PSO stands for Pre-Service Orientation

Refer to VISTA Member Handbook: Chapter 4: Training & Technical Assistance


PSO serves as your learning process about AmeriCorps VISTA. It is typically a four-day event in which you begin to assume your role as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the community and on the project you are assigned.

Pre-Service Orientation is conducted by Corporation staff, assisted by project sponsoring organizations and supervisors and professional training consultants. Current and former AmeriCorps VISTA members frequently attend. The orientation is generally conducted on a geographic basis, with candidates from several states participating.

All AmeriCorps VISTA candidates are required to attend Pre-Service Orientation before they begin service. On rare occasions, the Corporation State Office may defer attendance at Pre-Service Orientation for good cause. If a member is granted a deferment, the state office will provide the member with an overview of the terms of service and arrange for the member to attend the next available Pre-Service Orientation or receive an alternative Pre-Service Orientation. The learning objectives of Pre-Service Orientation include a basic knowledge and understanding of the following:

•Mission and structure of the Corporation for National and Community Service
•Philosophy and goals of AmeriCorps and the AmeriCorps VISTA program
•AmeriCorps VISTA legal and administrative requirements
•Role of the Corporation State Office
•Role of the sponsoring organization, project work plan, and member assignment description
•Terms, conditions, and benefits of your AmeriCorps VISTA service
•Your equal opportunity and civil rights and responsibilities as an AmeriCorps VISTA member
•Your role in working with community organizations and low-income persons
•Your role as a developer of sustainable efforts
•Community development, networking, and problem-solving

You are expected to attend all program sessions and to act in a professional manner at all times. Failure to attend program sessions and/or acting inappropriately, as determined by Corporation staff, may result in deselection from the AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Corporation staff uses Pre-Service Orientation to make the final decision on a potential member's qualifications for AmeriCorps VISTA service. If you are deemed suitable for AmeriCorps VISTA service, you will take the oath of service and be enrolled in the AmeriCorps VISTA program. If you are not deemed suitable, you will leave Pre-Service Orientation, be deselected, and not be enrolled in the AmeriCorps VISTA program.