AmeriCorps VISTA Program
In 2010, Spirit of the Sun received a grant from The Corporation for National Service, allowing us to place 15-20 AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteers In Service To America) with partner tribes and Native American organizations. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for a one year term. The AmeriCorps VISTA program focuses exclusively on addressing poverty through building capacity within communities.
Spirit of the Sun’s VISTA program addresses three AmeriCorps’ focus areas — environmental stewardship, economic opportunity and healthy futures — and serves both Native and Indigenous youth and elders, always encouraging inter-generational collaboration.
AmeriCorps VISTAs perform many different duties, depending on the initiatives of their work site, and tasks can include:
Grant Writing and Research
Volunteer Recruitment and Coordination
Community Needs Assessments
Fundraising and Donor Management
Program Planning and Development
Technological Development and Social Media Outreach
Education and Training Assistance
This year in 2018 Spirit of the Sun has also helped to create 20 capacity building VISTA positions, while also supporting and recruiting direct service summer associate VISTA positions for Native led nonprofits and tribal organizations nationally.
Our 2018 Summer Associates served in Herbal Gardens Wellness, Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute. The projects the associates are currently taking on for the summer include: sustainable off grid natural building, traditional seed preservation, food farming for elders, food sovereignty, and creating summer youth camps.
We also have VISTAs serving with organizations that emphasize youth development, particularly in the contexts of career preparation and health initiatives. Some of these VISTAs develop programs that allow youth to learn key skills through volunteer work within their own communities; others link youth with elders who act as mentors, role models, and sharers of cultural knowledge.
Spirit of the Sun VISTAs also focus on projects within AmeriCorps’ “Environmental Stewardship” focus area. These VISTAs serve at organizations to preserve, grow, and restore lands and parks across the country. This can take place through VISTAs working on important issues important issues, including energy and water efficiency, renewable energy use, at-risk ecosystems, pollution, recycling, water quality, and gardening.
Several Spirit of the Sun VISTAs have projects within AmeriCorps’ “Economic Opportunity” focus area. These VISTAs serve at organizations that provide economic development resources to their communities, such as financial literacy, affordable housing, and improved employability and employment. Some assist with partnership building and outreach, while others work in program and resource development.
Many of our VISTAs also serve within AmeriCorps’ “Healthy Futures” focus area, serving in communities that need support in improving access to care, increasing physical activity, increasing health education, addressing issues of food sovereignty and nutrition, or increasing seniors' ability to remain in their own homes.
Several of these VISTAs have helped to sustain and grow tribal community gardens that yield both fresh, healthy foods and opportunities for tribal members’ career and economic development. Many also fund-raise and write grants to grow and sustain these health projects.
Some VISTAs work primarily with Native American elders, helping enrich and expand the services available to seniors on reservations across the country. Elders play an important role in maintaining the health and preserving the culture of tribal communities, and the work our VISTAs do helps ensure that elders can remain active in community life.
Current VISTA Project Sites:
Past Summer Associate Programs in 2018:
Want to apply?
If you are interested in applying to one of our VISTA positions, please apply by creating an application on My.AmeriCorps.Gov and submitting it to one of our opportunity listings, which can be found by accessing the “Search Listings” page and entering “SOTS” into the Program Name search bar.
*Please note that Spirit of the Sun does not accept resumes or applications submitted via email.*