CCSNE AmeriCorps VISTA Host Sites 2018-2019
Artists for Humanity is a nonprofit organization striving to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to long-tern economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. The role of the VISTA will be to support one of AFH’s goals: experiential educational and academic enrichment to encourage school achievement and college access. The VISTA will create and build upon systems to measure impact, research, and strategize how to staff the tutoring program, build upon existing SAT curriculum and scholarship database, improve college advising systems, and conduct outreach to higher education partners and evaluate college visit days.
Blackstone Academy is a public charter school hosting a VISTA to support its students. The VISTA will be working to build capacity for low-income, majority first-generation students to support their pursuit of and persistence in higher education. Specifically, the VISTA will focus on helping students access grant and scholarship dollars to make up gaps in financial aid, and they will build and strengthen community partnerships to support students in accessing credit-bearing courses.
Breakthrough Providence is a Providence-based nonprofit that has dual mission: to create a pathway to college for low-income, academically motivated middle schools students in Providence public schools, and to encourage talented high school and college students to pursue careers in education. The CCSNE VISTAs work has helped shepherd partnerships to build BTP’s capacity to deliver college access programming. The next VISTA will develop systems and processes that strengthen BTP’s retention, fundraising for after school and overall presence.
Bridgewater State University is a four-year, public institution hosting a VISTA in their Community Service Center. The project supports a partnership with the Old Colony YMCA to finalize the design of a College Readiness Program for high school students in Brockton, MA. The Third-Year VISTA will evaluate the effectiveness of the program and implement needed changes, along with creating a sustainable plan to ensure the longevity of the program.
Campus Compact for Southern New England is a nonprofit organization that advances the public purposes of colleges and universities by deepening their ability to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility.
Project 1 (open): The CCSNE Basic Needs Security project works to reduce hunger and homelessness as a barrier to low-income student retention and success in college by supporting college interventions. The third-year VISTA will identify and assess basic needs security programs in the region, support the creation of new programs, and increase the visibility of these issues through social media.
Project 2 (open): The CCSNE Education Equity VISTA will strive to improve PK-20 education, college aspirations, access, and success for low-income students by leveraging the educational assets of institutions of higher education. The first-year VISTA will conduct a regional needs assessment for PK-20 programs, train volunteers to encourage college attendance in youth, and identify ways for people to convene around this goal.
New Britain, CT
Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) is a four-year, public institution hosting two VISTA members this year.
Project 1 (open): The Central STEAM Initiative is a new partnership between CCSU and the Capitol Region Education Council. The VISTA will work to increase the number of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students who enroll and graduate from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math majors. As a first-year project, the VISTA will help organize current CCSU dual enrollment initiatives, identify best-practice campus-community partnership models, and help develop data collection tools to support this goal.
Project 2 (filled): Partnering with CCSU’s Office of Community Engagement, The 600 East Street Community Center is a multi-sector partnership identified through the Invest Health planning process as part of an initiative to address, in part, low educational outcomes. The Year-One VISTA will work with CCSU and the YWCA of New Britain to build capacity for K-12 programming and services leading to improved educational outcomes and graduation for vulnerable youth in the city. They will create a plan to coordinate services among the various partners, develop new campus-community academic support programs, implement a success measures database, and identify funding opportunities for the development and sustainability of the Center moving forward.
New London, CT
Connecticut College is a four-year, private, liberal arts college hosting a VISTA in the Office of Community Partnerships in connection with Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School (BDJMS). In its second year, the project will continue to develop the relationship between Connecticut College and BDJMS to build a community culture of education success by helping students increase their civic understanding, enhance strategic reading skills, and build communication in multiple languages. The VISTA will expand the reach of the program, develop a framework for after-school programming, and build relationships with other community agencies.
