Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution honoring the work of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), for its 45 years of work towards alleviating poverty, and other accomplishments.
Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-VA) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced the resolution (S.Res.449), and were joined by several co-sponsors. Rockefeller first lived in West Virginia as a VISTA, when he was 27 years old.
The resolution recognizes the more than 175,000 VISTAs who have served since 1965, and their creation of “many successful and sustainable community initiatives, including Head Start centers, credit unions, and neighborhood watch groups.” The resolution honors VISTAs’s work on diverse poverty-related issues such as health care, technology, crime/recidivism, housing, and literacy. The resolution also highlights these numbers:
- 7,000 VISTAs serve each year
- Annually, VISTAs bring in $100 million in cash and in-kind donations to their organizations
- Also each year, VISTAs recruit 1 million volunteers who engage in 10 million hours of volunteer service.
Read the entire Senate resolution here. Oddly, the House introduced a similar bill (H.RES.1152) last week, but it wasn’t passed; instead it’s been referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor.
According to a statement today from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which operates VISTA, the resolution marks the official kick off of VISTA’s 45th anniversary celebration — a series of events and celebrations that will take place this year.
Celebrations will include a photography exhibit of VISTA photography from 1968, an effort to collect and share stories of VISTAs, and I’ll be launching a podcast episode featuring three VISTAs who’ve served across the decades during AmeriCorps Week in May.
Are you a VISTA or former VISTA? How will you commemorate the 45th anniversary of the organization?