Each year, AmeriCorps VISTA offers over 8,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to address the root causes of poverty through a year of service. For over 50 years, VISTA members have been performing indirect service by developing new programs, raising funds, recruiting volunteers, managing projects, building capacity, and assisting families in breaking the cycle of poverty.
For recent graduates, VISTA provides real-world experience unmatched by any entry level job. And for those with more extensive work record, VISTA allows members to apply their veteran skills and knowledge to serious social problems. In return for a year of service, each VISTA member receives a modest living allowance, health benefits, training opportunities, student loan forbearance or deferment, and ongoing professional development. Upon completing their terms, VISTAs obtain a Segal Education Award along with a year of non-competitive eligibility for a federal government position. The greatest benefit of all however, is the chance to positively impact one’s community and country.
PCRG’s AmeriCorps VISTA program emphasizes community based organizations at the forefront of community development practice and impact. The proximity of these groups to the people and businesses they serve enables them to tackle poverty and its complications head on. However, the rapidly changing landscape of Pittsburgh-area neighborhoods and municipalities poses unique challenges and opportunities for grassroots organizations. In some areas, rapid growth threatens to displace low to moderate income residents, while other neighborhoods suffer from long-standing decay and under-investment. PCRG VISTAs placed with PCRG and its community-focused partners aim to build the programming, resources, and organizational capacity necessary to capitalize on these changes. Not surprisingly, their assignments reflect the remarkable diversity of Greater Pittsburgh, concerning issues as varied as urban blight, affordable housing, and entrepreneur development.
PCRG is one of thousands of active AmeriCorps VISTA sponsors nationwide. We place VISTAs at partner nonprofits across the Pittsburgh region and directly with PCRG. Besides those assigned to PCRG, our members are serving with The Buhl Foundation, Manchester Citizens Corporation, Perry Hilltop/Fineview Citizens Council, Hazelwood Initiative, New Sun Rising, and Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED).
West Hartford, CT | Oberlin College: B.A., Economics, Oberlin Conservatory: B.Mus., Jazz Studies
As a veteran of multiple VISTA terms, my continued service reflects a profound commitment to the program’s capacity building mission. Being a VISTA Leader grants me both the opportunity to inspire this passion in others and the chance to learn from their unique service journeys. In this role, I provide mentorship, training, and guidance to six PCRG VISTA members building positive and sustainable change across the Pittsburgh region. Additionally, I work closely with PCRG staff and site supervisors to support member recruitment and program evaluation. Over my service year, I hope cultivate a genuine sense of community among PCRG VISTAs, formed around a common team ethic.
Serving at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group until October 2018.
Sacramento, CA | Washington & Jefferson College: B.A., Sociology & Environmental Studies | University of Pittsburgh, MPA Candidate
I lived in Sacramento, California and Little Rock, Arkansas, before moving to Pennsylvania to attend Washington and Jefferson College to study sociology and environmental science. Currently, I am continuing my education as a part-time student in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, at the University of Pittsburgh. By studying city and regional planning, I hope to assist vulnerable communities become more resilient to negative economic, political, and environmental trends. In my free time, I love listening to 70’s and 80’s old school jams, going to festivals, and cooking homemade dishes.
Serving at Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group until Sep. 2018.