1970s

  • Alumni story
    Michael G Marks, DDS, MS 1973 1974 Penasco NM

    Served with VISTA in Penasco NM from Aug 1973 - Aug 1974. With wonderful support from the local community and it's people, started the first permanent Dental Clinic in this entire rural area. Developed school job possibilities program, established Fluoridated Community water supply, developed Dental health education program, integrated Dentistry into local businesses, provided General Dental care and mentored many locals in dental health. Continued on in Penasco with the NHSC for 3 years and then 14 more years in Private Practice. Joined US Navy in 1988. Penasco Dental Clinic is still there and serving the community continuously since its start in 1973. God bless the people of rural New Mexico. And thank you to VISTA for the magnificent opportunity to serve this great country.

  • Alumni story
    Cathy Eide 1978 1980 Chico

     

    I had the privilage of helping people who lived in terrible housing try to change their lives. It was great work and I really loved it. There is a large poor area in Chico that for many years had been ignored by local politicians. Local residents used my services to help them organize a housing organization and through that group some real changes were made.

    In the many years since I was there, the agency that sponsored our VISTAs made so many great changes that helped this community. There are now self-help homes, condominiums and other forms of ownership that allows ownership for all residences. 

    I have always been very proud of my VISTA service and the chance to serve my country and community. 

  • Alumni story
    Terrance McCarthy 1977 1979 Hartford

    In 1977, I was working as a community organizer in the south end of Hartford Ct.,for an organization known as H.A.R.T. (Hartford Areas Rallying Together). Neighborhood security, housing issues and forming nieghborhood block clubs for clean-ups and crime watches were among the things we worked on.

    Around that time I was approached by Fr. Thomas Goekler from Sacred Heart Church in the northend of Hartford. He wasputting together a new community organization for the Clayhill and Northeast areas of the city and he needed community organizers. He introduced me to a young man named Eddie Perez, who would later become the mayor of Hartford. Through the Hartford conference of churches, we secured funding and some VISTA volunteer slots which Eddie and I along with Patrick McCarthy(no relation) filled. Along with donations from Aetna and The Hartford Insurance Co., we put together an office and started building block clubs and leadership in the mostly Hispanic and black Clayhill and Northeast neighborhoods. O.N.E.C.H.A.N.E. worked on many issues in both areas and over the next ten years it helped to provide a voice to many residents who otherwise would never be heard from.

    After a year and a half, I left to continue my college education,but the experiences I had as a VISTA volunteer helped me not only achieve an undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut, but also instilled confidence and inspiration that has filtered into my over thirty-year career as a carpenter and self employed contractor. Many great memories.
     

  • Alumni story
    Ginlin Woo 1968 1972 Seattle

    Early in my VISTA experience I organized a community tenants meeting. I spent four weeks knocking on doors to invite residents, asking local groceries to donate refreshments and door prizes, convincing speakers to make an appearance, and translating information into bilingual formats. And what did I have to show for it? Seven people came to the meeting. Seven! My dreams were dashed. A thick sense of despair engulfed me. I failed.

    I was so embarrassed I almost quit VISTA service early. I was ready to do it at our debriefing meeting, right after my VISTA supervisor had his say. While he spoke though, I couldn’t believe my ears. He called the tenants meeting “real progress.”

    Fortunately, my VISTA supervisor, Father Brian J. Karvelis, was much wiser and more grounded than me. He could do this because he held the history and desires of the community before himself, and understood what it took to bring about real, substantive change. For him, the gathering of seven folks that evening to discuss their vision for affordable housing was not “a failure,” but real progress made through the efforts of a lot of people, including the dreams and struggles of many tenants that long preceded my arrival. His gentle reframing of my lens helped me understand my place in the work, the struggles and the history of that community. How he saw it and lived it taught me what I needed to approach my service and work. It’s all about honoring the history of a community and joining my legacy with its legacies.

    A few months earlier, in the summer of 1968, with one year of college and community-active Asian-American parents as role models, I signed on with VISTA for a summer internship program in my home town of Seattle. The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, mounting unrest across U.S. urban communities, and increased student activism on many campuses provided the backdrop to my service. That initial experience with VISTA launched five years of living and serving in Brooklyn, N.Y.

