While in service with our Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA program, you will receive ongoing professional leadership and community development training in addition to learning more about underserved populations in America. There are a series of workshops throughout the year where you will get to know your fellow CCMA VISTA members, and we are always here for your questions. Below is a collection of resources for common questions that service with AmeriCorps VISTA raises.
CCMA VISTA Member Resources
STEP ONE: Browse through the open AmeriCorps VISTA positions available through CCMA on our Open Positions page. Find the ones that you are most interested in.
STEP TWO: Submit your application to one of our CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA positions via the My AmeriCorps portal. You will have to create a My AmeriCorps account if you do not already have one.
STEP THREE: Interviewing process – Your application is reviewed by the project. If you seem to be a good candidate, the project’s site supervisor will contact you and request additional information such as a resume and cover letter. They will then request an in-person or phone interview with you. If the project site wants you to join their team, then a CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA Leader will contact you for a phone screening to get additional information and answer any questions you may have at that point.
STEP FOUR: You’re Selected – The project offers you the position. You must now accept the offer by logging in to your My AmeriCorps profile and accept the position.
STEP FIVE: Pending State Office Approval – You have accepted the position and a VISTA Program Officer is making a final review.
STEP SIX: The Approval – The final review has been completed and you have been approved for service. Congratulations!
STEP SEVEN: Assigned –You’re on your way to starting service. The next step is getting ready for your first day of service. Be mindful that two-three weeks before you start service, CNCS will email you with important documents to complete before your first day. On your first day of service you will begin your Virtual Member Orientation (VMO).
How long is my VISTA service?
VISTA members serve for one year (12 months). Members can (and often do!) sign on for an additional year(s) of service, up to three VISTA terms.
What is capacity building? How is is different from direct service?
VISTA builds upon the ability of sponsor organizations to fight poverty through education. Rather than providing services directly to low-income individuals and communities, VISTAs strengthen and support organizations by building infrastructure, expanding community partnerships, and securing long-term resources.
Capacity building is a term used to describe the process by which VISTAs work with staff and communities to create, expand, or strengthen the systems and processes that help an organization carry out its anti-poverty work. These tasks and activities can include recruiting volunteers, developing databases, and establishing parternships in the community.
Direct service refers to activities that immediately address an individual’s needs (i.e.tutoring, delivering a meal, managing a group of volunteers).
While someone performing direct service might tutor middle school students in math, a VISTA performing indirect service might recruit tutors or develop a relationship between the middle school and a college to make the program happen.
When does the year of service start?
The 2019-2020 CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA program will begin mid-summer 2019.
What are the benefits of serving as a CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA?
CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a living allowance that is paid out bi-weekly by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). VISTAs are also eligible for student loan forbearance for qualified federally backed loans, health coverage (click here for more info), a relocation allowance (if moving more than 50 miles), as well as a $6,095 Educational Award or $1,500 cash stipend upon completion of service. Use the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award site to learn more about the education award, form a strategy on how to use it, and discover other post-service opportunities related to school and student loans.
For more information regarding benefits, click here.
Can I get a part time job on the side?
Yes, you can hold part time employment as long as it does not interfere with your VISTA work and is not directly affiliated with your partnership. To learn more about the policy, click here.
Can I be a student while I am serving as a VISTA?
In order to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA you must have the equivalent of a degree from a two or four-year institution. As with our Outside Employment Policy, VISTAs can be in school part-time as long as it does not interfere with their VISTA work.
I am moving from out of state and have never been to the city where I will be working. What do I do?
CCMA VISTA has plenty of resources to help new members adjust to living in Maryland, Delaware, and DC. We can provide you resources around finding affordable housing and accessing public resources in your state. We also have an extensive alumni network that loves to welcome new VISTAs to the neighborhood, and can connect you with other incoming CCMA VISTA members if you are looking for roommates. Talk to the VISTA Leaders to find out more about these options.
Will I need a car during my year of service?
The necessity of a car is dictated by the level of public transportation in the area and your ability to access your host site and community partner effectively.
What social services am I eligible for during my year of service?
You can find out if you are eligible for a variety of services, depending on what State or district you serve in.
Food Stamps (EBT/SNAP)
- Maryland – Follow the link, click the “Am I Eligible for Benefits?” quick link to see if you qualify. Continue to complete the online application.
- Delaware – To apply for the Delaware Food Supplement Program, contact the state unit nearest you. You can find a list of state unit offices on the Delaware Health and Social Services website.
- Washington, DC
- Follow the link, click on the “Use this calculator” link to find out if you are eligible for SNAP benefits.
- Download the application in the language that best works for you. The form can either be printed and filled out by hand, or filled out on the computer and then printed.
- Locate the service center nearest you, and either deliver the form via mail or by hand.
- Regardless of Maryland or DC, you will be assigned a case worker from the DHS office in your county, or nearest you, and need to have an interview with them either by phone or in person (depending on how it is done in your county). There are a handful of documents you should prepare ahead of time to either bring with you to the interview, or fax/mail once you are given a number/address.
- Go to your my.americorps portal, under the “My Service Letter” section, select your current term of service, and generate the “VISTA Currently Serving Certification” letter and the “VISTA Public Benefits Disregard” letter. These letters verify that you are currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and that while you are receiving a small living stipend, this is not considered income.
- Also in your my.americorps portal, under the “My Living Allowance” section, go to “View previous Earning Statement,” and print your most recent living allowance statement as proof of the low wages you are receiving.
- Finally, you will need to provide proof of any housing bills you are responsible for (rent, power, water, gas, oil, trash, etc.). If you are renting, a copy of your lease and recent bills will probably suffice. This is of course different in each county, discuss with your caseworker what specifically they will need.
I still want more information on this program - where can I learn more?
For more information about:
Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic – Visit our “Who We Are” section to find out more about our organization and mission.
AmeriCorps – Main information page about AmeriCorps and national service
AmeriCorps VISTA – Main information page for AmeriCorps VISTA
VISTA Campus – An online learning environment for the VISTA community
VISTA Member Handbook – This handbook provides information on administrative policies, benefits, health care support, and other terms and conditions of service.