A VISTA Service Year in Review
We know that AmeriCorps VISTA is based on the core principles of an anti-poverty focus, community empowerment, capacity building, and sustainable solutions for American citizens and communities.
But did you know that around 340 VISTA members are serving across MN in projects related to education, economic opportunity, healthy futures, and environmental stewardship?
Cohorts of VISTA members range in size from a single member to a group of 52 (our very own Minnesota Literacy Council cohort), and serve in more than 170 sites throughout the Twin Cities metro area and greater Minnesota.
As we work at unique and individual projects, sites, and organizations, it's often easy to feel disconnected, isolated, or unsure of how much impact we're truly making as a VISTA member. We don't often hear about the things other VISTAs are doing or the "VISTA outcomes" outside of our own quarterly progress reports.
For the past few months, however, the eight Minnesota VISTA Leaders have been working to produce a statewide VISTA "impact report" for the 2011-2012 programming year. VISTA Leaders collected data from each VISTA program, looked at the similar and unique things each program tracks, gathered narratives and quotes from VISTAs and Supervisors, and produced a snappy one-page report. The result is pretty amazing.
By compiling our collaborative data, we discovered the truly incredible impact that VISTA members have in Minnesota schools, nonprofits, organizations, and communities. For example, through services and resources provided by VISTA members in 2011-2012:
- 99,323 economically disadvantaged individuals were served
- 307,878 volunteer hours were coordinated (not including VISTA service!)
- $4,737,203 were leveraged in cash or grants
On Wednesday of this week, the VISTA Leaders presented the "2011-2012 VISTA in MN Impact Report" to VISTA Supervisors and program managers, along with the CNCS staff from the AmeriCorps State Office. There are currently plans in place to share the report with community stakeholders, local elected officials, and political leaders in Washington, D.C.!
The VISTA Leaders obviously could not report on every inspiring narrative and impressive fact, but the report highlights the important priorities, projects, and points of impact that constitute the 2011-2012 AmeriCorps VISTA program in MN.
We encourage you to check it out, and share it with your Supervisor, coworkers, family, and friends (a PDF version of the report is included as a file attachment below). Take pride in the fact that you are part of a larger national service community, making tremendous positive change in Minnesota. As VISTA Leaders, we couldn't be more proud of your spirit and service!
A giant shout out and thank you to the 2012-2013 Minnesota VISTA Leaders:
- Anna Preus--Minnesota Literacy Council
- Laura Linder-Scholer--Minnesota Literacy Council
- Angie Brown--City of St. Paul
- Amanda Scherer--Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation
- Jessica Zimmerman--Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation
- Maggie Hendrickson--Minnesota Campus Compact
- Amanda Mangan--Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota
- Claire Hammer--Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota