MCNW Graduates Third Class of AmeriCorps VISTA Members
On Friday, August 28 MCNW graduated its third class of AmeriCorps VISTA members. The national service program dedicated to fighting poverty, VISTAs serve at nonprofits and public agencies throughout the US. VISTA was launched with President Johnson’s Great Society programs and has been in existence for fifty years. As the domestic counterpart to Peace Corps, VISTA members live in the communities they serve, making poverty level wages during their year of service. With funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, MCNW coordinates a cohort of VISTAs and partner organizations in Oregon.
Our VISTAs focus on developing programs that increase economic opportunities and secure healthy futures for low income communities. This year our members served throughout the state, developing community garden projects, employment programs, increased housing opportunities, and much more. Our partner organizations this year included Bienestar Inc., Marion-Polk Food Share, Community Vision Inc., Incite Inc., and Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation.
The VISTA team met with many successes. The VISTA at MCNW’s Reentry Transition Center coordinated a program with the Unitarian Universalist general assembly to raise almost $70,000 for prison reentry initiatives. Other members have developed sustainable volunteer pipelines, raised funds for new programs, created educational programs, and assisted in enrolling countless clients in gardening, financial wellness, employment, and asset building programs.
Congratulations to our team of VISTAs, and thank you to our partners and funders who made this year of service possible.