The Initiative Foundation announced the selection of 23 Volunteer in Service to America members to work with local nonprofit agencies to fight poverty in central Minnesota, including four projects in the Brainerd area.
The foundation coordinates the program through AmeriCorps VISTA, in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service.
In the Brainerd area, VISTAs will work with Central Lakes College Upward Bound to develop a student-mentoring program; Bridges of Hope to set up a local thrift store; the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance to raise awareness and streamline solar installations; and the Lakes Area Restorative Justice program to establish a collaborative Youth Wellness Task Force.
Other area VISTA projects include conversion of a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp in northern Cass County for use as a life-skills academy for youths and young adults; developing and coordinating financial literacy training and a car-repair program in five east-central Minnesota counties; creating more local opportunities for youth volunteers to alleviate hunger through Kids Against Hunger in Sauk Rapids, and working with Big Brothers Big Sisters in St. Cloud, Girl Scouts in northern Cass County, the Isanti County Commission on Aging in Cambridge and Mille Lacs Area Partners for Youth in Onamia.
VISTA members make a one-year commitment to work with eligible agencies that deliver services and programs to address poverty-related issues within communities. Their success can be seen in the numbers: last year, central Minnesota VISTAs assisted 43,544 households, recruited 1,172 new volunteers, logged 28,630 volunteer service hours and secured more than $345,000 in resources to alleviate poverty.
VISTA was founded in 1965 as part of the "War on Poverty" and is often referred to as the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps. As an AmeriCorps VISTA sponsoring organization, the Initiative Foundation places VISTA members with nonprofit organizations and agencies in its service area.
The current class of VISTA members will serve until August 2010. For more information on what VISTA can offer your nonprofit organization-or how you can volunteer as a VISTA member - contact Chris Fastner at (320) 631-2002 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Based in Little Falls and serving central Minnesota's 14 counties, the Initiative Foundation offers loans to businesses, grants to nonprofits and a variety of leadership programs that enable citizens to build stronger communities.
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