AmeriCorps VISTA

About AmeriCorps VISTA

“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.


Illinois Campus Compact's (ILCC) mission is to promote civic engagement among students and have them be actively engaged. Through ILCC, NIU currently hosts a VISTA volunteer since November 2012. ILCC lays an assignment for the VISTA member which includes three goals:

  1. Assess education needs for low-income and high risk youth to improve their performance.
  2. Assess and address the needs of low-income and first generation college students.
  3. Assess and address the needs for current student veterans.

Kathryn Olson, current VISTA strives to find new ways to enforce new and existing strategies onto the student experience among low-income and first-generation college students (FGCS) at NIU and among students in local middle schools and high schools. Through OSEEL she oversees Huskie Service Scholars, Civic Reflection dialogues and the first generation college student committee at NIU, First-generation Aspire to Succeed Together (FAST).

Interested in learning more about ILCC or VISTA and the service provided to NIU?

Contact: Kathryn Olson at or 815-753-8154