What is VISTA?
VISTA is an acronym for Volunteers in Service to America. AmeriCorps places thousands of young adults into intensive service positions where they learn valuable work skills, earn money for education, and develop an appreciation for citizenship. VISTA provides full-time members to nonprofit, faith-based and other community organizations, and public agencies to create and expand programs that bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.
What is VISTA doing in our community?
At this current time, VISTA is creating awareness of youth experiencing homelessness in our community through community education and outreach by supporting the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. We are making connections with staff in schools, community agencies and local businesses who are interested in providing philanthropic servicesaces to our community and helping homeless youth. We are also working to identify what homeless students and their families need or want from their community supports.
What is VISTA doing at CESA2?
The goal of the project at CESA’s statewide is to build the capacity of the CESAs to better support homeless students by increasing the awareness of homelessness, facilitating community partnerships, identifying resources and developing materials that will be used by school staff to better support the needs of homeless students. The VISTA will create a volunteer mentoring program for homeless students to increase students’ ability to move out of poverty by increasing their academic achievement and engagement in school. With the assistance of the VISTA project, CESAs will have the necessary resources and support systems in place to ensure homeless students will increase their academic achievement and graduate from high school.
Quick Facts about homelessness in a rural community:
- 1:5 rural counties are considrered "high poverty", compared to 1:20 metropolitan counties are considered to be "high poverty"
- 1:3 people living in substandard housing is a child, which makes them more at risk for falling behind in school, dropping out, or becoming ill
- Nationally, youth become homeless for the first time at age 15
- Research shows that the odds of being poor are between 1.2 to 2.3 times higher for people in rural settings compared to those in metropolitan areas