AmeriCorps VISTA Opportunities Still Available!

As of 6/27/2017, the following positions are open at AmeriCorps VISTA host sites.

Applications are rolling. Apply Today!

Opportunities in Connecticut

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. The University enrolls approximately 6,900 students, the majority of whom reside in University housing.

The Engineering Science University Magnet School (ESUMS) was established in 2008 as an inter-district magnet school (grades 6-12) through a collaboration between the cities of New Haven, West Haven and the University of New Haven. The school has a special focus on STEM curriculum. Until this year ESUMS was located at a temporary site in Hamden, the school moved to its permanent location adjacent to the University campus in West Haven this March.

The median household income for New Haven residents is $36,641, which is significantly below the state median of $71,346. From 2010-15, 26.6% of New Haven population was below poverty level, compared to 10.5% for the State of Connecticut (US Census, 2015). The VISTA will be supervised by Michael Rossi, Associate Dean College of Arts and Sciences, and Linda Kessler, Administrative Coordinator for Faculty Development & Support at the University and Alice Coleman, Magnet Resource Coordinator at ESUMS. The VISTA member will help University address the need to promote STEM educational opportunities in New Haven and surrounding areas, especially among underrepresented minority and female students.

This will become a model university-magnet school collaboration, demonstrating best practices raising rates of student achievement, college enrollment and completion among at-risk youth, while also increasing community service and engagement among University students.

Established in 1969, the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale serves as a gathering place for all who wish to learn about and celebrate the cultures of the African Diaspora. Our programs and initiatives promote the community’s success in scholarship, leadership, advocacy and service.

In support of our mission, the CCSNE VISTA manages the Civic Engagement Initiatives, comprised primarily of the Urban Improvement Corps (UIC), a nonprofit organization housed in the center that provides free tutoring and mentoring to students, mostly from under-resourced schools and backgrounds, in the Greater New Haven area in grades K-12. UIC was founded in 1968 to develop lifelong student learners who realize their academic and leadership potential so they may have an even greater impact in our world.

The VISTA assists in the training and evaluation of UIC tutors so as to deepen their understanding of K-12 education and youth advocacy in order to best support program participants. Under the supervision of center’s director/Assistant Dean of Yale College, the VISTA provides financial oversight to ensure compliance with federal expectations of tax-exempt organizations. The VISTA also evaluates tutor/program effectiveness to ensure that UIC meets House and university expectations and coordinates workshops for participating caregivers on building teacher-caregiver relationships (grades K-8) and on college preparation (grades 9-12). By providing greater oversight, educational programming, and evaluation of the UIC program, the VISTA will help increase its overall effectiveness and impact.

The VISTA also works to build and strengthen partnerships with local advocates that serve youth from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Opportunities in Massachusetts

Brandeis University’s Waltham Group is seeking an CCSNE AmeriCorps*VISTA to support the Newcomers Academy, non-traditional age students, and additional programing for ELL students in partnership with the Waltham Public School district. The Newcomers Academy is dedicated to Immigrant and non-native students with limited or interrupted education. The VISTA will create assessments and feedback surveys to determine the best possible revisions to existing service programs. The VISTA will develop a viable student leadership infrastructure, promote the sustainability of the Newcomers Academy, and assist in creating new programs and services.

The creation of a Newcomer’s Academy is to support students with limited or interrupted education with a focus on K-12 academic success to support SLIFE student’s comprehension in both English and in their native languages to encourage academic success. The VISTA will be working to support post-secondary success of non-traditional students.

The first year VISTA role will be to help determine the needs and possible growth opportunities for the program. The VISTA will be working with Brandeis student groups to support the Newcomers Academy through creating volunteer recruitment tools, implement trainings, and track community impact.

The CCSNE VISTA will report to Lucas Malo in the Department of Community Service and Catherine Carney of Waltham Public Schools.

The Middlesex Community College (MCC) 2016-2017 AmeriCorps*VISTA placement focuses on building capacity for education partnerships and fostering K-8 student success. The goal is to improve the academic performance and engagement of K-8 students from low income families by building the capacity of the Lowell Public Schools (LPS) and MCC partnership of service learning student placements at the Bartlett School in Lowell, MA. The K-8 Bartlett Community Partnership (BCPS) is located in a high-poverty area in the City of Lowell and its students underperform on statewide assessments in math and science.

MCC’s service-learning student placements will provide in-school and after-school individual and group projects focused on three primary areas: 1) Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) programming with hands-on activities demonstrating scientific principles; 2) Dental hygiene education and preventative care to promote dental and general health awareness as well as provide career role models; and 3) Arts programming with an emphasis on music and theatre, high needs areas for BCPS. Partnership activities will include identifying and prioritizing activities to benefit student’s academic needs, design service-learning projects, coordinate resources and establish systems to track data and assess outcomes.

A greater number of MCC students placements will result in increased numbers of school children served. Improved student skills will support future academic success, aid student retention, promote graduation from high school, and motivate some students to pursue STEAM fields of study.