Fairfield University is a four-year, private Jesuit Catholic university hosting a VISTA in the Center for Faith and Public Life, in partnership with Cesar Batalla Elementary School. The project aims to deepen the relationship between Fairfield University and Cesar Batalla to support cognitive, social, and civic learning for students and teachers. The Year-Three VISTA will support partnership programming and evaluation by updating a needs assessment and refining outreach and communication plans.
Fisher College is a four-year, private institution that integrates liberal arts education with career and pre-professional development. Fisher is hosting a VISTA on its campus to support the Latinx Project. This project will focus on the college’s current, incoming, and prospective low-income, latinx student population to provide research and best practices for supporting these students through matriculation to graduation.
Fitchburg State University is a public, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA member in the FSU Douglas and Isabelle Crocker Center for Civic Engagement and building capacity for Early College High School (ECHS) programming. These collaborating partners have developed a regional approach to providing opportunities and services to high school students in North Central Massachusetts that will maximize resources to benefit our students and the region. With guidance from key staff, this VISTA member will work with the partners to build their capacity to serve a greater number of underrepresented students at the partner high schools. They will facilitate the necessary planning and implementation of this project and assist in launching a viable, sustainable program.
Gordon College is a four year Christian liberal arts institution hosting a VISTA member in the Office of Service Learning in partership with Oliver Parternship School to buld capacity for K-12 success. Throughout the first two years of this parternship, the VISTA was able to initiate the development of volunteer run programs at OPS, including college student-led lunch circles (mentoring and character development program) and after school enrichment programs. In year-three, the CCSNE VISTA will allow GC to solidify the sustainability of the program at OPS and assess if it is possible to replicate at another school.
The Greater Hartford Consortium for Higher Education is a voluntary association of public and private organizations in Greater Hartford that fosters collaboration among higher education institutions and within the community. The CCSNE VISTA will serve to build capacity for the Jr. Apprentice Program, a teen apprenticeship program that promotes career-readiness and workforce development. Furthermore, the VISTA will conduct outreach and community assessment in order to effectively reach populations that can benefit from our programs and to create a more robust partnership among community leaders and members.
Housatonic Community College is a two-year, public institution hosting a VISTA to identify different holistic services from both the college and the community needed for low-income students to remain in school. The first-year VISTA will survey students to identify barriers to success, build partnerships on campus and in the community to address these barriers, and disseminate resources to students based on their needs.
Kids in Tech is a nonprofit organization striving to support the next generation of technology-savvy leaders through after-school computer science programs for kids and advancing computer literacy for all. Kids in Tech will host two VISTA members to build the infrastructure and capacity of communication and fundrasing to sustainably run programming for low-income youth.
Project 1 (open): The VISTA will research organizational strengths and weaknesses, as well as develop and strengthen partnerships between Kids in Tech, institutions of higher education, and other organizations.
Project 2 (open): The VISTA will develop a plan to support communication between Kids in Tech and the community and strengthen the organization’s presence.
Manchester Community college is a public, 2-year institution hosting a VISTA member in Student Retention Services located in the division of Student Affairs. This cross-departmental effort is designed to build MCC’s capacity to keep students who might otherwise stop-out or drop-out on track to achieve their educational and career goals. In year-two, the CCSNE VISTA will help define next steps in the system to identify why students stop-out and how to keep them in school.
The Massachusetts College of Art and Design is a public, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA member to serve as the Artward Bound Program Assistant. Artward Bound is a free, four year college preparatory program at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), modeled on the federally funded TRIO program, Upward Bound. Artward Bound addresses the needs of students interested in the visual arts who are at risk of not pursuing higher education due to a combination of factors in their home, school or community. The CCSNE VISTA will serve to build the program’s capacity in supporting relations with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and stakeholders, supporting assessment and communications for the programs, and building student support services as BPS students transition from high school to college.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a four-year, private institution hosting a VISTA to support students through the Educational Justice Institute (TEJI). TEJI supports sustainable solutions to mass incarceration, social injustice, and barriers to re-entry via education and technology. The first-year VISTA will build capacity for this effort by developing communications to raise awareness, creating a program for incarcerated students, and develop an assessment process for the organization.
