AmeriCorps positions at BC to benefit Harrisonburg community
AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to fight poverty. Authorized in 1964 and founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years.
The positions at Bridgewater – community development coordinator, community engagement coordinator and community relations coordinator – will work on the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Project, which targets the area north of West Market Street (U.S. 33), east of Main Street (U.S. 11) and south of Old Furnace Road.
The positions are funded by the federal government’s Corporation for National and Community Service and will report to Bridgewater College’s Center for Cultural Engagement.
Stephanie Wilson, director of the center, said the college is already partnering with four non-profit agencies serving the area – the Northeast Neighborhood Association, Our Community Place, New Community Project and Ruby Slippers Academy of the Winner’s Circle Foundation – and that the three AmeriCorps VISTA positions will work within those agencies to help them capitalize on existing community assets.
Wilson said the community development coordinator will work to improve the size and strength of the agencies by effectively mobilizing finances and volunteers, and by improving marketing strategies.
The community engagement coordinator will work through community engagement and service projects to reduce the racial, ethnic, and socio-economic and language barriers within the neighborhood “to form a more unified community,” she said.
And the community relations coordinator will be responsible for developing and strengthening experiential learning opportunities and engage Bridgewater students in meaningful educational experiences.
“I am convinced that educational institutions are gifts to the community and that communities are gifts to the educational institutions,” Wilson said. “The reciprocal relationship lends itself well to teachable moments in different experiences. The Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization AmeriCorps VISTA project will do just that by allowing teaching and learning to flow from both the college community and from community residents.”
For more information on the AmeriCorps VISTA positions at Bridgewater College, contact Wilson by telephone at (540) 828-5749 or (304) 703-3813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.