Supervisors: MCC: Sheri Denk, Coordinator, Center for Student Leadership and Engagement; BCPS: Martha Cohn, Curriculum Coordinator for Social Studies and Science

Simmons College proposes to seek a CCSNE VISTA to work with us to develop a plan for improving college readiness and thus college outcomes for Boston students, By engaging with existing partners – the other members of the Colleges of the Fenway and our Boston school, community center, and youth-serving agency partners – and connecting with college readiness programs operating in the city of Boston and known evidence-based successful practices, we will collaborate on a plan to build college readiness into existing tutoring, mentoring, and enrichment pre-K through 12 programs and to expand direct college readiness programs.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) proposes to partner with Holyoke Community College (HCC) to host a CCSNE VISTA who will use service-learning courses to build new connections in support of HCC students’ successful transfer to UMass. HCC serves one of the lowest-income cities in Massachusetts, and over half of HCC students are low-income as defined by Pell eligibility. Strengthening the ability of HCC students to transfer to UMass and succeed will enable them to use education as a path out of poverty.

The VISTA will help build a variety of connections between the institutions; one of the most promising is work to link service-learning courses at the two campuses, which will share Holyoke community partners. Service with the community partner will be organized so that students from the two campuses can meet and work with each other; the two groups of students can also join each other on both campuses to prepare for service and to reflect on it. These processes will allow relationships to form across the two groups—relationships that can support HCC students who decide to make the transfer to UMass. Over time, HCC students who have participated in this partnership and then transferred to UMass will be recruited as UMass student service-learning leaders to work with the next iteration of the partnership.

The AmeriCorps *VISTA member placed with the Center for Civic Engagement at Western New England University will work closely with Emma Seils, the Assistant Director for Civic Engagement, to continue the partnership with John J. Duggan Academy. Duggan Academy is located right across the street from the University. It is the Center’s goal to create sustainability for the on-campus Cub Connections tutoring program, which launched in the Fall of 2015. The program focuses on homework completion, mentoring, and academic related activities for Duggan students.

Organizationally, the Center is located under the University’s Experiential Learning umbrella and supports the Learning Beyond the Classroom (LBC) requirement. The staff report to the Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning and Career Development. The Center offers one-day service experiences, civic engagement workshops, Alternative Breaks (Fall and Spring), administers the University’s America Reads program, and staff serve as club advisors for the student group (CARE) that has community service as its central mission. Because this is the third year of the Cub Connections program, the VISTA will oversee all features of the program while identifying areas in need of improvement in order to sustain the program beyond the tenure of a VISTA. In addition, the VISTA will have opportunities to facilitate pieces of other programs, depending on the interests and skills of the individual.

The University’s campus climate for engagement continues to grow due in part to our intentionality with regard to achieving community and our focus on student learning outcomes. The Center wants students to build reciprocal relationships within the community, understand social issues affecting the area, discover the City of Springfield, explore how social identities shape their service experiences, and become active citizens with a lifelong commitment to community engagement.

Opportunities in Rhode Island

The mission of Blackstone Academy is to build a strong community of learners and leaders. In a small, student educational environment that fosters independent inquiry, teamwork, and communication, students develop the skills to solve problems and use their voice in ways that lead to success in the academic, social, and professional arenas. Students demonstrate their achievements through a process of discovery, presentation, and reflection shaped by active engagement in community life.  This learning process begins with themselves, moves forward with an exploration of the local community, and ultimately integrates an understanding of the wider world as students become responsible, motivated, lifelong learners. Blackstone’s mission guides us to focus on two main priorities: prepare students for higher education and involve them in meaningful ways in their communities.

The VISTA will be working to help build capacity for our low-income, majority first-in-the-family students from Blackstone Academy and Central Falls High School to support their pursuit of higher education. Both schools serve primarily immigrant families of color. Specifically, the VISTA will focus on helping students access programming, college visits, and scholarship dollars to increase outcomes toward college admission and enrollment. Blackstone and CF High School began a formal, funded, college-access partnership in 2015-16, but with the funding for this project having expired, the support of a VISTA in the 2016-17 academic year to continue and strengthen the project was instrumental. Going forward with Roger Williams University as a formal partner in this application, we want to continue to create additional connections to RWU and other institutions of higher ed in all of southern New England, and the work of a 2017-18 VISTA to make this happen while sustaining previous endeavors will be critical.

The Rhode Island Urban Debate League VISTA project will leverage the state’s higher education community to build capacity for the urban debate movement in Rhode Island. Urban debate is a powerful–and proven–means of engaging students in their on education and helping to close the achievement gap. Through the project, VISTA support will expand organizational level capacity to fight educational inequity in the highest poverty schools by infusing the education system with the electric energy of debate both in and beyond the classroom.

In year one of the project, the VISTA developed a process, toolkit, and set of underlying principles for partnership that will enable the RI Urban Debate League to assess and grow its work with seven institutions of higher education with whom it has built relationships. In year two, the VISTA will build systems to support the three partnerships with the greatest potential to improve program quality and leverage new funding to expand the Urban Debate League’s work: Brown University, Bryant University, and the University of Rhode Island.

Phyllis Gingerella-Wade, the Rhode Island Urban Debate League’s Revolution Aviator (a.k.a. Program Manager) will provide day-to-day supervision of the VISTA, and Executive Revolutionary Ashley Belanger will provide secondary supervisory support.

Applications are rolling. Apply Today!