AmeriCorps VISTA

If you have questions about serving as a VISTA Member or becoming a Host Site, we have answers! View our AmeriCorps VISTA FAQs below, and if you find that your question has not been answered, please contact our office at 804-828-1536 or email Vanessa at vanessa@mentorva.org.

AmeriCorps VISTA FAQs for Host Sites

Is hosting a VISTA Member right for my organization?

Consider the following questions when deciding if becoming a MENTOR Virginia VISTA Host Site is the right fit for your organization:

  • Does my organization have a mentoring program in place or initiated plans to begin one?
  • Does my organization have the infrastructure in place to support a VISTA Member?
  • Has my organization utilized AmeriCorps resources in the past? If so, how will this project be different?
  • Is anyone at the organization (staff or volunteer) currently involved in a project like the one I would like the VISTA Member to work on? (Note: VISTA Members can’t replace staff positions)
  • How will we sustain the project after the VISTA Member completes the year of service and how will we measure the project’s impact?

What organizations are eligible to host an AmeriCorps VISTA?

What kind of work can VISTA Members do? What work can't they do?

AmeriCorps VISTA is an indirect service program, meaning that VISTA Members engage only in capacity building and sustainability work for their organization. For example:

VISTA Members can:

  • Develop policies and procedures
  • Recruit/screen volunteers
  • Build partnerships
  • Plan community outreach events
  • Create a volunteer training curriculum
  • Write a grant or annual report
  • Develop marketing or program materials

VISTA Members can’t:

  • Run or manage entire mentoring programs
  • Train volunteers or youth participants
  • Work directly with youth participants
  • Provide match support or case management to mentors and mentees

How much does it cost to host a VISTA Member?

All Host Sites pay a Host Site Fee to help pay for the costs associated with training, hosting, and supporting a VISTA Member. MENTOR Virginia and the Corporation for National and Community Service are also responsible for paying a portion of the costs. Host Site Fees are subject to change on a yearly basis. In 2019, it cost Host Sites $7,500 to host a VISTA Member.

How do I apply to host a VISTA Member?

Organizations interested in hosting a VISTA Member should contact Vanessa Reyes, the VISTA Program Supervisor by phone at 804-828-1536 or email at vanessa@mentorva.org. Vanessa will send interested and eligible organizations a link to complete the online application. Generally, applications open up in early January and close in late February. Similar to a grant application, the application to host a VISTA Member includes a narrative section and requires supporting documentation.

What is the timeline for the VISTA program?

Can our organization host more than one VISTA Member at a time?

Possibly. Most Host Sites only host one VISTA Member at a time, and generally, a brand new Host Site is not able to host more than one VISTA Member. In order to host a second VISTA Member, a Host Site must have a second project that is different enough from what the other VISTA Member is doing. All decisions about how many VISTA Members a Host Site can host at a given time are made by the Corporation for National & Community Service.

How many years can we apply for an AmeriCorps VISTA?

Typically, each VISTA project proposed by a Host Site will take three years to complete, complementing the structure of the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, which is designed to be a three-year program for each Host Site. This means that Host Sites will usually apply three separate times for three successive years of a VISTA position. Host Sites may be eligible to continue hosting a VISTA Member through a different project after one three-year cycle of VISTA has ended.

Where can I find more information about hosting a VISTA Member?

Your best resource for more information is Vanessa Reyes, the VISTA Program Supervisor for MENTOR Virginia. Vanessa can be reached by phone at 804-828-1536 or email at vanessa@mentorva.org

AmeriCorps VISTA FAQs for VISTA Members

How much is an AmeriCorps VISTA Member required to work?

AmeriCorps VISTAs are required to serve full-time (between 35 and 40 hours per week) for 365 days with their Host Site in order to successfully complete a year of service and access end-of-service benefits like the Segal Education Award.

What are the benefits of serving as a VISTA Member?

How do I apply to become an AmeriCorps VISTA?

All candidates who are interested in AmeriCorps VISTA must apply through my.americorps.gov, the official portal of the AmeriCorps program. For full instructions, please see the National Service website or this PDF step-by-step guide.

Who is eligible to become an AmeriCorps VISTA?

To be eligible for VISTA, candidates must:

  • Be 18 years or older (no upper age limit)
  • Pass a national service criminal history check
  • Hold one of the following citizenship or legal residency statuses: US citizen, US National, Lawful Permanent Resident (i.e. Green Card status), and persons legally residing within a state. Examples of persons legally residing within a state may include those holding the following classifications: refugee, asylee, temporary protected status throughout VISTA service, and holding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

When is the application deadline for AmeriCorps VISTA?

Typically, MENTOR Virginia’s AmeriCorps VISTA Program welcomes a new cohort of VISTA Members in July or August each year. MENTOR Virginia actively recruits VISTA Members during the months of April-September, or until all positions have been filled. The ideal time to apply to get your top-choice Host Site placement is April through June.

Can I have another full-time commitment while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is a full-time, 40-hour per week commitment. Candidates applying to AmeriCorps VISTA can’t be full-time employees elsewhere, and shouldn’t be attending school full-time. VISTA Members may be able to have a part-time job outside of their VISTA service if their Host Site agrees to it and it doesn’t interfere with VISTA hours of work.

Where can I find more information about AmeriCorps VISTA?

The National Service website is a wealth of information about what the AmeriCorps VISTA Program in general is like and what the benefits of it are. For all questions specific to MENTOR Virginia’s VISTA Program, please reach out to Vanessa Reyes, the VISTA Program Supervisor. She can reached by phone at 804-828-1536 or email at vanessa@mentorva.org.

For more information about AmeriCorps VISTA, contact Vanessa Reyes by phone at 804-828-1536 or email at vanessa@mentorva.org.