New VISTA Members will impact thousands in high poverty communities throughout the United States
By Rachel Goldman Alper, Director of Strategic Alliances
The Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed) will expand its AmeriCorps VISTA project from its California focus to include five underserved communities throughout the United States. Ten new VISTA members and a VISTA leader will begin their work in July 2014. The Maker VISTA members will work year round to reduce poverty by inspiring low-income students through maker programs that engage them in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as, the arts and learning as a whole.
“I am thrilled to welcome our next set of VISTAs into the Maker Ed family. By building the capacity of maker organizations in low-income communities, VISTAs increase opportunities for all youth to reach their full potential,” shares Dr. Lisa Regalla, Maker Ed’s Interim Executive Director. “The documentation collected from this partnership will contribute to effective models that can be replicated in other communities for years to come.”
In August 2013, Maker Ed developed a new partnership with AmeriCorps VISTA in response to President Obama’s announcement at the 2013 White House Science Fair. The Maker VISTA Project is developing thriving Maker Hubs within high poverty communities. The Maker AmeriCorps VISTAs will help expand Maker Ed’s capacity by creating community-school partnerships, recruiting volunteers, and assisting with fundraising efforts.
Maker Ed began this project with five locations in California in November 2013. “The Maker Ed California VISTA members have been working hard within communities throughout California and are being accepted and recognized as ambassadors of change by these communities,” says Maker Ed VISTA Leader Jeremy Mitchell. “Although our VISTA members started just a few months ago, their efforts have already begun to materialize in the form of professional development for educators, increased volunteer presence and involvement within communities, and the community wide events such as the Fresno Mini Maker Faire.”
This work will now be expanded to include five new sites throughout the United States. The five sites for the July National Maker VISTA team are: 5e Gallery, Detroit, MI; Assemble, Pittsburgh, PA; Digital Harbor Foundation, Baltimore, MD; MIAMade, Miami, FL; and SASTEMIC, San Antonio, TX.
Maker Ed is currently recruiting for all 10 National VISTA members and a VISTA leader, who will be based in Maker Ed’s headquarters in Oakland, CA to support the work of the members. For examples of the work of our current Maker VISTA members, please check out our blog. For more information and to apply, please visit our Maker VISTA page.
About AmeriCorps VISTA
AmeriCorps VISTA is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. With passion, commitment, and hard work, AmeriCorps VISTA members create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. For more information, visit NationalService.gov.