This month, the Omaha Zoo Foundation was granted an AmeriCorps VISTA grant to provide an AmeriCorps VISTA member to begin service to strengthen and diversify the volunteer program at the Wildlife Safari Park by recruiting, training, and overseeing both youth and adult volunteers. The AmeriCorps VISTA grant was awarded by the ServeNebraska Volunteer Service Commission in partnership with the AmeriCorps Federal Agency. The grant supports AmeriCorps VISTA members as they build capacity for community organizations like Omaha Zoo Foundation to grow anti-poverty programming.
“The VISTA member serving at the Wildlife Safari Park will recruit and train volunteers and develop new inclusive and free educational programming at the Wildlife Safari Park to reach low income individuals living in Saunders County,” said Elizabeth Mulkerrin, Ed.D.,Vice President of Education for Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
The VISTA member will identify the STEM educational needs of both the Wildlife Safari Park and surrounding communities to develop volunteer opportunities and will create volunteer led STEM educational programming. The VISTA member will also work with staff and volunteers to create a STEM career ladder that allows youth volunteers to eventually gain access to joining the workforce at the Wildlife Safari Park. Anyone interested in this Americorps VISTA member position can find more details at OmahaZoo.com/Volunteer.
AmeriCorps VISTA was created in 1965 to help organizations expand their capacity and create positive changes in communities in the battle against poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for one year terms and their service activities can include fundraising, grant writing, research and volunteer recruitment. Members gain professional development and leadership experience to prepare them for their future careers and receive benefits like a living allowance, a Segal Education Award, health care and non-competitive eligibility for federal government jobs.
Other AmeriCorps VISTA programs granted for the 2022 program year by ServeNebraska include the Omaha Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition and the International Council for Refugees and Immigrants.