In 2016, the Academy partnered with AmeriCorps VISTAs (Volunteer in Service to America) in New York City and Upstate. AmeriCorps is a program that is supported by the federal government and engages adults to work in public service to assist in meeting the goals of communities. The program was founded in 1965 to serve as a domestic version of Peace Corps. Under the umbrella of this federal program two initiatives are managed nationally: AmeriCorps and AmericaCorps VISTA. VISTAs take an oath to complete a year of service. During this time, members work full time with organizations and public agencies to provide support and to help expand programs that build capacity, combat poverty and empower individuals and communities.
VISTAs work with more than 8,000 members annually and serve at more than 3,000 locations nationwide. Since 1965, more than 200,000 members have taken part in this program. The Academy is proud to be working with an organization with such a rich history that complements our own.
This year we are excited to welcome six VISTA members to our organization. VISTAs work with the Academy's current Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program in NYC to build the capacity we have to serve additional sites. In addition, the VISTAs will work on the Scientists in Residence program to integrate computer science into classrooms in NYC, Syracuse, and Utica. Through these efforts the VISTAs will be working with a wide variety of community based organizations to improve STEM education with underserved youth locally and Upstate. This is the first year of a multi-year effort in conjunction with AmeriCorps’ goal of increasing VISTAs in NYC.
The inaugural VISTA class is: Shawn Walton, Tanya Khan, Kirthi Shanmugam, Oleksandr Orak, Cooper Sheldon and Erin Barta. Their experience ranges from ecology to biochemistry to political science. Their presence has been a great addition to the Academy! If people are considering AmeriCorps for the future the Academy will begin accepting applications in June of 2017.