Following are AmeriCorps Host Sites and a short summery of the tasks and positions available at each location. If you’re interested learning more, or in applying, click here to learn more.
VISTA Host Sites
The mission of Accelerate Montana is to help Montana businesses increase their success from those in the idea stage all the way to those looking for global expansion. The organizations that comprise Accelerate Montana serve all stages of business, from startups to established businesses, and link to opportunities both within Montana and outside U.S. borders. Accelerate Montana organizations collectively reach approximately 700 business and entrepreneurs each year helping to bring tens of millions of dollars in investment capital, grant, and contracts to the state of Montana.
The goal of the project is to develop economic opportunities for underrepresented high school and college students, specifically native americans and women, to gain interest in business ownership and increase entrepreneurship. 15.4% of Montanans live at or below poverty, compared to 14.8% nationwide. This project will reduce poverty throughout Western Montana by delivering entrepreneurial programs, writing grants, and providing outreach to underserved, low-income populations on campus, in rural communities, and on reservations. Click here to learn more.
The mission of the LGBTQ Center is to enhance and sustain the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community by providing activities, programs and services that empower our community to embrace and support our cultural diversity. Providing a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex (LGBTQI) youth to succeed is an imminent community need identified in the Converge project. While it is important to build a safe environment for all youth, whether or not they are LGBTQI, all youth can thrive when they feel supported. Vista leaders help schools develop a Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) to create Welcoming Schools to assist LGBTQI 8th grade youth to transition into high school as well as high school seniors transition to work/and or post-secondary education. Click here to learn more.
Greater Gallatin United Way’s (GGUW) mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. This is accomplished by identifying needs, forming innovative partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, securing resources, and inspiring individuals to join the fight against the communities’ most daunting challenges. GGUW envisions local communities where all individuals and families achieve their full potential through education, income stability, and healthy living. Laurie Berg, the current VISTA member, uses and/or develops the following skills for this project: research and literature reviews; needs assessment/program assessment/data collection; data analysis; policy and procedures development; marketing and communications; grant writing; volunteer engagement; events planning; meeting facilitation; interviews; coalition-building; financial/sustainability planning; business management; through an understanding of quality child care best practices including Trauma-Sensitivity; and implementation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion best practices. Click here to learn more.
Greater Gallatin United Way’s (GGUW) mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. We accomplish this mission by identifying priority needs, forming innovative partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, securing resources, and inspiring individuals to join the fight against our communities’ most daunting challenges. GGUW envisions local communities where all individuals and families achieve their full potential through education, income stability, and healthy living. VISTA leaders enhance and expand efforts to improve the health and well being of people in the Gallatin community. Throughout its 40-year history, GGUW has focused on the three United Way pillars of education, financial stability, and health through a variety of important actions. Click here to learn more.
Home ReSource is a nonprofit community sustainability center in Missoula, Montana with a building materials reuse store & job training, education, and zero waste programs. Home ReSource works with, in, and for the community to reduce waste and build a more vibrant and sustainable local economy. We collect and sell reusable materials, channel materials to those in need, provide meaningful work opportunities, and educate and inspire to promote a sustainable future. Vision: We envision a just and vibrant world built on the principles of sustainability where the potential of people, community and materials is realized. The Home ReSource leaders conduct an assessment, design, build and implement a volunteer program that brings diverse members from the Missoula community into Home ReSource to gain work experience, develop vocational skills, learn about green industry jobs, and engage in meaningful, empowering, environmentally restorative, community-serving work. Click here to learn more.
Missoula College is a two-year college embedded within the University of Montana. It has been assigned the comprehensive community college mission of career-technical education, transfer education, community education, and developmental education. It provides affordable education and serves as an access point to higher education for all citizens. Community colleges typically serve higher ratios of students from lower-income backgrounds, first generation college students, military veterans, students of nontraditional age and students with nontraditional responsibilities (eg. parent students). Assist the Learning Center Director in organizing and training the Missoula College Student Advocate team; assist the Work-based Learning (WBL) Director in connecting Missoula College Career-Technical Education (CTE) students with internships, apprenticeships, and other WBL opportunities; Assist the Associate Dean in data collection and reporting for the Carl Perkins Career Technical Education (CTE) grant at Missoula College; and direct student communications at Missoula College using website, social networking, digital information, and print-based academic and career-based information.
This process brings the low income families and children together on site encouraging self-determination and teaching empowerment by example. Presentations teaching the Hundertwasser model would offer a template for the creative process that results in the end product: the community’s very own sustainability center. The community of children that will benefit from the resource in years to come is welcomed to participate actively and shape how that resource will look. The VISTA will be critical in putting together a plan for implementing this empowering, community-driven Youth Designing MUD program. Click here to learn more.
Free Verse teaches literature and creative writing in juvenile detention centers and facilities across the state of Montana. Our mission is to empower youth incarcerated across Montana to gain agency over their own narrative and discover their capacity for creativity, empathy, and engagement in the classroom through lessons in literature and creative writing. It was founded in 2014, and in 2016 it became fiscally sponsored by the Missoula Writing Collaborative. The Missoula Writing Collaborative teaches literary competence, critical thinking, cultural awareness, and artistic joy through creative writing. It places writers in school classrooms, after-school programs, youth homes and other venues to show young people the power of words and help them find their voices as writers. Click here to learn more.