    It was an important opportunity for me, not only to serve in the very poor, multicultural, multiethnic communities of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but also to be coached by a dynamic team of community youth and leaders. They taught me about organizing a community. They used buzzwords like development, community building, anti-poverty, social justice and anti-oppression. Whatever words you use, our goal was community empowerment.

    Father Karvelis was my main “coach” and VISTA supervisor/teacher. I was privileged to join his team because he had a vision for the community. In fact, he gave the community a vision for itself. Instead of watching Williamsburg crumble, he spoke of development. Instead of living on the welfare rolls, he pushed for community ownership. Instead of apathy, he spoke of mobilizing, leadership and empowerment. All with a gentle hand because he never wavered in the faith that it could be done. For me, this was truly service and learning at its best.

    By day, I served with a team of VISTAs and VISTA lawyers on reforming housing and education litigation. By night, I worked at the Transfiguration Youth Center as a gang counselor, youth program developer, and grant writer. During my years in Brooklyn we tackled problems with a holistic approach. We implemented educational initiatives by establishing a bilingual pre-school, an after-school study club and enhanced youth programming. We helped the community gain greater control of local schools. Financially, we helped establish a community credit union. We established a community chapel to tackle issues of faith. Youth leaders became peer counselors. A community half-way house helped some get back on their feet. In short, we engaged the community and challenged its citizens to be community advocates.

    While I worked hard to put in my “24-7,” I know that my role was a part of a whole. The legacy passed on to me by community members easily left a far greater imprint on my life than my years of VISTA service left on the community and the many lives I had an opportunity to connect with. My personal perception of poverty, diversity, service, community, compassion and commitment were defined by the work and passion of community members… a list too long to name. Each of them holds a special place in my heart, especially Father Brian.

    For the past number of years, I, along with several beloved colleagues and friends, have been invited to help facilitate and contribute to the preparation and training of AmeriCorps*VISTA supervisors and VISTA members. Paying the legacy forward has translated into the values we instill in new VISTA members, VISTA leaders, and supervisors throughout our training. The sense of pride and purpose, admiration, community connectedness, and hope I have after each training event for VISTA candidates and supervisors has everything to do with the legacy of my VISTA service.

    Had my VISTA service never happened, I know I wouldn’t have developed in the way that I have. My VISTA service facilitated life choices that included law school and continued volunteer service, both with VISTA and other organizations across the nation. The perceptual lens that Father Brian helped shape so long ago helped me retain my ongoing focus on human relations, diversity, and cross-cultural collaboration. Now, lots of work and many, many cities later, my internal reflections continue to be about addressing issues of poverty, contributing to sustainable strategies. My continued involvement over more than thirty-six years has allowed my legacy to touch many communities.

  • Alumni story
    Edward Wilson 1969 1970 Chauthbaluk (Little Russian Mission)

    My year in Chauthbaluk (then Little Russian Mission) was arguably the best year of my adult life. I built a cabin on banks of the Kuskokuim River, helped with the village government (including getting the name changed), survived being left for dead, made friends who remain the fondest of memories, and anchored my 20 years in the Alaskan Bush.

    I learned that I was tougher, more resourceful, and more curious than I would have otherwise ever learned. I also learned that life can be an adventure for those of us lucky enough to have taken the step out of the ordinary and predictable. My VISTA year set the tone and gave the experience necessary to create a very full life.

  • Alumni story
    Linda A. Sunde 1975 1976 Milwaukee

    The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting into Peace Corps in 1973. If I had been accepted, I probably would not have served in VISTA, not become the director of a VISTA project, and not found my current post overseeing VISTA and Senior Corps projects in Wisconsin.

    For 30 years VISTA has permeated many aspects of my life, changing me in the process. Over the years I have been a VISTA, recruited VISTAs, trained VISTAs and supervised VISTAs. I even wrote my Master’s thesis on VISTA. I’m still in national service. My title has changed, but my commitment is the same.

    In 1975, VISTA was recruiting locally and I applied to a program in my hometown called Milwaukee Associates in Urban Development. M.A.U.D., as it was known, assigned me to a community organizing project called Milwaukee Alliance of Concerned Citizens, or MACC. I guess we were really into acronyms even then. The Milwaukee Alliance of Concerned Citizens was an Alinsky-style organization, which means that it took a political activist approach to community organizing. Trainers from the Industrial Areas Foundation, an organization founded by Saul Alinsky and dedicated to supporting community organizing, would come up from Chicago to train us in how to organize people to act for social change.

