TOP 5 Reasons I Joined and Stayed with MCN VISTA

By David Kraft, Marketing and Communications, MIGIZI

1.)   To Help Communities of Color! 

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Times are difficult for immigrant, refugee, and communities of color in the USA. Since the cities were first founded, the Twin Cities have been a major destination for immigrants. They also are home to strong-willed and organized, but marginalized urban American Indian communities.

2.)   Politics Can Only Do So Much!

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By being in AmeriCorps, I am more limited in my ability to take political stances and actions, due to the Hatch Act, like with advocating for specific political candidates and making political social media posts at work. But I am more capable of effecting change as an individual. There’s more to creating change than feeding the poor or holding up signs and chanting. There are grants that need to get written. There are social media posts to make. There are volunteers to recruit. As a VISTA, we get to serve as a stimulant/boost to already awesome nonprofits, to make them even more awesome in a sustainable way.

3.)   Power to the Nonprofits!

Nonprofits hold a unique role in society, unlike the roles held by the private or public sectors. Private corporations may have foundations and make donations to charities, but their primary responsibility is to make money for their shareholders. That’s the whole point of the markets. Government’s goals change depending on the administration. Moreover, governments are much more limited in the way they solve problems. Governments can’t send all of the cancer kids to Disney World, but nonprofits can. Nonprofits are mission-driven. They are accountable to their board of directors, donors, and the foundations and agencies that give them grants.

4.)   Getting Myself Out of a Rut!

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Before I started AmeriCorps, I had a lib arts bach degree and was working as a bagger at a grocery store. I am on disability benefits and had reached the point where they wouldn’t let me work full-time and keep my benefits. In comes AmeriCorps. They let me build full-time, real-world experience and make connections with supervisors who write awesome recommendations! I am lucky enough to have my schooling paid off.

5.)   MCN’s the Best VISTA Cohort!

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I'm on the InterCorps Council, so I have friends in all of the other cohorts, so I’m not going to talk them down too much, but they ain’t got all we got! First off, you can’t beat the conferences that we get to go to for FREE! VISTAs from every other cohort need to use their Professional Development Funds to register for our conferences and go to our breakout sessions and listen to the keynote speakers and network with professionals. That is, if they even get professional development funds! And we do! Our sites pledge to give us each $300 to pursue training or send us to community education classes. Last year, I used mine to attend an out-of-town conference. On top of that, we have monthly professional development trainings where we learn everything from cultural and harassment training, to resume-building and networking, to leading meetings and presentations! On top of that, we have social events, (both officially and off-the-clock) to click with and support each other! On the InterCorps Council, even the VISTA leaders from the other cohorts admit that they are jealous!