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AmeriCorps VISTA is a federal service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 40 years. Campus Compact VISTA programs focus on building the capacity of campuses and communities to address the root causes of poverty in partnership and through community-based learning. Our state programs: Improve college access and success Increase college readiness Bring community voice to campus Build the capacity of higher education institutions to strengthen communities Improve service-learning courses that address the root causes of poverty Empower students with civic skills to be community advocates Develop the skills of VISTA members and students in community organizing, volunteer management, and community partnership development
New Jersey Campus Compact is building a cohort of AmeriCorps VISTA members to support the anti-poverty work of 18 large-scale, cross-sector partnerships focused on increasing educational and economic opportunity, food security, reducing crime and substance abuse. Orange Community Schools is one such partner. Orange Community Schools’ (OCS) mission is to break the cycle of poverty in Orange, NJ by transforming local schools into full-service community education and health centers that help students and their families succeed. OCS operates in Rosa Parks Elementary and Oakwood Avenue Middle School. It is led by Montclair State University with funding from the US Department of Education. To accomplish its mission OCS collaborates and pools the resources and expertise of educators, faculty, staff, and volunteers from Drew University, Orange Public School District, nonprofits, and the community itself. In 2013-14 alone, approximately 125 Montclair State and Drew University students served close to 800 K-7 grade students by providing instructional support for ELA and math in the classroom and for out-of-school time enrichment programs at Oakwood and Rosa Parks Community Schools.