    There were about 40 of us at my pre-service orientation to VISTA, all from the Milwaukee area. In those days you got fingerprinted when you joined VISTA, an intimidating thought when embarking on a career as a social activist. But it was VISTA’s 10th Anniversary and everyone thought that was pretty remarkable. We all received a little gold commemorative pin with the VISTA logo, which I still have. A number of the other VISTA trainees are still friends and colleagues.

    My VISTA assignment at Milwaukee Alliance of Concerned Citizens was to provide research on crime statistics and city and county law enforcement budget data for the Older Adult Crime and Safety Committee. I also trained the seniors on doing their own research, writing press releases, talking to the media, and we role played testifying at government hearings. As a shy kid, I frankly thought this would be the ideal job—just sit in a back room and compile data. I’d been a research assistant for one of my professors in college, so this would be a cinch. Much to my chagrin, I soon became the lead organizer of the Older Adult Crime and Safety Committee, but it changed my life forever.

    I’m not sure we reduced crime much during the year I was a VISTA, but I learned a lot and met some really wonderful people. Working with older adults is a joy. They always want you to stay and visit, and they always want to feed you! I especially remember Sister Margaret Shekelton, who was the chair of the committee. She was a fierce advocate for justice, but with a gentle dignity that won over our opponents. Whenever we met, it was always over tea.

    As Alinsky-style organizers, we had been trained that the organizers are not out front as leaders or spokespersons. Our job was to empower others to leadership roles. This and other lessons have continued to guide my work in community service over the years. Several of the women on the committee, who had been pretty shy about testifying or talking to reporters, became seasoned pros by the time I left. A few years ago I attended a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program recognition in Milwaukee and discovered that one of the women I had worked with was receiving an award for her 20 plus years of service as a Court Watch volunteer. When I introduced myself she didn’t remember me specifically, but did remember the VISTA project and credited it with getting her started as a court watch volunteer. I tell that story now when I speak to AmeriCorps*VISTAs at trainings and elsewhere to illustrate that it might take more than 20 years for them to realize they made a difference in someone’s life.

    Within a year of ending my VISTA service, I was tapped to become a VISTA supervisor with Milwaukee Associates in Urban Development. About a year later I was named executive director of the organization and stayed there for about 15 years. The VISTA program at Milwaukee Associates in Urban Development was a prototype for consortium projects around the country. The organization did most of its own recruiting, placement, training, supervision, and program administration for its VISTA components, acting as a sort of mini state office. Not everyone in ACTION liked the concept, but it worked. My master’s thesis on VISTA used the Milwaukee Associates in Urban Development program as a model. It was later published as "VISTA as Experiential Education," in Experiential Education for Community Development, in 1989.

    Nearly every day I run into someone who was a VISTA with that program. They are running community groups, holding elective office, teaching, organizing, and generally making their mark on the world. I am struck by the number of former VISTAs in some type of community service work. Their stories are similar to mine: VISTA changed the direction of their lives. Coming to work at the Corporation for National and Community Service in 1998 was the culmination of my VISTA journey that began in the early 1970s. Becoming the Wisconsin State Director was like coming home. I tell people that this is the job I was meant to have.

  • Alumni story
    Adrian Pope 1974 1975 New York City

    VISTA shaped my life and career.

    In 1974, I became a VISTA Volunteer through Queens College of the City University of New York. My service included researching consumer topics, working with community activists and serving as a consumer advocate via the New York Consumer Assembly and the New York Public Interest Research Group.

    Through study and experience, I became aware of the economic hardships placed on low and middle income consumers when trying to obtain goods and services. For example, in some neighborhoods, consumers may pay a disproportionate share of their incomes due to limited choices and/or unfair business practices. These consumers may lack information on where to get help or how to comparison shop.

    In 1974, there were no personal computers or the Internet. My research was conducted in the library, by telephone, through meetings and in discussion groups. I met with or wrote letters to political leaders, members of the business community, labor unions and senior citizen groups. I also conducted interviews with representatives of governmental agencies.

