written by Tyler Jones
City Year’s most visible assets are the committed AmeriCorps members who serve in schools every day. Along with the Service Leaders and Impact Managers who support corps members’ work by building and maintaining relationships with partner teachers and school administrators, City Year’s staff fills a myriad of equally important roles behind the scenes. Another key component of City Year New Hampshire’s success that most people may not know about: our VISTA team.
VISTA stands for Volunteers In Service To America. While City Year is primarily focused on education, VISTAs can serve at organizations that champion a variety of causes. Some other New Hampshire organizations that host VISTAs are the New Hampshire Food Bank and Families In Transition, which work to address food justice and improving domestic life for families respectively. The City Year New Hampshire VISTA team is comprised of a select foursome of individuals who have previously served a corps year with CYNH. Just like CYNH’s corps members, our VISTAs work five days a week to improve the quality of education for students in Manchester. However, the approach they take is a little different than that of their peers: instead of in-school service, they work alongside our corps and staff to provide capacity to the site in a variety of ways.
Our Impact VISTAs, Jess Stern and Rachael Gottlieb, are primarily responsible for training and supporting the corps with regards to their in-school service. This can take the form of leading trainings on our Learning & Development days, or perhaps assisting with classroom observations. They provide additional support with the Idealist’s Journey and Leadership After City Year (LACY), two areas of the CYNH experience that are designed to help corps members develop as leaders and prepare for what comes next in their professional careers.
The other half of our VISTA team includes Julie Lavoie and Tyler Jones providing capacity on the Development side. Julie is the site point for alumni engagement and any external events and gatherings, while Tyler is focused on social media, site and school newsletters, and any other communications that help to tell the CYNH story. In addition to being one of the site’s largest-ever VISTA teams, our four VISTAs are also part of the largest senior corps in the site’s history. Although they are not serving alongside their peers in a school setting, they are still a valuable and essential part of the success that CYNH strives for year after year. We are thrilled to have Jess, Rachael, Julie, and Tyler back for another excellent year of service!