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Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA)

What is AmeriCorps? And, what does VISTA mean?

AmeriCorps* VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America)  is a full-time national service program designed specifically to develop lasting solutions to the problems of poverty in America.  VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 40 years.

What is the Michigan Campus Compact VISTA Program?

Michigan Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA members coordinate and provide service opportunities for college students addressing the needs of the community. MCC *VISTAS build relationships with community organizations, linking the colleges and universities to the community.  MCC *VISTAS provide leadership in the community and on campus promoting community involvement, service, and civic engagement.

What is a MCC AmeriCorps*VISTA doing on the Kirtland campus?

Sarah Johnson, the VISTA for the Kirtland campus, is here to strengthen the partnership between Kirtland and its surrounding community, specifically focusing on the relationship the college maintains with the River House domestic violence and homelessness shelter. She will be working with faculty members and students, designing both curricular and co-curricular service projects in order to better integrate the college into the community. Monica is helping to bring the “community” back to “community college” by providing opportunities for students become civically engaged and service-minded.

What are the major elements of Service-Learning?

The service-learning process consists of three major elements – preparation, action, and reflection.


consists of the learning activities that take place prior to the service itself. During this period, students learn what is expected of them as well as what they can expect from the service activity/project. Preparation activities typically include identifying and analyzing the problem to be addressed; selecting and planning the project; and training and orientation.


is the service itself. The service must be meaningful, have academic integrity, provide for student ownership, have adequate supervision, and be developmentally appropriate.

Service may be direct, indirect, or civic in nature.

  • Direct Service refers to one’s personal involvement in the service activity, such as tutoring, tax preparation, mentoring or a neighborhood clean-up project.
  • Indirect service involves directing resources to a problem, for example, a food drive or walk-a-thon.
  • Civic service refers to efforts to promote change, such as lobbying, advocacy, or a letter writing campaign.


enables students to critically analyze and learn from their service experience. Ideally, reflection should take place before, during, and after the service. During post-service reflection, accomplishments can be documented and acknowledged.

What are the Benefits of Service-Learning?

Benefits to students


  • Makes learning more useful and relevant.
  • Promotes active learning.
  • Extends the boundaries of the classroom to metropolitan Detroit.
  • Heightens awareness of community needs.
  • Provides real-life application of what students are learning in the classroom.
  • Provides an opportunity for students to learn about and give back to the community.
  • Enhances sensitivity to diversity.
  • Strengthens critical thinking skills and communication skills.
  • Promotes personal and social growth.
  • Stimulates intellectual and leadership development.
  • Fosters a sense of civic responsibility.
  • Allows for integration and synthesis of knowledge.
  • Helps prepare students for the world of work.
  • Allows students to serve as involved citizens in their communities.
  • Facilitates the development of a lifelong commitment to service.

Benefits to the community

Student service…

  • Helps meet unmet community needs.
  • Exposes and teaches communities about emerging generations of students.
  • Helps establish access and connections to other resources available at Kirtland and through Kirtland.
  • Helps breakdown and dispel myths and stereotypes that the community has about students and Kirtland.
  • Adds youth and enthusiasm to a service program or project.
  • Provides an opportunity for a community to shape students’ values and to prepare students for community involvement after college.

Benefits to Kirtland Community College


  • Supplements the educational experience being provided by Kirtland.
  • Allows Kirtland to give back to the community through its students, faculty, and staff.
  • Provides good public relations.
  • Provides an opportunity for the community to view Kirtland as a resource.
  • Helps establish connections for other college programs.

Service Learning Initiatives

Press Release

CUT IT OUT program

Volunteerism in the Community Course – CAR-11500

Pay It Forward student philanthropy project – for more information contact Nicholas Holton at