To kickoff AmeriCorps Week on the right foot, CNS organized a small event to gather VISTA Alums in the area. At this event, I interacted with VISTA Alums who served from 60s to present. Theme of the night revolved around sharing one’s VISTA experience. Alums who shared their stories came from diverse background and all have accomplished very interesting things. Different decades had different themes related to them. For example – VISTAs who served in 1960s and 1970s were trained to be community organizers based on Saul Alinksy’s principles and their stories really portrayed the only rules they abided by as radicals. There was only a single person to represent the 80s who dedicated his efforts to fight homelessness - an issue very relevant in our present day communities. VISTAs who served during the 1990s – 2000s had similar experiences to ours.


Even though the projects they all worked on were very different there was a recurring theme of the impact VISTA had on them. For the 60s and 70s generation VISTA allowed them to define themselves and create their own identity, allowing them to introduce a new set of values. The 80s, 90s, 2000s said that VISTA allowed them to be the vehicle of change. VISTA as a vehicle of change allowed them to represent their ideals, empowering them to actively make a difference their communities. All VISTA Alums believed that after their year of service they really felt empowered to go out and accomplish anything they set their minds to. Even though they all considered their projects and the change in the community as their legacy, I think collectively speaking I would like to point out that the true legacy of AmeriCorps VISTA is VISTAs. These alums are all still were active in their communities and fighting poverty in their ways and to me that is a great achievement.


On that note, I would like ask all the NeighborWorks VISTAs to participate in the discussion below by listing your response to this question: How has your VISTA service impacted you? 


**We really encourage everyone to post something since even reading these responses really make you appreciate your service year and help overlook the daily struggles that we go through. Thank you**