The MTCC VISTA Project represents MTCC's innovative approach of addressing education-related issues through the resources of higher education institutions. MTCC utilizes a 6-stage community building lifecycle for its VISTA project, which engages students and community members in needs assessment, strategic planning, implementation, and evaluation. AmeriCorps VISTA members serving with MTCC projects are placed in full-time service positions for one year in communities across Montana. All MTCC VISTAs receive a living allowance, health care coverage, and may choose an AmeriCorps Education Award or cash stipend upon completion of their term of service. Members relocating to serve may also receive reimbursement of relocation expenses for travel and shipping costs. AmeriCorps Education Awards can be applied toward tuition or to pay down existing college loans. MTCC VISTAs may receive graduate credit for their service through the overty problems through strategic campus-community partnerships. The program offers campuses, schools and organizations the opportunity to build sustainable infrastructure to alleviate poverty by leveraging the ALIVE program offered through The University of Montana’s Office for Civic Engagement. Because the service term with AmeriCorps is full-time, VISTAs cannot be current students (except through ALIVE) or hold other employment.
What types of service activities do MTCC VISTAs perform?
- Creating an adult literacy awareness campaign and recruit volunteer tutors;
- Setting up affordable afterschool programs;
- Developing a recruitment campaign for college students to serve with the project/program;
- Expanding programs to help low-income families navigate college application/enrollment;
- Developing a mentor program for students identified as at-risk of dropping out; and
- Developing systems for organizing job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.