Beckley, WV | March 11, 2022 Stewards Individual Placements Program celebrates of 20 years of AmeriCorps VISTA programming, kicking off the celebration during AmeriCorps week, March 13-19, 2022.
In 2002, there was an idea that a small team of individuals could serve in Appalachia for a year to support rural mining communities. That idea created the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team—a group of AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteers committing a year of service in Appalachian Coal Country region. Seven VISTAs in seven different communities quickly grew to 20 VISTA volunteers in five years. Stewards Individual Placements now celebrates their 20th year of serving impoverished communities by building local capacity, promoting economic development, fostering environmental stewardship, conducting outreach and education, and providing professional development experiences. Supporting over 1,200 VISTA members since 2002 and growing from a regional program to a national VISTA placement program, Stewards Individual Placements is excited reflect on its accomplishments so far and look to the impact its members will make into the future. The Stewards Individual Placement VISTA program is one of the longest running VISTA programs in the country.
‘Twenty years of service in rural communities is a tremendous milestone to celebrate. Our dedicated VISTA Volunteers have secured $25 million dollars in grants that directly impact the communities they are serving; recruiting 100,802 volunteers logging 942,701 hours of service. Our members have improved over three million acres of land,’ states April Elkins-Badtke, Corps Director for Stewards Individual Placements. ‘As we acknowledge our service to communities through AmeriCorps VISTA placements, we celebrate the positive and everlasting changes in the local communities. The members who dedicated their service to these communities are the true heroes in the work and the reason I continue to do this work every day.’
Founded in 1965, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) is an anti-poverty program designed to provide needed resources to nonprofit organizations and public agencies to increase their capacity to lift communities out of poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA provides opportunities for Americans 18 years or older from a diverse range of backgrounds to dedicate a year of full-time service with an organization to create or expand programs designed to empower individuals and communities in overcoming poverty. More information at www.americorps.gov.
The Stewards Individual Placement Program places individual placements across the nation in projects that build capacity, improve access to natural resources, develop and support innovative solutions, develop opportunities for service and economic development, and empower leaders. Stewards Individual Placements is a program of Conservation Legacy. More information can be found at www.stewardslegacy.org.
For over 20 years, Conservation Legacy has been engaging individuals to complete important conservation projects throughout the nation, envisioning a legacy of healthy lands, air and water; thriving people and resilient communities. Conservation Legacy provides support for local conservation service programs under the leadership of a national organization, delivering high quality programming in communities across the country to produce enduring impact through local action. More information can be found at www.conservationlegacy.org.