    Through these activities, I developed and distributed consumer educational materials. Some materials advised the consumer on how to find licensed businesses for certain goods and services or where to go to file a complaint should a dispute occur. Through workshops and other educational forums, many consumers developed the research skills necessary to conduct their own surveys for comparison shopping.

    As the year progressed, I met with community leaders and labor organizers to educate their constituents on the voting records of political leaders. These efforts led to higher voter turnout and the importance of consumers participating in the political process. Through consumer letter writing and various meetings with elected officials, legislation was passed that required insurance companies to issue policies and contracts readable to the average layperson.

    Today, as an Insurance Examiner for the New York State Insurance Department, I continue to work with both consumers and insurance companies in resolving various disputes. Some cases involve the timely payment of a consumer claim or expediting a consumer's right to file an appeal when services have been denied.

    For better comparison shopping, I advise consumers on the types of questions to ask when purchasing insurance or how to request insurance brochures on a particular topic. For other inquiries, I may advise consumers to request non-insurance publications from the New York State Consumer Protection Board.

    Through service and commitment, future Volunteers In Service To America will gain the skills and expertise needed to take on the challenges of their own communities thereby leading to a higher standard of living for a global economy.

  • Alumni story
    Anne Walsh Mitchell 1973 1975 North Cambridge

    VISTA shaped my life and career.

    In 1972, I graduated from Wellesley College with an undergraduate degree in astronomy and a minor in education. I graduated during the first wave of the women's movement, passionate about social justice and feminism. So I joined VISTA. My job was working with families (mostly mothers), who were moving into a new low-income housing development, to create a child care center. With the supreme confidence of youth, I figured: how hard can this be – I just graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in astronomy? Wow, did I have a lot to learn…

    I was inspired by the mothers and their determination, and by other women in the community who were helping people start child care centers – way before there were any official child care resources and referral agencies. We built a wonderful center, and some of the moms and I took community college courses together to learn how to teach young children. To this day the center we built is still there.

    I discovered that I loved being with small children – I'm fascinated by how young children think and explore the world, and how fun and funny they are. My instincts about how to be with children were generally good AND I needed to learn a lot, to expand my knowledge base about the details of how kids learn, what motivates them, how best to set up environments and activities, what curriculum is – as well as all the basics of operating the center – managing money, people, time. I DID have a lot to learn – and it was exhilarating learning it.

    For 20 years, I have been the President of Early Childhood Policy Research, an independent consulting firm specializing in evaluation research, policy analysis and planning on child care/early education issues with government, foundations and national nonprofit organizations. I co-founded the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance, a learning community on finance reform and system-building for early care and education. Previously I was Associate Dean of the Research Division at Bank Street College of Education in New York City and directed the first national study of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.

    After VISTA, I went on to direct child care centers in Massachusetts and Vermont. I have conducted national studies of state and local prekindergarten policy and early care and education finance, and written widely on child care and early education policy and practice. For 15 years I have been on the Greenville (NY) Board of Education and I was just re-elected. I served five years on the New York State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching. I have received leadership awards from the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children, the Bank Street College Alumni Association, Scholastic, Inc., National Louis University, the New York State Child Care Coordinating Council and the New York and National Associations for Family Child Care. I am especially proud to be a past President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    My career began in VISTA.

  • Alumni story
    Peter McKee 1974 1975 Macon

    Viewfinder: How did you first learn about VISTA?

    Peter: I first learned about VISTA from my two sisters who had both been volunteers before me. The one volunteered in Oklahoma City in the late 60's and the other served in Laredo, Texas in the early 70's. (Peter's sister, Deirdre, was the featured in Portraits in the June 2010 Viewfinder issue.)

    VF: Why did you choose to serve?

    Peter: Common with a lot of folks getting out of college, I was unsure of what it was I wanted to do after college. I thought I wanted to go to law school and I was graduating with a major in Ethics and Moral Philosophy from Brown University in 1974. But I knew I didn't want to go directly to law school. So I wanted to get some real-world experience and do something of value for a year or so. VISTA seemed like a natural choice. I was also a budding banjo player and folk music enthusiast and I had a fantasy of traveling to the South where the music and the instrument I was learning came from. I had never been to the South and I had only stereotyped images of that region, many of which were promptly dispelled upon my arrival.

