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AmeriCorps VISTA

About the Project

BGCA began expanding services to Native communities in 1992. There are now over 170 Native Clubs serving nearly 82,000 Native youth in 25 states, representing approximately 90 different American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian tribal communities.

Members who serve in the Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project (BGCIC VISTA) build the capacity of Native Clubs through activities such as: grant writing to bring equipment, additional staff, and cultural programs into Clubs; grants management processes; evaluation of programs and policies, and adaptation for cultural relevancy & maximum impact; and recruitment of volunteer coaches and mentors. AmeriCorps VISTA members strive to improve programs related to increasing physical activity and improving nutrition for youth with the purpose of reducing childhood obesity. VISTA members also assist local Clubs in developing or improving programs designed to improve educational outcomes for youth. 


Goal and Priority Areas of the BGCIC AmeriCorps VISTA Project

To ensure that BGCIC can lift local youth out of poverty by creating community leaders and employees of the future, and introducing youth to positive lifestyle choices that will make them productive, healthy members of society, VISTA members build organizational capacity through the following activities (specific activities vary by Club site);

  1. Internal Operations & Management
  2. Program Development & Impact
  3. Resource Development
  4. Sustainability
  5. Strategic Relationships


What VISTA members say about their service at Native Clubs

“As a VISTA member, I have been researching programs that would benefit the children that attend the Club. I want to encourage the kids to get educated so they know what is happening with the Tribe and not be blind to what is happening in their community/reservation. Maintaining the culture, wellness, and traditions is very important. I want to find programs that help Native youth and want them to keep their traditional ways." – 2016 VISTA Member Sara McKinney in Mayetta Kansas

“My service as an AmeriCorps VISTA member has focused on promoting the clubhouse and bringing in resources, businesses, or individuals that are driven to support our youth. Working on volunteer mobilization and getting into the community events has raised the awareness of our organization and its presence in the community. Most volunteers that served were unaware that the Club was in the community and that it was open to any youth within or visiting our community. A number of businesses were unaware of the Club and the impact that it has on the youth, their families, and its community. The youth have welcomed visitors and volunteers into their clubhouse with the Aloha spirit, leaving their own impression on very important individuals and organizations. I was able to be a part of those moments and I am glad to have contributed to the Great Futures these youth will now enjoy!” – 2016 VISTA Member Kainoa Teixeira in Nanakuli, HI

“At the Boys and Girls Club of Moody County, I have been able to implement a new way to reach out to our donors as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member. With the help of Club youth, we decorate birthday cards every month to send to our donors and prospect donors. I feel this is a good way to remind the community that the Boys & Girls Club is here to support them and their families, as they have done for the Club by being a donor or volunteer.” – 2016 VISTA Member Renae Jenniges in Brookings, SD


What is a Summer Associate?

Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project Summer Associates serve at Native Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. Unlike their VISTA member counterparts, Summer Associates are able to accomplish “hands on” direct service activities with the youth. They engage in meaningful work and provide opportunities for youth throughout the summer that help expand access to nutrition and education opportunities.


More about AmeriCorps and VISTA

AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that engage more than 80,000 Americans each year with service at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith based groups across the country. AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) focuses on alleviating poverty through indirect, capacity building service. VISTA members work behind the scenes and focus their efforts to build the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic development, and assist low-income communities.


Benefits of AmeriCorps VISTA Service

VISTA members serve for a year of full-time service. In return, they receive the following:

  • A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award ($5,775) or post-service stipend ($1,500).
  • Modest living allowance (approximately $11,000-$11,820 per year).
  • Healthcare benefits while in service.
  • Access to the network of VISTA & VISTA alumni.
  • Childcare assistance while in service.
  • Relocation allowance and travel to pre-service orientation.
  • Student loan forbearance or deferment while in service.
  • One year of noncompetitive status for a federal government job.  

BGCIC AmeriCorps VISTA Monthly Highlights

Monthly Highlights spotlight the work of AmeriCorps VISTA members who are making a great impact on the communities they serve.

January 2017 (pdf)
February 2017 (pdf)
March 2017 (pdf)


BGCIC AmeriCorps VISTA Resource Page

Interested VISTA members, VISTA supervisors, Summer Associates, and organizations- create a login to access resources for the Boys & Girls Club in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project.

Files for download:
AmeriCorps VISTA One Pager (pdf)
2017 - 2018 BGCIC AmeriCorps VISTA Past & Present Sites Map (pdf)
VISTA Relocation Fact Sheet (pdf)

Additional Resources:
Watch a Video Highlighting BGCIC VISTA at a National Celebration of VISTA's 50th Anniversary
Search available AmeriCorps service opportunities
AmeriCorps VISTA Account Log-in
VISTA Campus
AmeriCorps VISTA on Google+
VISTA Member Handbook
VISTA Outside Employment Policy

For more information:
Send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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National Native American Mentoring Program

In 2004, the Navajo Nation, a federally recognized tribe located in the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a unique National Native American Mentoring Program that specifically addresses the issue of children whose parent(s) are incarcerated in tribal, state, or federal prisons. Building on the strong network of Boys & Girls Clubs located in Indian Country, the Navajo Nation teamed with local Boys & Girls Clubs to establish and implement the National Native American Mentoring Program over a three-year period.

The result: more than 400 youth were matched with a caring adult mentor by the end of the project period. The mentoring program was grounded in each Club’s philosophy of positive youth development, organizational infrastructure, and appropriate personnel designated to coordinate and supervise the program. There was a steady interest on the part of Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country to expand upon this mentoring model. In 2007, the National Congress of American Indians agreed to embark on an endeavor to develop a program open to all youth in need of a positive role model and extra attention, regardless of their family background. Funding to establish this three-year initiative was awarded to the National Congress of American Indians through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2007. In 2010, the program received Department of Justice funding for expansion and continuation for an additional three years.

While the National Congress of American Indians administered the entire project, the partnership included 34 Boys & Girls Club organizations located in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Club staff members were trained by Dr. Susan Weinberger, President of Mentor Consulting Group (MCG). MCG’s Train-the-Trainer Model proved to be an effective approach that enabled local programs to effectively train their own mentors.

Each local Boys & Girls Club identified a Mentor Program Coordinator to oversee the Club’s mentoring program, including supervision, oversight, and monitoring of the mentors and mentees. All program coordinators were trained to be responsible for identifying youth; recruiting, training, and supervising mentors; and most importantly, monitoring the relationships between the mentors and mentees. A training manual was also adapted for specific use by the 34 Club sites.

Additionally, the National Congress of American Indians worked with FirstPic, Inc., a consulting firm that has been instrumental in establishing Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country since 1996 and has overseen several national program initiatives in Indian Country. FirstPic, Inc.’s strong relationships and nationwide knowledge of Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country facilitated the implementation of the National Native American Mentoring Program.

As a result of the efforts of Mentoring sites and National Partners, the program matched over 1600 youth who were in need of a positive adult role model with a volunteer mentor.

Files for Download:
Mentoring One-Pager (pdf)
NCAI 2007-2014 Mentoring Sites Map (pdf)

For more info:
Robin Paterson, FirstPic, Inc. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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About Us

For more information, read about the BGCA Native Services Unit team members and how to contact
them individually.

BGCA Mentoring

Need assistance with your BGCA National Mentoring Grant? 

Read more about managing Federal grants.

Have any questions?
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Contact Us

BGCA Native Services Unit
Dallas Service Center
2107 N. Collins Boulevard
Richardson, TX 75080

Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG