AmeriCorps VISTA Community Fellows

Shippensburg University is a proud partner of the AmeriCorps VISTA Community Fellows program. Students across campus are volunteering their time and energy as Community Fellows to improve the circumstance of individuals living in poverty. By taking an active role in helping others, students like you demonstrate the power that we have when we unite in the common cause for good. Serving as a VISTA is truly an honor that gives students an opportunity to gain life-changing experiences while making life-long friends!

What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

VISTA stands for Volunteers In Service To America. The VISTA program was founded in 1965 to encourage civic engagement in the effort to alleviate poverty-related issues in low-income communities across the nation. The VISTA mission is to strengthen disadvantaged communities and engage others in order to eliminate the problems of poverty. The VISTA Fellows on campus are a group of energetic students dedicated to serving the Shippensburg community by:

• Mentoring and tutoring at-risk youth through after school programs
• Fighting illiteracy
• Building self-esteem through sports and activities
• Promoting environmental awareness
• Establishing and implementing early childhood education programs
• Coordinating local volunteers to expand current projects

VISTA Fellows commit to one year of full-time service with a local nonprofit or government agency. Generally, students complete a 300 hour term of service over the course of the year. Half of that time is spent at the partnering agency, while the remaining hours are spent doing community service and recruiting volunteers. Upon completion of their term, VISTA members are awarded a post-service stipend.

The benefits of becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow

Developing valuable new skills VISTA Fellows have a unique opportunity to gain valuable leadership and organizational skills as they create sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty. Furthermore, they gain practical experience in a professional environment that will follow them throughout their career.

Resume Building Making a commitment to serve your community as a VISTA shows potential employers that you are willing to face new challenges; it also makes you stand out among other applicants in the labor market by showing that you have hands-on problem solving experience.

Character Building Experiences VISTA Fellows face the challenges of creating a safer, cleaner environment, improving educational support systems and fostering a positive self-image in at-risk youth. The experiences they have during their term of service build a life-long commitment to civic responsibilities.

Gaining Lasting Friendships Working side by side with other VISTAs and community volunteers provides an opportunity to form lasting relationships with others who share a passion for community service.

Making a Lasting Impact on the Community For more than 40 years, VISTA members have been developing and implementing programs that are the backbone of strong communities. By taking an active role in helping others, they demonstrate the spirit of community service that makes our nation great.

Having Fun! VISTAs work hard, but they also have fun meeting new people and experiencing new challenges!

2011-2012 VISTA positions at Shippensburg University

STAR Mentoring Program
The Community Fellow to STAR will mentor 5th grade students on issues ranging from self-esteem and bullying to future career choices. The Fellow will participate in weekly lunch and recess periods, help coordinate other mentors and assist in the planning of a year-end student service project.

Franklin County Literacy Council LIU12 (FCLC)
The Community Fellow to the FCLC will work to promote adult literacy through tutoring GED and ESL students, and recruiting Shippensburg University students to serve as tutors for the FCLC.

The Boys and Girls Club of Chambersburg and Shippensburg
Community Fellows (two positions are available at this location) to The Boys and Girls Club of Shippensburg and Chambersburg will help with afterschool programs which include recreational and educational activities, and homework support for students. The Fellows will also work to promote the Club’s services through the development of promotional materials, capacity building programs and organizational activities.

Shippensburg School District Sports Mentor
This Community Fellow position includes mentoring at-risk high school students through participation in sports practices and activities. As a mentor, the Community Fellow will work to improve team-work, self-esteem and leadership-building skills among the team members. The Fellow will also help students search for colleges and assist with the application and financial aid process.

Big Ship Little Ship
The Community Fellow to Big Ship Little Ship is responsible for mentoring and providing homework assistance to at-risk elementary students in grades 3-5. The Fellow will also help to coordinate and recruit additional mentors.

Social Work Department Service Learning Coordinator
This Community Fellow will work with Social Work majors on campus to develop service-learning projects that focus on improving current tutoring and mentoring programs for K-12 students.

Shippensburg High School Guidance Office
The Community Fellow to Shippensburg High School Guidance Office will be responsible for assisting guidance office staff in updating college and scholarship information, completing organizational tasks and updating the guidance webpage. The Fellow will also be responsible for helping students search for scholarships and complete the application process.

Grace B. Luhrs Elementary School Environmental Education Program
This Community Fellow will work with the Shippensburg University Geography Earth Science Department to further develop their environmental education program at the Elementary School. The Fellow will be responsible for creating environmental education lessons, working with students in the school’s community garden and supervising the composting program.

Academic Success Program
The Academic Success Program Community Fellow position includes providing academic support and helping create service-learning projects for at-risk Shippensburg University students who are enrolled in the Academic Success Program.

Head Start
The Community Fellow to Head Start will participate in the operation of regularly scheduled activities and assist with the development of new projects at a local Head Start program.

For more information or to apply, contact:

Dr. Laurie Cella
Director of First-Year Writing
Phone: 717-477-1204
Office: Dauphin Humanities Center 005