Anti-Poverty. Veterans and Military Families. Education.

Support VISTA

Who We Are

Serve New York VISTAs commit one year of full-time service to work in non-profit organizations and schools across New York State. Members work closely with the administrative staff of these organizations, providing indirect service, and enhancing their organization’s ability to provide quality programming and support for their clients.

VISTA History

Authorized by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) was founded in 1965 to “fight the war on poverty.”  VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, and since that time has continued to serve its original mission: to eliminate poverty in the United States. For more VISTA history, please visit

Join Serve New York!

If you are passionate about eliminating poverty and promoting social justice for all, check out our available positions by doing an advanced search for the Program Name: Serve New York. Check out our current openings! Descriptions for positions beginning in March 2017 can be downloaded here.    
Click Here to Apply!

Serve New York VISTA 2017 Request for Proposals

Interested in hosting a Serve New York VISTA member? For returning projects download your Request for Proposal documents here. For new projects download your Request for Proposal documents here.        

Serve New York is proud to announce our partner organizations for summer 2016:

 Buffalo Promise Neighborhood                                                                                                         Legal Services of the Hudson Valley                                    

 Community Services for the Developmentally Disabled                                                              Literacy New York Buffalo - Niagara, Inc.

 Compeer of Greater Buffalo                                                                                                                Massachusetts Avenue Project

 Fillmore Forward, Inc.                                                                                                                          Matt Urban Hope Center

 Finger Lakes Addictions Counseling & Referral Agency                                                               Parent Network of WNY

 Foodlink, Inc.                                                                                                                                          Plymouth Crossroads

 Ithaca Children's Garden                                                                                                                      Resource Council of WNY, Inc.

 Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc.                                                                                                 Seneca Street Community Development Corporation

 LAWNY Geneva                                                                                                                                      Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Center

 LAWNY Rochester                                                                                                                                 United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Westminster Economic Development Initiative, Inc.

At the 2016 Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service, Serve New York will be honoring 2nd year member, Erin Holbrook. On April 5th, VISTA staff will join Erin in the Mayor's Chambers to be awarded for her dedication to her community. Congratulations, Erin!

During my time as an AmeriCorps VISTA working through the Service Collaborative of Western New York, I was placed at Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and organization that provides free civil legal services to people who are unable to afford them. My task was to coordinate the creation of a new program – the Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project – to provide access to civil legal services to veterans, particularly focusing on female veterans. This project gave me the opportunity to work with incredibly dedicated attorneys and staff. I was continuously learning from my colleagues about legal services and building a nonprofit program. I also had the ability to contribute on the planning committee of two major events, both daylong symposiums exclusively for female veterans. My site also offered the chance to attend tailored skill-building conferences, such as a workshop about providing care to individuals with a history of sexual or combat trauma. Furthermore, I was able to play a key role in the construction of a network of nonprofits and local attorneys across the Hudson Valley that enabled us to improve our services and those of our partners. The planning and professional skills I learned while carrying out my assignments will be invaluable in my future career. I was also able to take advantage of the off-site resources offered by the Service Collaborative of Western New York. These included seminars on topics such as strategic planning and fundraising given by experts in the field. Finally, I formed lasting relationships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds who shared a common commitment to serve. I will carry the experience, relationships, and skills I gained from being a Serve New York VISTA with me through a lifetime of service.

—Will Mattessich, SNY VISTA Member


Currently, Serve New York’s major impact areas are Education, Veterans & Military Families, Healthy Futures, and Economic Opportunity. To support educational advancement, our members work to increase educational support services for economically disadvantaged youth, increase student engagement, increase college readiness and attendance by low-income youth, and involve community volunteers in the delivery of educational services. VISTA members working towards our Veteran & Military Family goals are helping to increase access to resources for this population, including educational, job-training, legal, and financial services. Serve New York VISTA members also serve with projects dedicated to preventing childhood obesity, improving long-term access to fresh and healthy food, and increasing financial literacy and housing services.

Get Involved

Hosting a VISTA Member: Why partner with Serve New York VISTA? A partnership with Serve New York provides an increase in agency capacity, greater sustainability, and improved program management for organizations working to eradicate poverty. VISTA members provide behind-the-scenes, indirect service designed to build programs and practices that will last long after they leave. Members are permitted to write grants, work on fundraising initiatives, develop policies & procedures, recruit and manage volunteers, develop programs, build curriculums, and provide outreach on behalf of their host sites.
What kinds of candidates apply to AmeriCorps and what is required of them? Host sites can recruit candidates on their own or request The Service Collaborative staff screen applicants for the needs of their specific site. Serve New York applicants provide at least two references; go through state and FBI background checks; and a rigorous interview process ensuring the highest quality of candidates. When members commit to VISTA they are committing to a 12-month term during which time they are expected to serve at their host sites full-time. Members are not allowed to have outside employment during their term of service. Members are provided health insurance, childcare, student loan forbearance, the choice of an education award or cash stipend at the end of their term, and a living stipend; the only financial expectation of host sites is a modest cash match.  
What do I need to know if I’m interested in hosting a Serve New York VISTA member? If you are interested in hosting a Serve New York VISTA member please email Kate Decarlo, Senior Manager, VISTA Operations at Organizations interested in hosting a VISTA member should:
  • Have the capacity to utilize VISTA members in an indirect service role, and make a strong connection between the organization’s work and Serve New York’s performance goals
  • Be willing to provide supervision, staff support and agency resources to ensure the success of member serving at their site
  • Be a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, educational institution, or government agency located within New York State but not in New York City
Have questions about Serve New York VISTA? Interested in setting up a meeting to discuss hosting a member? Contact Kate Decarlo, Senior Manager, VISTA Operations at /(716)418-8500 ext. 141.