Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1965 as a national service program designed to fight poverty in America. In 1993, it was incorporated officially into AmeriCorps. There are more than 6,000 VISTAs serving across the United States of America. Members of VISTA make a year-long commitment to serve in capacity-building positions of various non-profit organizations. Instead of performing direct service with the organization, members work to build capacity for the organization in terms of resource development, volunteer recruitment, and building sustainability.

Iowa Campus Compact is a coalition of Iowa colleges and universities. The Drake/Dress for Success Des Moines VISTA comes through Iowa Campus Compact. There are currently 12 VISTAs in the state of Iowa that serve with various colleges and universities across the state through Iowa Campus Compact. 2013 is Drake’s first year having an AmeriCorps VISTA, and it is a unique position in serving with both the university and a non-profit entity.

The current VISTA splits her time between Dress for Success Des Moines and Drake University, working on resource development, volunteer recruitment and coordinating, sustainability, event planning, and staff coordination. Feel free to contact her with any questions about the VISTA program or her position at Drake at

The AmeriCorps VISTA position offers a variety of benefits to its members. Those serving as a VISTA receive a living stipend, can choose to accept basic health insurance, and qualify for a $5500 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award at the conclusion of service, as well as gaining valuable experience in the non-profit field. The education award can be used on outstanding loan debt or to be put towards further education. Recipients have seven years to use their award. Members can also opt to receive a cash stipend in lieu of the education award. Many Iowa Campus Compact positions provide housing and a meal plan, in addition to the other benefits.