The blog series “Day in the Life” seeks to illustrate what it’s like to be a Serve Philadelphia VISTA. In the posts, current corps members explore what they’re learning from their position, how they’re contributing to their office, and what it means to do a year of service.
The National Service Task Force (NSTF) is a group of Year of Service programs. The programs come together to bring resources, opportunities, and support to their AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members as they complete a year of service. This group of individuals strives to make sure their members are treated with respect and equity as they serve in the City of Brotherly Love.
I am the National Service Task Force VISTA Leader. This is a unique VISTA Leader position because my main focus is to provide support to the Task Force, instead of a VISTA cohort. I show support in many different ways. I make sure the NSTF meetings are scheduled, prepare the agendas, and arrange the meeting spaces. I work on a team through the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service on events with the Task Force, including the AmeriCorps Launch, AmeriCorps Week, and the Mayor’s Day of Service Recognition.
While I do not support VISTAs directly, I am still part of the Serve Philadelphia VISTA Corps. I show my support by attending VISTA meetings and sitting on the Special Events Committee with 10 other Serve Philadelphia VISTAs. I make sure that resources from the Task Force are accessible to the VISTAs and that they are able to connect to other service members in the city.
I am a huge advocate for self-care and mental health. I generally speak to the VISTAs at the Professional Development meetings and the Team builders, but lately I have been a main line of contact for the quarterly check-ins and weekly check-ins for the VISTAs.
A year of service can be very difficult. There can be unwanted tensions at work sites, difficulties transitioning into an indirect or direct service role, or being able to support yourself away from loved ones on a stipend. This is my second year serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Philadelphia and it hasn’t gotten any easier. My personal experiences in national service are my own, but I want members to know that there is support within AmeriCorps and other National Service Programs. I chose the NSTF VISTA Leader position not to be in charge of or supervise VISTAs, but to show support and to make sure that Serve VISTAs are having a successful year of service, as well as all AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members.
A sign of support can make the world of difference when it comes to completing a successful year of service. While many programs promote self-care practices, it is always important to reach out to those who can support you and make sure this year of service is as memorable and an important step to creating a better world.
My personal support system is many states away, so it is important to me that I can be the support system for those who may not have loved ones nearby, and that I can be an advocate for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
Victoria Bond is the National Service Task Force VISTA Leader for the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service.
Are you interested in being a part of next year's SERVE Philadelphia VISTA Corps? Fill out an interest form today!