“Fight Poverty with Passion” is AmeriCorps VISTA’s motto. Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1964 when President John F. Kennedy first thought of the idea to create a program where the main focus was to aliviate poverty. Since then, 170, 000 VISTAs have served in many anti-poverty programs across the nation. It was in 1993 when VISTA became part of the network of programs included in AmeriCorps.
In collaboration with Illinois Campus Compact (ILCC), the VISTA will be working on finding new ways to enforce new and existing strategies onto the student experience among low-income and first-generation college students (FGCS) at NIU. Working through OSEEL, the VISTA will work to establish references and enhance support of first-generation college students to access in order to ensure their success at NIU and promote college enrollment among middle school and high school first-generation students in the local community.
The ILCC-VISTA and the FGCS committee at NIU, First-generation Aspire to Succeed Together (FAST) strive to improve college access and success among FGCS in the DeKalb and Sycamore area middle schools and high schools. ILCC-VISTA and FAST are currently visiting the local schools to share college readiness information with future FGCS there and incorporate fun and new activities to engage the students to ensure that the material being presented will impact the students' educational career positively. Topics of the presentations include: "Why College is Important", "How to Pay for College", and "Scholarship Search" among others. If you want these presentations at your school and have a specific topic in mind, please contact the ILCC-VISTA, Lucero Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-753-8154.
In addition to reaching out to school in the local community, FAST is planning events and launching a campaign to enhance the student experience at NIU. The "First in Line" campaign aims to unite past and current FGCS by having these individuals give a brief personal testimonial of being the first member in their immediate family to attend college. Faculty and staff are are encouraged to participate in sharing their stories of success in being the first in their families to earn a college degree. Stay tuned for futher details. Also, be on the look out for events such as study tip sessions, FGCS and faculty roundtable, stress management sessions, plus more!