FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2010

CONTACT: Chris Gallegos
(202) 224-6414

COCHRAN SALUTES 45th ANNIVERSARY OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

VISTA Engages Volunteers Across Mississippi & Nation to Combat Poverty

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is the original cosponsor of Senate resolution that highlights the 45th anniversary of VISTA, the Volunteers In Service to America program created in 1965 to foster grassroots activities aimed at fighting poverty.

Cochran and U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced S.Res.425 to commemorate the VISTA anniversary. VISTA, which was incorporated in 1993 into AmeriCorps, remains active in Mississippi with nearly 1,000 volunteers at 21 program sites today.

“VISTA has been hard at work in the fight against poverty for 45 years. Today, the VISTA program is stronger than ever, placing 6,500 full-time volunteers at 1,200 nonprofit organizations and public agencies every year,” Cochran said.

“I commend the program’s work in Mississippi, the sacrifices that are being made by so many young volunteers and the important impact they are making in our communities,” he said. “The grassroots community service aspect of the VISTA program is what has made it an effective component in our state’s ongoing struggle to overcome poverty.”

The Rockefeller-Cochran resolution has been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The measure reviews the history and accomplishments of the program, including its ability to harness funding and in-kind services to address poverty by “fighting illiteracy, improving health services, reducing unemployment, increasing housing opportunities, reducing crime and recidivism, and expanding access to technology.”

The resolution resolves that the Senate “recognizes VISTA members for leveraging human, financial, and material resources to increase the ability of thousands of low-income areas across the country to address challenges and improve their communities; and encourages the continued commitment of VISTA members to creating and expanding programs designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.”

Related links:
· AmeriCorps VISTA
http://www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp
· Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service
http://www.mcvs.org/