Volunteers in Service to America (VISTAs) have been alleviating poverty and building capacity in communities of need for more than 50 years. When you serve a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Rural Action, you add to VISTA’s legacy of strengthening communities and creating opportunities that lift individuals out of poverty in Appalachian Ohio.
Rural Action supports 10 AmeriCorps VISTA members on our National Service team. VISTAs will serve full time from August 17th, 2020 to August 17th, 2021 (start date may change, but all VISTA positions are a full year). Placements include:
Rural Action Farm to School VISTA (Athens County)
- Increasing local school and institution access to fresh, quality, and local foods
Rural Action Community Resources Support VISTA (Athens County)
- Assisting with non-profit and social enterprise creation, expansion, and branding, with a specific focus on the agriculture and natural resources sectors
Rural Action Sustainable Energy Solutions VISTA (Athens County)
- Aiding in the growth of transitioning the former Southeastern Ohio region from a coal-based economy to the advanced and growing industry of sustainable energy
Perry County Food Network VISTA (Athens County office, Perry County focus)
- Bringing the best practices and successful models of sustainable agriculture in Athens and Morgan Counties to the Perry County Farm Market and partner organizations/cooperatives
City of Athens Economic and Agency Support VISTA (Athens County)
- Helping the City of Athens, Athens County, and Morgan County expand and improve their sustainability plans, with an eye to waste assets, energy, food, and fiscal sustainability, by building off of the knowledge from the Athens Hocking Solid Waste District (which began as SORT, the Southeastern Ohio Recycling Terminal)
Rural Action Volunteer and Communications Support VISTA (Athens County)
- Building standard operating procedures for volunteer and community member engagement, supervised and supported by the Rural Action Communications team
UCM: Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice VISTA (Athens County)
- Supporting the Athens student population and wider county in service that will address food security for low-income and improperly-housed Appalachian Ohioans, provide support and resource connection for refugee families, and expand opportunities to learn about racial, environmental, and social justice movements in Southeast Ohio
Rural Action Tuscarawas County Community Networks VISTA (Tuscarawas County)
- Building the foundation for service that improves the social determinants of health for rural populations in Ulrichsville and Tuscarawas County, including employment training and a new internship program for youth
Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council Energy and Economy VISTA (Athens County)
- Increasing residents’ access to education around sustainable energy choices and how to further conservation with their household choices, building awareness of programs that promote sustainable and affordable household energy choices, and offering support to host energy learning days for up to three K-12 schools in the Appalachian Ohio region.
Rural Action Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative (Athens County)
- Assisting in developing a network of regional and national stakeholders working on staple foods, integrating staple crops as a larger part of sustainable agriculture work at Rural Action, and increasing access to and use of sustainable staple crops by local individuals, including low-income residents
- Capacity building (grant writing, infrastructure) in organizations that alleviate poverty
- Full time, 40 hours a week, maintain host site operational hours
- Living allowance (stipend): $13,152
- Segal Education award for federal student loans or education expenses: $6,345
- Optional cash award in lieu of education award: $1,800.
- Healthcare provided
- Mileage reimbursement for service-related travel
- Training and equipment budget
- One year of non-competitive status for Federal jobs
- Eligible for SNAP if already receiving benefits
- 10 VISTA members in Athens and Hocking counties
The VISTA living allowance is less than that of AmeriCorps State/National. This is designed to immerse VISTA members deeply in their communities and create camaraderie with friends and neighbors in the same situation. The VISTA living allowance does not count as income on the FAFSA if it is your only income. VISTA members get “days off” that align with the calendar of their host sites. Finally, VISTAs who are currently receiving SNAP benefits when they are selected will not have to count their living allowance as income for SNAP purposes (the living allowance does count as income if you apply for SNAP after starting VISTA).
Rural Action is recruiting for 10 fulltime AmeriCorps VISTAs in Athens, Perry, and Hocking Counties. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for full VISTA Assignment descriptions. Opportunity listings will be up on my.americorps.gov later in the season, but you can start the application process by taking our survey.
What About Summer VISTA?
AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates: Summer VISTA Associates serve for 10 weeks in communities of need, starting in June. Summer VISTAs, unlike full-time VISTAs, can do direct service. Here at Rural Action, our Summer VISTAs serve in the Sustainable Agriculture program, keeping local produce moving, getting food to people who need it, and supporting local farmers. Summer VISTAs receive a small living allowance and a partial Segal Education Award, and are eligible to receive the value of 2 full “Ed Awards” with further completed terms of service.
- Build an account at my.americorps.gov
- Build your application. You can make up to 3 applications for different focus areas.
- Go to https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?fromSearch=true&id=87228
- Click “Apply” and you choose the application you want to use
Capacity to leverage our assets to solve our own issues is a challenge for small rural organizations, and finding your place in the world can also be a challenge. National Service is an incredible resource that puts heart and soul into our work and that of many partners. As a Rural Renewal AmeriCorps VISTA member, you will help Rural Action build needed capacity to reach more people and get more done in the communities we work in. Our Rural Renewal VISTA program currently places 5 members in year-long terms within programs at Rural Action and Community partners. Since 1994, more than 400 full-time and part-time VISTA members have served rural Appalachian Ohio communities through Rural Action to address community needs and poverty. Projects have spanned healthcare, arts and heritage, low-income housing repair, community revitalization, and other community organizing and community development activities. These VISTAs helped form the foundation of the work we do today; many of Rural Action’s current programs began as member committees working with VISTA volunteers. Members served a total of 712,228.85 hours over the 15-year course of the program. The current Rural Action VISTA project has been operating since 2019 and aims to build on the successes of past programming to help small communities do big things.