Understanding AmeriCorps: The A-B-BGCIC’S

A is for AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorps is essentially an umbrella that encompasses many National Service programs, all sponsored by the Corporation for National & Community Service.

AmeriCorps VISTA is one National Service program that places full time volunteers in yearlong service positions. What does VISTA mean? VISTA stands for ‘Volunteers in Service to America’. Approximately over 8,000 VISTA members serve from approximately 1,100 sponsoring organizations, live and serve in the rural and urban areas that need it most. With passion, commitment, and hard work, they create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.

Photo: VISTAs all over the country gathered at events this year to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of AmeriCorps VISTA.  

B is for Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country

In 1992, Boys & Girls Clubs of America began expanding its services to Native Communities. There are now approximately 175 Native Clubs serving nearly 82,000 Native youth in 25 states, representing approximately 90 different American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian tribal communities. Clubs serve Native youth by providing safe and positive environments that allow for them to thrive through programs like T.R.A.I.L. that are geared towards the needs of Native communities. The Native Services Unit supports these Clubs and provides assistance to new Clubs who are just starting.

BGCIC is for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country AmeriCorps VISTA Project

Photo: Members at the Akwasasne Boys & Girls Club learn basket weaving as part of a mentoring program at the Club. Native Boys & Girls Clubs support a number of educational, cultural, and mentoring programs for youth.

The Boys & Girls Clubs in Indian Country (BGCIC) AmeriCorps VISTA Project is the only AmeriCorps VISTA project dedicated to placing full time volunteers in Native Boys & Girls Clubs. Think of VISTA members like booster shots for Clubs that are trying to grow, or like the protein powder that adds muscle to Clubs who are determined to increase their impact.

VISTA members and Summer Associates are helping to advance the joint mission of all Boys & Girls Clubs on Native lands to serve more Native youth around the country, and to serve them better. Since 2010, 64 VISTA Members and 84 Summer Associates have been placed, and the project currently has 14 VISTA members serving 9 Native Clubs. VISTA Summer Associates work in direct service with youth focused on healthy futures and education, while year-long VISTA members work on a number of projects to develop resources, create programs, improve operations, build partnerships in the community, and create sustainability.

Clubs can apply now to place members for either yearlong or summer placements. Read about the application to find more about how your Club can host a VISTA member and/or Summer Associates!