VISTAs bring living legacy to the war on poverty

Published 9:59 am Thursday, May 13, 2010

It was John F. Kennedy who launched the Peace Corp in 1963.

That program was formed to utilize the energy and giving nature of American volunteers, who would be given the charge of fighting poverty overseas. Later it would be Lyndon Johnson who created this country’s centerpiece of the War on Poverty at home.

The Volunteers in Service to America or VISTA program began under that administration in 1965, with 20 members.

There are now more than 20,000, who live and work in low-income communities throughout the U.S., helping to build well organized and sustainable solutions to poverty.

Today, VISTA’s work with those same goals in mind, focusing on the elimination of barriers for people who are struggling with economic hardships, in communities large and small.

The strength of the VISTA program has helped establish day care centers, adult literacy programs and worked to strengthen a myriad of existing social projects, which address issues of

poverty. VISTAs are not paid, but rather receive a living stipend, similar to minimum wage.

This gives members an even greater understanding of the people and needs they serve.

Here in the Tri-State you will find VISTAs hard at work, bringing individual talents and passions to each assignment.

At Safe Harbor of Northeast KY, we VISTAs are proud to work with residents, who face some of society’s greatest challenges. Yet each day brings new rewards, for which we are grateful.

To learn more about the VISTA program and to find VISTA projects here at home, go online to www.Americorp/

Stephanie Clark

Ashland, Ky.