Introducing: VISTA Bridges

Last week, I wrote about the experiences I have had during my year of service and what brought me to AmeriCorps VISTA. Now, I would like to tell you how you too can join a 50-year-old program dedicated to ending poverty in your community. In 2016-2017, United Way of Greenville County will host the VISTA Bridges program, which will be aimed at lifting people out of poverty and supporting them on a path to financial stability and a Cycle of Success for themselves and their families.

Are you a mid-level professional looking for a career shift that will allow you to put your talents to work for the betterment of your fellow man? Are you a recent college graduate hoping to fill out your resume with a year of work strengthening your community? Are you a retiring professional seeking to give back to the people of Greenville County? Or are you interested in social service work and want to learn how to get involved in the hard work that United Way and so many others in the community are involved in? Then AmeriCorps VISTA may be perfect for you.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you are in life. AmeriCorps VISTA is a great way for educated professionals, both young and old, to apply their expertise and their skills in a positive way. The benefits to being a VISTA (beyond the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you think about the people you’ve helped over your year of service) can be found here, but the real benefit is the connections you make with people all across the county. The people who work in the nonprofit sector are (in my experience) some of the best people that this region has to offer. The people with whom I interact on a daily basis are all dedicating their time and talents to offer a helping hand to struggling families, and that makes them real life superheroes (albeit without capes).

The VISTA Bridges project will focus on financial stability, one of three key components of the Cycle of Success, and will enable organizations working in different areas of the county to coordinate their services so that clients are able to more easily access the services they need to get on track to becoming financially stable. VISTA Members involved in this project will be involved in strengthening the network of nonprofits in Greenville County and keeping open channels of communication among agencies that offer complementary services.

United Way of Greenville County provides excellent support for its VISTA Members through its AmeriCorps Program Director, Alex Haymond and AmeriCorps Program Assistant, Abby Hope. These two, along with the VISTA Team Lead, help make sure that you have the resources and trainings you need to create an impact and help build the capacity at your host site during your year of service. Throughout the service year, they provide monthly professional development and social activities so you really feel like you’re part of a team here in Greenville County.

The AmeriCorps team needs you. Come join us.

Written by Luke Crumbaker