AmeriCorps VISTA Seeking 230 Members
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Posted by: Greg Heinrich
Des Moines -- In response to severe flooding in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, the federal AmeriCorps VISTA program is making 230 positions immediately available to assist in flood recovery efforts.
The VISTA members will recruit and manage volunteers and provide coordination and leadership to assist low-income individuals and communities in recovering from the severe flooding that struck Linn and Johnson Counties.
“The flooding showed nature at its worst, but Iowans at our best, as volunteers across our great state came together to lend a helping hand,” said Iowa Governor Chet Culver. “I want to thank our federal partners at the Corporation for National and Community Service for quickly approving more AmeriCorps members to help Iowa rebuild. Working with public agencies and nonprofits, these AmeriCorps members will help jump start the recovery process in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City corridor – one of our hardest hit areas.”
The 230 positions are with the VISTA Corridor Flood Recovery Program, an initiative of the Community Corrections Improvement Association. There are two opportunities available:
200 VISTA Summer Associates, full-time summer positions lasting 8-10 weeks that provide a living allowance plus a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,000 to pay for college or pay back student loans or an end of service stipend. Preference will be given to applicants who are able to start by June 30. The commitment must be completed by September 12.
- 30 full-time year-long VISTA positions that offer a living allowance, health benefits, training, student loan forbearance, and the choice of a $4,725 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or a $1,200 post-service stipend.
The VISTA members will focus on coordinating flood-relief efforts, identifying the changing needs of the community, expansion of neighborhood resource centers, developing partnerships, building coalitions and securing resources while working in conjunction with city, county, state and federal agencies and organizations to clean up parts of the corridor area affected by flooding.
“The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City communities were devastated by the recent floods, and many of the people most affected lived in low-income neighborhoods. This tragedy will be especially hard for those already experiencing economic distress,” said Jean Whaley, AmeriCorps VISTA Director. “We're working closely with our state and local partners to get this project up and running as quickly as possible. These 230 VISTAs will bring an infusion of energy, ideas, and organizing power to help local communities with the recovery process.”
The VISTA Summer Associates will be recruited locally and from other states. “I urge Iowans of all backgrounds, from college students on summer break to recent retirees, to apply,” said Governor Culver. “The spirit of service is alive and well in Iowa, and AmeriCorps members are proving this. Every Iowan can be a part of our statewide recovery efforts.”
Hundreds of AmeriCorps members have helped battle the severe flooding in Iowa and other Midwestern states in the past week, managing volunteers, piling sandbags, running shelters and hotlines, and assisting evacuees.
To apply online:
2. Type "VISTA Flood Recovery (Cedar Rapids)" into the "Program Name" box in the middle of the page
3. Click "Search"
Those without access to a computer can also call 319-398-3675 to apply.
More information is also available at www.volunteeriowa.org/flood.html or http://www.vistacorridorrecovery.org/.
VISTA provides 6,500 opportunities each year for individuals to create and expand programs that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster business and economic development, increase housing opportunities, and otherwise help low-income individuals and communities toward self-sufficiency. More information on VISTA is available at AmeriCorps.gov.