real, sustainable and great in scope:

Because of VISTA,

The Little Bit Foundation has been able to relaunch their Books and Buddies program, a program that uses stuffed animals as a way to encourage reading.

Earth Dance Farms is collaborating with the city to make municipal ordinances and zoning codes more hospitable to urban agriculture.

Faith That Works is developing a sustainable plan and process for their communications.

Gene Slay’s Boys’ Club is gathering more data and working with that data in a more precise way, so now they can say 100% of their students are on track to graduate high school.

Because of VISTA, new leaders are rising up all over St. Louis with a passion for making a difference in our city. Theresa James, an AmeriCorps VISTA that recently completed her term of service at the Alzheimer’s Association- St. Louis Chapter, believes in the power of her fellow VISTAs:

“VISTA creates leaders that are going to continue to make an impact on the big issues facing our world today. While it may sound idealistic- it’s evident in the creativity, grit and compassion that I see in my fellow service members. We’re serious about social justice and we’re serious about getting things done.”

Are you interested in becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA? Contact our VISTA Leader atvistaleader@missionstl.org

Thank you to all of the VISTAs who are serving our city and getting things done for America!