    VF: What types of projects did you accomplish as a VISTA?

    Peter: I did paralegal work with public housing project cases and social security disability cases as a VISTA paralegal with the Macon office of Georgia Legal Services. I also helped with some class action law suits dealing with rent and tenants rights. I worked a lot on rent issues, tenants' rights, and substandard housing issues. The office was also involved in a lot of mental health law so I was exposed to some of that while I was there. After my first year of law school, I returned to the Macon office to work for the summer and got to continue working on some of the cases I had been working on before.

    VF: Tell us your best story about being a VISTA

    Peter: One story I have told for years arose from my organizing and legal outreach to the tenants of the Eatonton Public Housing project. I had a GSA car that I used to drive around the large area our office covered. It had an experimental vent on the top which made it distinctive and it soon became a mark that the VISTA worker from the Macon Legal Aid office was in the area.

    After several weeks of talking with individual tenants about the illegally high rents they were being charge in violation of federal housing regulations, I was told by a woman that her neighbor wanted me to come down to her unit to talk with her. I knocked on her door and an older black woman answered the door and greeted me with a surprised tone, "Why you're just a BOY!" she smiled. (She was right – I was 22 and likely looked 15 to her). I chatted with her a while and she began to show me her wonderful garden and told me that I needed to get me a wife and some house plants. She then pointed out several books which she said her daughter had written, published by a well-known American publishing house. I then realized that I was talking with Minnie Lou Walker, mother of author Alice Walker!

    VF: What did you get out of serving?

    Peter: I got a beginning awareness of the reality of how overwhelming poverty is and how all -inhibiting it is. The people I see today in Seattle in my Social Security disability law practice could well have been my clients I saw 35+ years ago as a VISTA, because the basic issues I first encountered then remain largely unchanged.

    What I got from VISA was a calling. I realized that you have only one go-round in life, and you have to decide what side you're going to be on. I chose to be on the side of those who have little and need much. I doubt I would have survived law school without the experiences I had as a VISTA paralegal with Georgia Legal Services. Law school can be mind-numbing and spirit-crushing and had I not known something of what legal knowledge can actually do for real people, I might well have dropped out of law school.

    Without VISTA, I would never have gone on to be a Legal Services lawyer in Port Angeles, Washington for three years. And … the rest is history.

    Another thing I got out of serving in Georgia as a VISTA was an absolute love, perhaps an obsession, with Southern barbecue. I had my first real Southern barbecue when I stopped into the Jackson Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Georgia one day on the road. And now, for the past thirty years I host a backyard barbecue competition among friends to honor my memories of that 'cue, called The Jackson Fresh Air Barbecue Cook-Off and Feed.

    VF: What are you doing now?

    Peter: Besides my law practice in Seattle, where representing disabled claimants for Social Security disability benefits, I have been married for the past 29 years to Judy Oerkvitz, a former social worker and now an elementary school teacher. We have two daughters (one a social worker and the other is presently an AmeriCorps volunteer with Northwest Immigrants' Rights Project here in Seattle). I continue my banjo playing and song writing with our band for the last 30 years – Clallam County - "Seattle's Slowest Rising Folk Band"® - (http://sites.google.com/site/clallamcounty/home and http://www.myspace.com/clallamcounty). I am also an avid amateur photographer: http://peterhdmckeephotography.shutterfly.com.

    VF: What advice do you have for current VISTAs or for people thinking about joining VISTA?

    Peter: Don't worry about whether it is a "good career move" - careers will resolve themselves in the future. Join VISTA now. It will give you a unique chance to help in many small ways that you can not anticipate. It will change your life. It should change your life; in ways you could not now predict. It will change your life for the better.

    Download PDF of Peter's song "Effie" here.

  • Alumni story
    Hope Horowitz 1977 1978 Atlanta

    While I was in college, the idea of VISTA service was always in the back of my mind, but I never followed through. Instead, as I prepared to graduate, I sent out over 100 resumes. I didn’t get one interview! Finally, I decided to give VISTA a shot. That decision changed my life.