Middlesex Community College is a public, 2-year college hosting a VISTA in the Office of Admissions. This project will support student recruitment, admission, and enrollment in the institution by identifying and implementing best practices and interventions to support student persistence. In the first year, the VISTA will develop surveys, organize focus groups, and review marketing materials aimed toward incoming and first year students to identify both incentives and barriers to fulfilling enrollment applications and/or attending and subsequently dropping out of the college.
Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) is a 2-year community college in Gardner, MA. The VISTA will serve with the Students Serving Our Students (SOS) program through the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement in partnership with the Gardner Community Action Committee (CAC) and Catholic Charities (CC) to continue strengthening the capacity of the CAC, CC, and the SOS offices. In year three, the VISTA will ensure the long-term sustainability of the campus food pantry, as well as the SOS program, by supporting the recruitment and training of MWCC student mentors and cultivating community partnerships.
Providence College is a private 4-year university hosting a VISTA in the college’s Feinstein Institute for Public Service in the role of Partnerships for Postsecondary Success AmeriCorps VISTA. The goal of this project is to collaborate with community partners and stakeholders to support existing postsecondary success programming and initiatives, and to develop and research ways to improve postsecondary success for Providence youth. Through conversations with stakeholders, best practice research, and creative approaches, the VISTA will assist the Feinstein Institute and partners in developing a collective impact approach to postsecondary success among Providence-area youth.
Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) is a public, 2-year academic institution in Worcester, MA. In its third year, the VISTA will continue to work with QCC to expand and enhance the capacity of the Brothers & Keepers Male Retention and Mentoring Initiative (B&K) to positively impact young men through education. The VISTA will build capacity through leveraging college, partner schools, and community resources to support B&K students. In partnership with University Park Campus School, North High School and the Worcester Public Schools (WPS), QCC will continue to develop and expand an educational success pipeline for at risk male students from high school to college.
The Rhode Island Urban Debate League (RIUDL) is an organization that engages students in policy debate programs in order to improve academic outcomes and increase college readiness. The RIDUL VISTA project will leverage the state’s higher education community to build capacity for the urban debate movement in Rhode Island. In the third and final year of the VISTA project, VISTA support will expand program level capacity by growing volunteer and fund development capacity with an eye toward program expansion.
Roger Williams University (RWU) is a four-year, private, liberal arts institution. RWU is hosting a VISTA on its Bristol, RI campus to support their Strive, Overcome, Achieve, Rise (SOAR) program and their Rogers High School College Access program which focuses on college access and success for under-resourced, first-generation and high need students at RWU through mentorship and programming.
Salve Regina is a private, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA in the Office of Community Service in partnership with the non-profit organization Baby Steps. The Baby Steps mission is to actively engage parents and caregivers with birth to 36 month year old children in activities that model effective parenting and learning strategies in a supportive community. The goal of the VISTA is to continue the sustainability and enhancement of Salve Regina’s partnership with the East Bay Community Action Baby Steps Program by helping them conduct needs assessments and develop a media/marketing plan to meet community needs, sustain/develop a program that will create new practices to meet the needs of low-income residents, help socially disadvantaged children to make gains in social/emotional literacy, and numeracy skills, as well as to improve retention for first-generation and low-income students. This partnership will effectively improve retention of first generation college students by developing specific programs for Salve Regina’s student volunteer base at the Bay Community Action Baby Steps Program.
Smith College is a four-year, private women’s liberal arts college hosting a VISTA in the Jandon Center for Community Engagement. The project focuses on building STEM outreach at Lt. Elmer J. McMahon Elementary School, a school with significant minority and high needs populations. The Second-Year VISTA will recruit and support student volunteers to increase offerings, deepen the relationship between Smith College and McMahon, address identified needs in the program, and develop a plan to expand offerings to middle school students.
