Senators Carper, Coons applaud addition of new AmeriCorps VISTA program to help visually, hearing impaired Delawareans

Program will establish six new positions to create sustainable volunteer infrastructure for hearing, visually impaired Delawareans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) applauded the addition of six new AmeriCorps VISTA members to Delaware to serve at the Delaware Health and Social Services, Division for the Visually Impaired.

The new AmeriCorps VISTA members will be working with multiple community-based organizations to strengthen volunteer programs serving blind, visually impaired, deaf, and/or hard of hearing individuals in Delaware. These programs are focused in the areas of special education, workforce development, and transportation assistance. The goal of the project is to create a sustainable volunteer infrastructure throughout the state so the target population can be better served for years to come.

AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for one year at non-profit organizations, faith-based institutions, or local government agencies, multiplying their impact and building their capacity to carry out essential projects.

”I have long believed that there is no greater joy in life than serving others, and that is the AmeriCorps mission,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “I welcome these young men and women who will help our state’s visually and hearing impaired population better navigate community services and improve their lives. I hope they will be impacted by their mission just as much as the Delawareans they help.”

“This is outstanding news for Delaware and for Delawareans who are visually and hearing impaired, and also a wonderful opportunity for VISTA participants to serve these communities,” said Senator Coons. “I’ve seen firsthand AmeriCorps VISTA’s positive impacts in Delaware and across the country, and I’m thrilled we’re going to be able to bolster our roster of people working in Delaware through national service.”

These positions will be funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) at $127,000.

AmeriCorps VISTA members will recruit and retain volunteers that will help blind, visually impaired, deaf and hearing impaired individuals in the following ways: guide them through the Delaware Department of Labor processes; help them navigate through continuing education programs; provide mobility services, including assistance with public transportation and help them break down communication barriers. Members will be placed in New Castle and Sussex Counties, and will also be responsible for forming strategic partnerships, advertising, outreach, and developing statistical data sheets and narrative case reports.