Career Opportunity Details

AmeriCorps VISTA Positions Available
Location: varies
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5 generally

What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

The AmeriCorps-VISTA program is a national service program in which individuals commit to a full year of full-time service to help fight poverty. In return for their service, members are provided with orientation and training, a living stipend of about $970 per month, childcare benefits, and a basic healthcare plan. Upon completion of their one-year term, VISTA members have the option of receiving a small stipend or an education award of $5,645.

There are a variety of other benefit potentials including special consideration for federal employment. While these benefits are useful, the real benefit of the VISTA program is the real-world experience making a difference in the community.

VISTAs in Prairie State Legal Services

Prairie State Legal Services is a non-profit organization providing civil legal aid services at no charge to low income persons in northern and central Illinois. Prairie State has offices in Bloomington, Joliet, Kankakee, McHenry, Ottawa, Peoria, Rock Island, Rockford, St. Charles, Waukegan, and Wheaton, Illinois. Some of our VISTA positions are specific to certain offices and for other projects we have more flexibility where to place the VISTA.

VISTAs come from a variety of experiences including recent college graduates, lawyers, retired professionals, and persons re-entering the workforce. While the positions have specific goals and objectives, VISTAs bring their unique talents and creativity to the position. It is the energy, creativity, and talents of our VISTAs and great teamwork that have made for very successful programs.

Communications Coordinator

The Communications Coordinator(s) will help build the organization’s use of social media and traditional communications strategies to improve access to legal information and free civil legal aid services. We would like the position to be based in Rockford, Illinois but we remain flexible. The VISTA will work with the organization’s Administrative staff members to reach communities throughout the service area. We are looking for someone knowledgeable about social media including Twitter, Facebook, and other tools. Excellent writing skills, high level of comfort with technology, commitment to community service, and interest in working as part of team are all desired. Background experience in journalism or marketing is a plus.

Outreach and Assessment Coordinator

This VISTA position is focused on engaging in extensive outreach in our communities to help low-income persons access legal services. The VISTA will coordinate efforts to gather community input on the most important legal needs and collect data to evaluate changes in community needs.

Previous VISTAs have started community roundtables, helpdesks at food pantries and community colleges, electronic newsletters to social services agencies, as well as other efforts that can be sustained after the VISTA’s term of service is completed. This position is available to college graduates. Law school graduates are also encouraged to apply. Spanish proficiency is desirable, but not required. VISTAs must have excellent organizational and communication skills, be competent with computers and online tools, comfortable meeting new people and speaking in front of groups, and available to travel within the Prairie State service area. A valid driver’s license is required. We are particularly interested in locating these positions in Rockford, Peoria, or Bloomington.

Legal Help for Homeowners Outreach and Information/Education Project

The VISTA will develop outreach and create a volunteer-run legal information desk at courthouses to assist persons facing foreclosure. This position is likely to be located in St. Charles, Illinois. Law school graduate desired, but we will consider persons with excellent organizational skills and familiarity with civil courts.

Advocacy Project for Persons with Disabilities

The VISTA will continue an exciting project in which volunteers are trained to assist persons with disabilities in their applications for disability benefits. The volunteers help collect medical evidence to document the disabilities of the clients and their success has helped a number of clients to obtain benefits years sooner than they would have on their own. The VISTA helps evaluate cases, recruit volunteers, coordinate assigning cases to volunteers and providing support to the volunteers. We have had attorneys and non-attorneys in this position over the past few years. This position is likely to be located in St. Charles, IL.

Intake Expansion Coordinator

This VISTA helps to increase low-income persons' access to necessary civil legal services through the PSLS Telephone Counseling Service, by recruiting, training and coordinating volunteer attorneys. This VISTA position is available to law school graduates or paralegals. The VISTA will continue the excellent work previous VISTA attorneys have done in building this service. This position will likely be located in Wheaton, IL.

Veterans Outreach and Services Coordinator

This VISTA will build on the work started by previous VISTAs in creating a legal clinic for low income veterans at Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago as well as other locations. The VISTA will continue to implement this clinic, recruiting, training and supporting volunteer attorneys who will assist in providing these services and presenting information to Lovell Staff.

APPLY FOR THESE OPPORTUNITIES

Register for VISTA at:
https://my.AmeriCorps.gov/mp/recruit/registration.do

Apply for these positions at:
https://my.americorps.gov/mp/listing/viewListing.do?id=58754

(Positions are listed under Prairie State Legal Services Community Impact Project. Look for positions under State of Illinois and housing for the topic area.)

For more information about Prairie State Legal Services, go to pslegal.org

If you have questions, contact Gail Walsh at gwalsh@pslegal.org.

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