New Haven, CT
Southern Connecticut State University is a four-year, public institution hosting a VISTA in the Dean of Students’ Office. The project aims to increase support for students who are experiencing food-insecurity, homelessness or other challenges so that they can achieve sustainable independence and academic success. In the second year of the project, the VISTA will support the development of a campus Center to promote awareness of community resources available on campus and in the New Haven community, create a point of contact system for students in need of resources, and increase awareness of these needs in the general student population.
Springfield College is a four-year, private institution hosting a VISTA in the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. In its third year, the project aims to engage middle school youth in academic support programs to assist with their transition to high school and develop their aspirations for higher education. The VISTA will assess educational needs and resources available to residents and work to leverage college resources to better meet those needs and to fill in gaps in services.
Tufts University is a four-year, private institution housing a VISTA in The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, in partnership with Generation Citizen, a nonprofit that aims to empower young people to become engaged and effective citizens. The project supports efforts to improve civic skills, civic knowledge, and civic motication in students to promote long-term civic engagement. The Second-Year VISTA will refine the training and program delivery systems that govern this work.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a four-year, public institution housing a VISTA in the Office of Student Life. Working closely with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Food Security Advisory Board, the project focuses on addressing food and financial insecurity for students attending UMass Amherst through Student Care Supply Closets and other interventions. In the second year, the VISTA will establish structures for campus-wide coordination of food security measures, develop tools to measure impact, and design educational programming to develop life skills, increase awareness of campus resources, and engage students in strategies to address food insecurity as a community.
The University of Massachusetts Boston is a public, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA member in the Office of Urban and Off-Campus Support Services (U-ACCESS). The U-ACCESS Office supports low-income students experiencing non-academic challenges that create barriers to success in college. This project will focus on creating sustainable operations for the campus food pantry, developing a student leadership model to manage the delivery of resources and support, and conduct outreach across the UMass Boston Campus to raise awareness for U-ACCESS.
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is a public, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA member in The Leduc Center for Civic Engagement. The project focuses on building the capacity of the Volunteers in Public Schools program in the New Bedford and Fall River public school systems. The goals of this project will be to increase community engagement in the schools, support student engagement through in-school and after-school programming and provide more volunteer opportunities for college students.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell is a public, 4-year institution hosting a VISTA member on its campus to support the River Hawk Scholars Academy program (RHSA). The RHSA promotes student success and fosters engagement on campus and in the local community for full-time, first-year, low-income students who identify as first-generation as they transition to diverse college communities. This project will focus on developing partnerships, program evaluation, outreach and marketing, resource development and leadership development for River Hawk Scholars Mentors.
Wheaton College, a private, 4-year liberal arts college, will host 2 VISTA members in the Center for Social Justice and Community Impact.
Project 1: The first-generation student support position will build the capacity of Wheaton College to effectively respond to the expressed needs of its underrepresented students to increase engagement and retention through the development of a cohort-based leadership program for low-income, first generation college students. Project
Project 2: The Center for Social Justice and Community Impact will partner with the Attleboro YMCA to improve the efficacy and sustainability of three signature programs: Reach & Rise, Women on the Rise, and the Student Leadership Collaborative. The VISTA member will build the capacity of Wheaton college to strengthen campus and community engagement, refine the curriculum and assessment tools, create opportunities for year-round engagement, and identify funding opportunities for program sustainability.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a private, 4-year research institution, will host 2 VISTA members to build the infrastructure and capacity at WPI to sustainably and effectively support K-12 students, educators, and families in the Worcester, MA community with equitable access to high-quality, integrated, and inclusive STEM education opportunities.
Project 1: The STEM Education Center will be collaborating with the Worcester Public Schools (WPS) and its Strategic Planning Advisory Board to evaluate its new plan focused on access and availability of higher level learning for all WPS students.
Project 2: The Pre-Collegiate Outreach Programs Office will be conducting a landscape analysis of the PreK-12 STEM activities at WPI and the ways that the WPI community (faculty, staff, and students) can be involved with PreK-12 STEM Education.