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Mississippi Delta Service Corps AmeriCorps*Volunteers in Service to America (MDSC/A*VISTA)

Mission/Goal

The mission of the MDSC/AmeriCorps*VISTA program is to Empower Individuals and Organizations with Skills and Knowledge Needed to Implement and Sustain Programs in Their Communities.

Program Description

AmeriCorps*VISTA is a national service program dedicated to eliminating poverty by helping individuals and low-income neighborhoods make positive changes for themselves. Through AmeriCorps*VISTA, ordinary people provide extraordinary service in more than 1,200 projects nationwide.MDSC/A*VISTA is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service out of Washington, D.C. and has an annual operating budget of over $450,000.00. The program consists of 3 full-time staff and 25 full-time members who are assigned to non-profit agencies throughout the 11 counties of the Mississippi Delta region.

VISTA members generally do not provide direct services, such as tutoring children or building homes. Instead, they focus their efforts on building the organizational, administrative, and financial capacity of organizations that fight illiteracy, improve health services, foster economic develop, and otherwise assist low-income communities. VISTAs develop programs to meet a need, write grants, and recruit and train volunteers. VISTAs, can also:

  • Create an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors.
  • Set up transitional housing dedicated to helping the homeless turn their lives around.
  • Expand programs to help low-income families obtain affordable health insurance.
  • Recruit mentors for children of incarcerated parents.
  • Organize shelter and job opportunities for victims of disasters.

Program Success

Since 2003 the Mississippi Delta Service Corps/AmeriCorps*VISTA program has made a significant impact in the lives of community residents through our three initiatives.
Economic Opportunities In 2011, 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty and 33 percent of our children lived in families in which neither parent had full-time, year-round jobs. On a single night in America, 636,017 people were homeless — essentially as many people as live in Baltimore, MD. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is dedicated to creating economic opportunity by using national service to improve the financial well-being and security of economically disadvantaged individuals. Community organizations across the country are learning about specific interventions to address the housing, financial literacy, and employment needs of low-income populations.

Healthy Futures

Every day, millions of Americans face health problems that reduce their quality of life. Nearly half of U.S. adults don’t get needed preventive health services, too many of our nation’s children and youth have unhealthy eating habits and don’t get enough exercise, and many of those over 65 need physical assistance to live independently in their homes during their golden years. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides much-needed services to underserved areas to help our citizens improve their health through a three-pronged approach of assistance, prevention, and intervention. The tools we use are found in successful programs that increase the ability of individuals and communities to address their specific health concerns.

AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members are involved through the Community Health Corps, a CNCS program that places workers in health centers around the nation to improve access to primary and preventative health care. Senior Corps RSVP volunteers are working to fill in gaps in community outreach and services, whether that involves transporting patients to doctor’s appointments, providing respite services for full-time home caregivers, or screening children for health issues in our schools. The programs cover a wide scope of needs and issues. They serve rural and urban communities, engage youth in physical activity and teach them the importance of nutrition, provide in-home services to seniors to make daily tasks easier, and connect people with programs and information to help them have healthier lives.

Education

In order for all of students to succeed, the education system must provide the academic support and encouragement at-risk children need to thrive. Too many students enter school unprepared and that makes it tough for them to keep pace with their better-off peers. Others lose interest along the way unless a concerned adult intervenes to prevent behaviors that can lead to them drop out later. The Corporation for National and Community Service believe that all students can succeed when given the chance. The simple strategy is: Create the conditions that make children and youth want to learn, and give them the opportunity to achieve.

AmeriCorps members, RSVP volunteers, and Social innovation Fund grantees improve students’ academic achievement by increasing their engagement and providing one-on-one time with a concerned, involved adult by serving in schools and building capacity in communities across America.

Contact Information

Linda Stringfellow, Program Director
Phone: 662-846-4339

Stedmond Ware, Project Coordinator
Phone: 662-846-4338

Lakisha Butler, Marketing & Recruiting Associate
Phone: 662-846-4848

MDSC/A*VISTA Forms and Documents

Absentee and Leave Policy
Holiday Leave Form
Leave Form
Monthly Report Form
Progress Report Form
Sample VISTA Project Work Plan
2014 National Service Days
2014-2015 Stipend Schedule and Timesheet Deadline
Tips for Monthly Reports and Timesheets
VISTA Member and Supervisor Quarterly Evaluation