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What is a VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty. President John F. Kennedy originated the idea for VISTA, which was founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.

Since 1965, over 220,000 AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program have joined the fight against poverty by helping local organizations expand their capacity to make change. The VISTA program serves in each of the 50 U.S. states and in all U.S. territories.

Through capacity building activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program serve in an office setting and gain experience and leadership skills. This opportunity prepares members for a life of service in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.

Apply and join thousands of AmeriCorps members in the AmeriCorps VISTA program who are united in our mission to lift people and communities out of poverty.

In 2017, CEMA had our very first VISTA, Eric Parks, to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. This VISTA position has transformed and is now focused on building a more disaster resilient community. Please see portions of the job description below: 

  • The Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA), located in Savannah, Georgia, is seeking a dynamic individual who has an interest in disaster recovery, response, preparedness and faith-based organizations. The Disaster Preparedness VISTA in Community and Faith-Based Outreach is a unique position with a blend of public speaking, relationship building and design. Primary responsibilities will include building capacity for disaster response partnerships, recruiting and training volunteers, coordinating community outreach presentations, disseminating vital information on preparedness, social media monitoring and assisting CEMA’s Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator in the management of Chatham County’s Disaster Faith Network.
  • We are looking for a candidate that is able to communicate thoroughly, and with self-confidence, a broad range of information from weather preparedness to sheltering best practices. Applicants should feel comfortable with technology, speaking in public and working with Chatham County residents of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. Preference will be given to candidates with a background in faith-based outreach and public speaking experience.
  • This VISTA will have the opportunity to join the largest and one of the most innovative emergency management programs in the state of Georgia and work with experts in the field of disaster recovery, donations management, volunteer response and more.
  • Primary responsibilities for this position include:
    • Coordination and dissemination of disaster preparedness and response information throughout the community.
    • Attend neighborhood meetings, school programs and other outreach events to distribute materials and train community members on preparedness. This may be in either a virtual or in-person setting throughout the COVID pandemic.
    • Developing, updating, designing, printing and organizing preparedness materials and giveaway items.
    • Assist in the continued development of Chatham County’s Disaster Faith Network (CCDFN). CCDFN is a coalition of Faith-Based organizations within Chatham County established to meet the immediate and long-term needs of the community when affected by a disaster.
    • Support the expansion of the County’s emergency sheltering needs and emergency feeding needs of the community following an emergency or disaster event by building capacity within the faith-based community.
    • Assist Houses of Worship and Faith-Based Organizations in identifying and seeking grant opportunities from the Nonprofit Security Grant Program as well as other grant programs.