The Byrds, Temptations, Lovin’ Spoonful and VISTA

A VISTA Campus web site has been launched to serve as a learning resource for VISTAs and supervisors. One of my favorite sections is an alumni page that includes audio files from many of the “Voices of VISTA” radio programs that aired during the 1960s. Musical performers who perform VISTA public service announcements include Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, and Peggy Lee. Leonard Nimoy also did a Voices of VISTA spot, but for whatever reason it’s not included here.

When you click the link, log on as a guest to check out these sound files. You can also check out other sections of the campus.

Service Nation Summit

A campaign for service

Want to keep up with the latest Service Nation news? Follow Service Nation news through BetheChangeInc on Twitter!

On September 11 and 12, 500 leaders from public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors will come together in New York City to call on the next president of the United States to “enact a new era of voluntary service and civic engagement in America, an era in which all Americans will work together to solve our greatest and most persistent societal challenges.”

Senators Barack Obama and John McCain (presidential nominees of the two major parties) have both now confirmed that they will speak at the Service Nation Summit.

And you can watch it live (Thursday, 8 pm EDT) on CNN!

Other speakers at the two-day event will include First Lady Laura Bush (invited), Senator Hillary Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The aim of the summit will be to lay out a policy blue print for solving tough social problems through expanding citizen service. Read the TIME magazine article from this summer by TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel.

The Service Nation campaign is a coalition of over 110 organizations (including that has been organized by Be the Change Inc. and founded by City Year‘s founder Alan Khazei. The initiative will come to a service project near you on September 27 with over 1000 events in communities across the country on the Service Nation Day of Action. Learn more and to find out how you can get involved with the Service Nation campaign in your community. Read more on The Page blog by Mark Halperin.


Do you have questions to ask of Senators McCain or Obama about national service?

At the Service Nation Summit Presidential Candidates’s Forum Sept. 11, facilitators will ask questions submitted on the Service Nation web site.

Also, check out the Service Nation page on Facebook.

A VISTA perk

Not only is VISTA service a great way to serve a year (or two or three) and get an award to help pay for school or repay student loans, it can also give alumni an advantage when applying for federal jobs.

Upon the completion of service, VISTAs receive a year of non-competitive eligibility for federal jobs. What this means is you can apply for federal jobs that are not open to the general public. (NOTE: This benefit only applies to VISTA and Peace Corps.)

This benefit doesn’t guarantee you a federal job, but as long as your qualified and there is an opening, you have a better shot at getting hired than someone who never served.

Here’s some additional info from

To establish your non-competitive status, you will need proof of eligibility. Once you have completed service, log onto the My AmeriCorps portal to print an AmeriCorps*VISTA certification letter. Visit to register at the My AmeriCorps portal. Click the “My Service Letter” link to create and print your letter. If your letter is incorrect or the portal cannot locate your record, please contact the VISTA Member Support Unit at

Submit copies of this statement with your federal job applications. Information on federal positions can be obtained from USAJOBS, the federal government’s one-stop source for federal jobs and employment information. USAJOBS is accessible at

Service alumni needed to blog about grad school

Bloggers Needed for
School seekers and students write about grad school

Tomorrow’s civic leaders learn about grad school through Idealist’s events and resources.

Soon they can learn from each other.

In fall 2008, Idealist will link its Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center to bloggers who take on grad school.

The resource center is a collection of articles and advice about researching and choosing schools, applying and financing a degree, and more. The resource center will not host the new blogs, but link to blogs elsewhere on the web.

Types of bloggers we are looking for
We aim to look at grad school from 9 different lenses

Current or prospective…
1. Participant in a term-of-service program (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Teach For America, etc.) who is taking advantage of an educational benefit associated with service2. International student pursuing a graduate degree in the United States who is a resident of the United States and intends to stay (immigrant)
3. International student pursuing a graduate degree in the United States who is a nonresident/alien who plans to leave the United States upon graduation (F1 Visa)
4. U.S. citizen pursuing a degree outside the United States
5. Grad student enrolled in a joint degree program
6. Part-time grad student working full-time
7. Doctoral Candidate
8. Undergraduate applying to grad school, with the aim of enrolling the fall after college graduation
9. Masters degree candidate

To learn more, go to!

Eight Years Out: the Public Impact of AmeriCorps Service

An Careers Podcast conversation with CNCS’s Bob Grimm

Solid evidence now exists to show that participating in a term of service program (like AmeriCorps, Teach For America, and Peace Corps) really is an effective launching-off point for a public service career.  Idealist has long held this belief, and has been formalizing its support of these programs since 2007.

Earlier this year the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) published an eight-year longitudinal study of people who participated in AmeriCorps programs in 1999-2000, as well as of people who considered participating but chose not to during the same year. It turns out that two-thirds of AmeriCorps alumni (including AmeriCorps*NCCC alumni) from that year are currently engaged in nonprofit or government careers — outnumbering the group who didn’t participate in AmeriCorps.
Click here to download. (0:30:27)

Today’s guest is Bob Grimm, Director of Research and Policy Development & Senior Counselor to the CEO at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in Washington, DC. He speaks with’s Amy Potthast about the study design and outcomes, and about some of the people who have served in AmeriCorps.

Are you a service corps alumni now engaged in a public service career? What do you do? Where do you work? We’d love to hear more!