MTDA is specifically designed to provide unique online educational opportunities to Montana students and schools. MTDA puts no limits on learning. Students can access their classes whenever and wherever they want, eliminating schedule conflicts, and expanding academic options, while helping many students to graduate on time. Leaders help to build an infrastructure for identifying students in our program that come from low-income families or are attending schools in low-income communities to ultimately provide more direct services to those identified students to increase their success rate. Click here to learn more.
The Kids Co-op is one of the first partners in the SKC Tech4Good Food Sovereignty project. Jason Moore, President of Montana Co-op, has been working very closely with Dr. Richter, Director of Media Arts at SKC on several food sovereignty and community building projects including a new event calendar, food sovereignty board game curriculum, collective impact, and other media outlets. The Kids Co-op collaborates with the Orton Family Foundation, the creator of the Heart & Soul program, to support a comprehensive outreach to discover the shared values and needs existing in the community. Then work with the local leaders and volunteers to fill the needs and values identified. We have a proven system for empowering with fun exercises, and providing the healthiest food possible via the Kids Co-op Markets (i.e. vegetables picked and served the same day), and a marketing and distribution plan that involves our future generations. Rural Montana small towns are gradually depleting, leaving elders in small towns with no food access and a distressed community. The Kids Co-op Kitchen/mobile food cart provides home cooked meals using local grown food and a nutritious selection of food received from Tribal Commodities and MT Food Bank Network. Click here to learn more.
Montana Veterans are intensely affected by gaps and barriers to direct legal assistance, according to a study on legal assistance commissioned by the Montana Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission. Barriers to legal assistance included the cost of legal services for low income Veterans; the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD, both of which have symptoms that increase the need for legal services while discouraging Veterans from seeking that assistance; and the VA system’s complexity and delays, which discourage veterans who may be entitled to VA benefits and services based on their military service. The Veterans Advocacy Clinic provides pro bono legal services to Montana Veterans and their families. The Clinic prioritizes cases that Montana Veterans Service Officers and private attorneys are unlikely to accept due to their complexity or the client’s lack of income. Professor Hillary Wandler, the VAC’s supervising attorney, works with a small group of students to assist Veterans with VA disability compensation claims and appeals, as well as legal issues related to veterans’ character of discharge. While training a new generation of attorneys to effectively advocate for Montana Veterans, the Clinic helps fill the gap in legal services available to Montana Veterans. Click here to learn more.
The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) is the central administrative unit of the Montana University System and the Board of Regents. The Commissioner of Higher Education, and his staff, are responsible for providing quality and timely service to the Board of Regents, government entities including the executive and legislative branches, the public and the media, students and staff, and others in the education community when they request information or assistance. The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is committed to most effectively using our resources to make higher education accessible and affordable so that Montana’s graduates have relevant and fulfilling credentials that help them contribute to the well-being and vibrancy of our workforce, our economy, and our communities. Click here to learn more.
The UM Food Pantry addresses the community need for free/affordable food, and subsequently free/affordable housing, as food and housing insecure students often face the dilemma of buying food or paying rent instead. The rate of food insecurity among college students has been significantly increasing over the years. The pantry will help reduce the barrier of food insecurity to students by providing them free food. It will also be an easily accessible resource for students, especially those who live on campus and have difficulty going to and coming from other food banks. VISTA Leaders will build capacity to sustain the pantry by managing relationships with stakeholders in the community, as well as developing systems to improve fundraising efforts, track inventory, coordinate volunteers and practicum students, and connect clients to additional resources.
The University of Montana Western Foundation exists to inspire generosity and connect donors with their passions in order to promote access and excellence in higher education at the University of Montana Western. The University of Montana Western has partnered with K12 and post-secondary education programs on the Blackfeet Nation for the past three years. These projects serve a variety of education related priorities, including the pre-service certification of Indigenous educators to teach Indigenous children. Vista Leaders develop informational and promotional media to be used in communicating current and future work with potential donors. In addition, the individual selected will learn to write effective funding proposals and grants to support project objectives. Finally, the VISTA member will work with relevant campus organizations, including the Native American club to advance understanding of Indigenous culture and support the success of Native American students who attend UM Western. Click here to learn more.
The Veterans Advocacy Clinic addresses and serves veterans affected by gaps and barriers to direct legal assistance. Barriers to legal assistance included the cost of legal services for low income Veterans; the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD, both of which have symptoms that increase the need for legal services while discouraging Veterans from seeking that assistance; and the VA system’s complexity and delays, which discourage veterans who may be entitled to VA benefits and services based on their military service. The Veterans Advocacy Clinic provides pro bono legal services to Montana Veterans and their families. The Clinic prioritizes cases that Montana Veterans Service Officers and private attorneys are unlikely to accept due to their complexity or the client’s lack of income. Professor Hillary Wandler, the VAC’s supervising attorney, works with a small group of students to assist Veterans with VA disability compensation claims and appeals, as well as legal issues related to veterans’ character of discharge. Click here to learn more.