I am a Volunteer In Service To America, hence the name, VISTA. I work full time, 40 hours per week, in land, energy and water conservation efforts. For my efforts I receive a modest (quite modest really) living stipend. In fact, VISTA members are required to be available for service at all times, without regard to normal work hours. So, if you ever have a late night service learning or civic engagement emergency, don’t hesitate to call.
Unlike the Corpsmembers employed by Mile High Youth Corps, I do not engage directly in our conservation efforts. Like all VISTA members, I engage primarily in indirect service. I am a capacity building force. Whenever there is a reflection question at the end of service project or you are debating the use of Russian Olives in zoos, I likely wrote the material you referenced.
The work of a VISTA is all about stability and sustainability for the organizations where we volunteer. The goal is not to simply start successful projects or complete good work, but to create ripple effects in the organization and community that will continue on after the VISTA has moved on from his or her placement. To that end, I have updated and provided Spanish translations for the energy audit forms, created a curricula template to standardize our classes and also designed and implemented a leadership development course for our YouthBuild program.
One particular organizational ripple that I want my term of service to be known for is intentional relationship building. The best part of day is when a YouthBuild Corpsmember sneaks away from class (which I don’t condone but can’t seem to control) to give me a fist bump and update me about a GED test passed. As a relationship building measure, I have tried to incorporate deliberate listening into my capacity building projects especially through soliciting feedback. The friends and colleagues I have gained from Mile High Youth Corps are positive ripples that will continue far past my AmeriCorps term of service.
~Glen VISTA 2010