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Wisconsin’s VISTA Program Encourages Volunteers to Overcome White ‘Privilege

( – The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) wants its white VISTA volunteers who work with low-income, racially diverse public schools to examine the “privilege” their Caucasian race confers on them.

Volunteering in Schools

Resource poor schools around the world rely on government support, or on efforts from volunteers and private donations, in order to run effectively. In some countries, whenever the economy is down, the need for volunteers and resources increases greatly.[14] There are many opportunities available in the school system for volunteers to take advantage of. They can add an experience in their resume and learn foreign culture and language. There are not many requirements in order to become a volunteer in the school system. Whether one is a high school or TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) graduate or college student, most schools require just voluntary and selfless effort.[15]Much like the benefits of any type of volunteering there are great rewards for the volunteer, student, and school.
Volunteering in schools can be an additional teaching guide for the students and help to fill the gap of local teachers. Cultural and language exchange during teaching and other school activities can be the most essential learning experience for both students and volunteers.[15]

AmeriCorps VISTA
More than 46 million Americans live in poverty. Through AmeriCorps VISTA, you can make a tangible difference. And, you’ll find the fulfillment that comes from using your knowledge and skills to help those in disadvantaged circumstances turn their dreams into reality.

What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Authorized in 1964 and founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993.  VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 45 years.

What VISTA Members Do

VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses, strengthen community groups, and much more. With passion, commitment, and hard work, you’ll create or expand programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.


taken from AmeriCorps Web Site
a.     Assurances.  The Grantee must assure that its program or activity, including those of its subgrantees, will be conducted, and facilities operated, in compliance with the applicable statutes set forth below, as well as with their implementing regulations.  The Grantee must obtain an assurance of such compliance prior to extending Federal financial assistance to subgrantees.  The U.S. Government shall have the right to seek judicial enforcement of these assurances.

b.     Discrimination Prohibited.  A person, including a member, a service recipient, or Program staff, may not, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, political affiliation, marital or parental status, military service, or religious, community, or social affiliations be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.  The prohibition on discrimination on the basis of disability protects otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities. The prohibition against discrimination on the basis of religion with respect to Program staff applies only to Program staff paid with Corporation funds but excludes staff paid with Corporation funds that were employed by the Grantee on the date the Corporation grant was awarded.
This prohibition against discrimination includes but is not limited to:

i.                   Denying an opportunity to participate in, benefit from, or provide a service, financial aid, or other benefit;
ii.                 Providing an opportunity which is different or provided differently;
iii.               Denying an opportunity to participate as a member of a planning or advisory body integral to the program;
iv.               Segregating or subjecting a person to separate treatment;
v.                 Providing an aid, benefit, or service to a qualified disabled person that is less effective in affording opportunity to obtain the same result, gain the same benefit, or reach the same level of achievement;
vi.               Denying a qualified disabled person the opportunity to participate in integrated programs or activities, even though permissibly separate or different programs or activities exist;
vii. Restricting a person’s enjoyment of an advantage or privilege enjoyed by others;

DPI devotes an entire Web page to “Power and Privilege,” including links to racial justice workshops and online tests where VISTA volunteers can “learn about your personal bias.”
One “diversity” document linked to DPI’s Web site suggests that white people “wear a white wristband as a reminder about your privilege, and as a personal commitment to explain why you wear the wristband.”
The document – written by a diversity resource center in New Jersey — also suggests that white people ask themselves questions, such as: “How do I ignore privilege? What am I doing today to undo my privilege? How do I fool myself into thinking I am powerless?”
Other suggestions for white people include:
– Set aside sections of the day to critically examine how privilege is working.
– Put a note on your mirror or computer screen as a reminder to think about privilege.
– Make a daily list of the ways privilege played out, and steps taken or not taken to address privilege.
– Find a person of color who is willing to hold you accountable for addressing privilege.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is the state agency that advances public education and libraries in Wisconsin.
DPI notes that its AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers are serving in schools that are culturally and racially diverse, and therefore DPI provide “multiple opportunities for training…that help the volunteers better serve the schools and communities in which they are placed.”
(The document mentioned above is just “one strand of information” provided for Wisconsin VISTA volunteers.)  >>>MORE<<<
thank you MorbidHate88


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