VISTA - Washington Campus Compact

Program Overview

    What is the AmeriCorps VISTA Program?
    AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a full-time national service program for people 18 years and older who wish to apply their skills to building the capacity of community-based organizations through the development of sustainable anti-poverty programs, that engage and empower residents of economically disadvantaged communities across America.

    What is the Washington Campus Compact (WACC) VISTA Program?
    The WACC AmeriCorps VISTA program represents a dynamic relationship between higher education and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which recognizes the power of campus-community partnerships in addressing critical community needs. WACC AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full time, for one year, building sustainable community-based programs that address educational and food disparities across Washington State.

    WACC AmeriCorps VISTAs do not perform direct service, but increase organizational capacity by serving as liaisons, leveraging resources and promoting reciprocity between campuses and their identified community partners to build infrastructure, secure long-term resources, and recruit, coordinate and train volunteers to create systems that remain long after service ends.

    What is the goal of the WACC AmeriCorps VISTA Program?
    The goal of the WACC VISTA program is to move people out of poverty through educational attainment and food security by building the capacity of community-based organizations addressing these issues.

    To accomplish this, the WACC AmeriCorps VISTA Program will:

    • Develop sustainable campus-community partnerships that improve educational access, persistence and completion, and increase access to secure and nutritional food.
    • Develop sustainable local community-based projects that improve educational access, persistence and completion, and increase access to secure and nutritional food.
    • Mobilize volunteers to address community needs in the areas of education and food security, as well as to support National Days of Service.

    What is the focus of the WACC AmeriCorps VISTA Program?
    In recognition of WACC’s vital role in strengthening communities through education and civic engagement, the WACC AmeriCorps VISTA Program will highlight two focus areas; Education and Healthy Futures. Working with the host site and identified community partners, the WACC AmeriCorps VISTA member will build the capacity to sustain programs in one or both focus areas.

    Focus Area 1: Education
    The relationship between education and poverty reduction is very clear: educated people have a higher income earning potential and are better able to improve the quality of their lives. In fact, education is the primary vehicle by which economically and socially marginalized adults and children can lift themselves out of poverty and obtain the means to participate fully in their communities.

    WACC AmeriCorps VISTA members will develop, build, support, and deepen campus-community partnerships that directly impact the educational access, persistence and completion for economically disadvantaged children, youth and adults, as well as veterans and military families.

    These partnerships focus on:

    • School Readiness: helping economically disadvantaged pre-K students enroll in, maintain enrollment in, and succeed in early childhood education programs
    • Success in School: helping economically disadvantaged students in grades K–12 maintain enrollment in, and succeed in school
    • College Access: helping first-generation and economically disadvantaged students in grades 9–12 prepare for and access college
    • College Persistence and Completion: helping  at-risk college students, as well as veterans, persist toward graduation through coaching, tutoring, mentoring, enrollment support, learning communities and community engagement initiatives
    • STEM: increasing awareness, enrollment, and graduation of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines

    Focus Area 2: Healthy Futures
    Diet-related disease has been steadily increasing over the last 30 years mirroring the rise of processed, less nutritious foods and the scarcity of accessible fresh fruits and vegetables, resulting in food deserts in many regions of the country. To build a safe, just, accessible, and sustainable food system, we need many different kinds of people, organizations and businesses within a community to work together to increase access to healthy, affordable, fresh food.

    WACC AmeriCorps VISTA members will develop, build, support, and deepen campus-community partnerships that contribute to an equitable, sustainable and healthy food system for economically disadvantaged children, youth and adults, as well as veterans and military families.

    These partnerships focus on:

    • Food Security:  supporting anti-hunger efforts that increase access to healthy food through food banks, farmer’s markets, community gardens and other projects
    • Nutritional Education:  supporting campus and community efforts that teach healthy eating and nutrition through research-based education programs