    In August 1977, VISTA offered me a position with the Atlanta Youth Development Center for male adjudicated delinquent youth. The boys at the development center were there for transgressions ranging from shoplifting to assault. Most came from broken homes. The Center housed children as young as eight and even had lock down units for those who had committed more serious offenses. I accepted their offer.

    All new VISTAs placed in the state attended a training session on an island off Georgia’s coast. I vividly remember one activity called Mutts and Lipps. While I didn’t understand how to do it, somehow I loved it! Years later, I realized why. It was experiential education, a teaching style based on reflection and critical analysis of experiences. The activity stimulated and challenged me to look at myself and learn from my experience. The roots of my love for training began at that moment. The experience I got through the youth development center was going to help it grow.

    The Center was there to provide structure, limits and love for the kids. Along with another VISTA, Tom Seely, my mission was to create a volunteer program to provide positive role models for the boys. We brainstormed, learned about the needs of volunteers and how to train and recruit volunteers. We were determined to find people who would serve as positive role models for these troubled youth. We sought adults who had a passion for children and would help build their self esteem. Tom and I went into the community to enlist volunteers, male and female, from all over Atlanta.

    Over the course of the year, we created a volunteer department with a strong training program and a dedicated core of volunteers who spent time with the youth. We created a manual that explained the Center’s rules and guidelines and provided tips for working with children. We also implemented training sessions for skills such as effective listening. The volunteers spent time with the kids, provided a positive role model, gave them individualized attention and took part in activities with them like reading, playing games, helping with homework, and sports.

    It was not easy and sometimes the frustration of reality reared its ugly head. We were unsure if there would really be a long term impact on the kids. We wondered if we were really making a difference in their lives. Would they return to the same negative influences at home? Would they return to their deviant behavior? But with determination, perseverance, and dedication, we supported each other and a strong, vibrant volunteer program was in place by the end of our year. We had developed personal relationships with many of the kids by visiting the units and engaging in activities with them. For the volunteers, making a difference could be as simple as having a child smile or say thank you! The consistent visits and relationships with positive adult role models at least mattered while the kids were at the Atlanta youth Development Center. Making a difference came in small ways and we learned to appreciate these small changes.

    The VISTAs also supported and relied on each other because money was always tight. In order to have a social life, we even volunteered for fun. The beautiful FOX Theatre in Atlanta always needed help, so a group of VISTAs volunteered as ushers on a regular basis. We were rewarded with a year of free cultural experiences ranging from The Rolling Stones to ballet and opera. We missed our families, and sometimes doubted ourselves, but underlying all that was our work as VISTAs, our commitment to making a difference. We were all patriotic. Serving our country was important to us. So we worked to make it a better place. If we could change just one life it would help make our country, and the world, stronger.

    As if that weren’t enough, midway through my VISTA appointment at the development center, I started volunteering as an advisor for the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, a Jewish group for teens grades 9-12, but at the opposite end of the spectrum from the youth development center. While the Center had mostly black kids from broken homes, the youth from the B’nai B’rith organization were Jewish teens from healthier, supportive environments. Imagine my surprise when I discovered very little difference between the groups. I learned that no matter where you are, adolescents experience the same trials growing up such as self identity, sexuality issues, and apprehension about the future. This allowed me to implement a lot of the strategies I learned through the youth development center with the Jewish youth organization.

    My strategies impressed the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization so much that they asked me to teach leadership training at the International Leadership Training Conference—a prestigious training for the top 200 B’nai B’rith Youth Organization leaders from around the world—upon completion of my one year VISTA assignment. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. My VISTA experience seamlessly translated into the skills I taught the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization leaders. It prepared me to take what I learned and teach it to others with real world examples. At the end of the conference, they offered me a job with the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization in Michigan where I spent two years until my position was eliminated.

    The organization then provided a scholarship for me to obtain a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan (focusing on community organization). Two years later I relocated to Allentown, Pa., where I spent the next 14 years with the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, the last eight years as Assistant Director of the Jewish Community Center.

    My VISTA training set me on my path to teach and train others. My VISTA experience set me on my career path and enabled me to gain invaluable insights about myself, groups, and working with communities. I hold my VISTA experience so dear that I still keep a rock that was part of an activity as a reminder of it. VISTA touches the heart and soul of those who serve and I will never forget the impact that one year had on my entire life and the lives of the youth we served.

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