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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-The Columbus Arts Council spear headed a grant writing initiative and landed a 100 thousand dollar grant.

That money is benefiting their program, and helped bring in 10 full time Vista Volunteers to our community.

Since November, Vista Volunteers have hit the ground running.

The young adults are making inroads by solving problems and attacking poverty.

“And they are working with seven organizations in the community to help them building capacity. Meaning, recruiting volunteers, writing grants, those kinds of things,” said Tina Sweeten, Exec. Director, Columbus Arts Council.

Grant money pays the volunteers just enough money to live on.

Their tasks include bringing in 100 other volunteers from the community.

The young people are learning as they help others.

“For somebody getting just out of college that doesn’t have a lot of experience, this is a great way for them to get experience,” said Sweeten.

“Yes definitely a sense of fulfillment, You know any time you are doing anything for the community you should have that,” said Dionne Humphries, Vista Volunteer.

“We have churches that come in every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from eleven thirty to one which prepares food for the community. And its free, people just walk off the street and come on and eat.

From just ten vista volunteers, an army of hundreds more has been recruited like they were…..to make a difference in the lives of others.

“It kind of makes our whole community a little bit more aware hopefully that we need to be involved. And that kind of the job of a vista, is to get the community involved not just us doing work for the community. But getting the community to work for itself,” said Melissa Duncan, Vista Volunteer.

“And they also receive healthcare, childcare, subsidies if they are eligible  for it. And at the end they can choose either an education award which is fifty-five hundred dollars, or they can take a cash pay out which is fifteen hundred dollars,” said Sweeten.

Vista Volunteers get no salary, only a living stipend.

Of course the cash payouts they receive must go towards tuition payments.

Vista Volunteers serve a one year at time.

A person can serve up to 3 years.


Comment on this Story

  • If a person volunteer with this program do they get the $5,500 education award during the volunteer period or after they complete the year term?

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