Montana No Kid Hungry partners with the Prevention Resource Center to recruit AmeriCorps VISTAs that are independent, hardworking, and passionate about working with local schools and communities to lead the fight against childhood hunger in Montana. If you would like to bring this VISTA program to YOUR community, keep reading!
Download information about hosting a VISTA: Host Site Information
WHO: Montana No Kid Hungry partners with the Prevention Resource Center to recruit AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTAs). The VISTAs are bright, motivated, hardworking people who care about alleviating poverty and community health issues. VISTAs are required to hold a college degree.
WHERE: VISTAs commit to serving in one particular community throughout their service term. Typically a school district or other strong community partner (like health centers) holds the supervisory position and is considered the "host site" for the VISTA Program. There is an option to co-host a VISTA between two local organizations or districts.
WHEN: VISTAs serve for one year, beginning and ending in August.
WHAT: Host Sites are expected to provide a workspace and an engaged site supervisor to help plan, guide and oversee service work as well as celebrate successes alongside the VISTA.
HOW MUCH: The cost share for one full-time VISTA is:
Year One: $4,000
Year Two: $6,000
Year Three: $7,500
- Increase access to services to help mitigate childhood hunger and strengthen the future for your community.
- Increase participation rates in beneficial nutrition programs like school breakfast, after school meals, and summer feeding. Enhance existing school breakfast programs, giving your students an academic boost.
- Create programs that teach your students principles of healthy eating, cooking, nutrition and good health that will serve them for a lifetime.
- Strengthen partnerships between schools, businesses and nonprofits for the benefit of your community.
- Empower students to create positive change in their communities through formation of focus groups, volunteerism, and community service projects.
- Tailor program objectives and service projects to your district’s specific needs, values, and priorities.
The fundamental objective of Montana No Kid Hungry is to help local communities develop sustainable ways to connect more kids to healthy food where they live, learn and play. Within these parameters, our program is highly flexible and customizable. We work closely with partners and supervisors to create a service plan that meets the specific needs of your district and community, and is in line with your values, priorities, and goals.
The fundamental objective of PRC VISTA is to alleviate poverty by increasing access to food resources for underserved communities. The partnership between Montana No Kid Hungry and PRC VISTA allows for an innovative approach to creating programming that is efficient and effective.
Below is a description of program objectives and projects that can be used as the starting point for creating a service plan that best serves YOUR district:
1: INCREASE FOOD ACCESS AND FOOD SECURITY
School nutrition programs are not only an effective way to mitigate childhood hunger in our communities – they also build healthier classroom environments and strengthen all students’ future success. VISTAs provide programming and system development to local schools committed to starting, expanding, or improving school nutrition programs such as School Breakfast, Summer Food Service, and Afterschool Snacks/Meals.
- Developing a custom meal program that works best for your facilities, budget, staff, and students with an emphasis on innovative approaches and alternative service models that maximize accessibility, visibility, convenience, and appeal.
- Conducting ongoing outreach and promotion to students and parents to raise awareness of breakfast availability and its importance to academic success,
- Creating promotional events to increase participation and promote healthy eating habits, assist with FRP-enrollment.
- Providing logistical support during planning and implementation of projects, including roll-out/transition periods, stakeholder communications, fundraising and grant-writing, and volunteer recruitment.
2: ENCOURAGE KIDS TO DEVELOP HEALTHY HABITS FOR A LIFETIME
Montana No Kid Hungry-PRC VISTAs work to create programs that promote healthy eating habits, cooking skills, and social awareness to help students grow into healthy, productive, community-minded citizens.
- Developing basic curriculum on general nutrition, health, and wellness topics to enhance the existing curriculum.
- Launching School Wellness Campaigns to create a community-driven commitment towards the lasting health of students.
- Expanding procurement partnerships to increase fresh, local, and culturally significant foods in school meals (ideally partnering with Farm to School and Montana Harvest of the Month).
- Seeking out champions to spearhead the work of The Family Dinner Project to bring this positive, family-centered program to the community.
3: RAISE AWARENESS OF FOOD INSECURITY BY EMPOWERING YOUTH TO ADVOCATE FOR THE PROSPERITY OF THEIR COMMUNITIES
We educate communities about the realities of hunger and poverty, and empower citizens to make a change through community engagement and student projects.
- Engaging students and community members to develop a fun anti-hunger/anti-poverty program, fostering a spirit of civic engagement and philanthropy in kids of all ages.
- Building coalitions to bring together local anti-hunger workers, organizations, businesses, initiatives and institutions.
- Organizing general community outreach and education to raise awareness of local hunger issues and the availability of local resources/aid for those in need.
- Develop new events/celebrations and recruit youth leaders/community members to raise awareness and money for ending childhood hunger in Montana, especially during Fight Childhood Hunger Week.
“I have found that Breakfast in the Classroom has brought my students together as a community. They are better at sharing, teamwork, and they have formed a caring outlook for one another that I have not seen all year long... More friendships have been formed through this program, and I do not see bullying. I have seen their love for learning go up because they all have full bellies.”
- Katie Kuka, 2nd Grade Teacher, Browning Elementary School
“More kids are coming to school, and they are coming for breakfast. Before we started Breakfast in the Classroom, some kids found it easier to stay home, even if they weren’t getting food there, just to avoid being hungry at school.”
- Nicole Heintzelman, Sixth Grade Teacher, West Elementary, Great Falls Public Schools
“The teachers all love Breakfast in the Classroom, they really do. Kids are coming in, they’re focused and quiet at the beginning of the day because they know what the routine is: have breakfast, work on whatever the teacher has for them, put away their things, and boom, they’re on to their regular day. So, the teachers have nothing but praise for this program.”
- Ron Ricketts, Principal, Kennedy Elementary, Butte Public Schools
To learn more about the Montana No Kid Hungry-PRC AmeriCorps VISTA Program, contact Linda Cleatus (School Breakfast Coordinator) at LCleatus@mt.gov or 406-444-3925.
THE DEADLINE FOR APPLYING TO BE A 2018-2019 HOST SITE IS MARCH 2ND, 2018.