Erin Balleine: Americorps VISTA and Florida Literacy

As you may know, the Florida Literacy Coalition has partnered with AmeriCorps*VISTA to place VISTA volunteers in community based literacy organizations throughout the state.  AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) provides full-time members to nonprofit, community organizations, and public agencies to create and expand programs that ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.

AmeriCorps*VISTA members leverage human, financial, and material resources to increase the capacity of low-income communities across the country to solve their own problems.  Currently, VISTAs within our statewide project work on 3 main goals including:

  1. Financial Literacy
  2. College/Career Pathways
  3. At least one of the following
    1. Health Literacy
    2. Family Literacy
    3. Prison Re-entry
    4. GED/TOEFL readiness

VISTAs must work on the projects mentioned above, they must have a desk, computer and phone and have a full time supervisor.  Sites pay a $500 administrative fee to the Florida Literacy Coalition per year for a full time (35-40 hours a week) VISTA placement.

VISTAs are paid a small living stipend ($10,692) through the Corporation of National and Community Service and receive health care and their choice of a educational award worth $5550 or a $1500 cash award at the end of their service.

Our partnership with AmeriCorps*VISTA has been incredibly successful over the past 7 years.  Over the past year, statewide, our VISTAs have recruited over 1000 volunteers and solicited almost half a million dollars in cash and non-cash resources.  Organizations have benefited greatly from the services that a full time VISTA member has been able to provide to the organization and the community!

If you are interested in becoming a VISTA site, contact me at or 407-246-7110 X202.

You can also find more information about VISTA at or

Celebrate Literacy at the 2010 State Literacy Awards Banquet

StarfishWe hope you’ll join us for the 2010 State Literacy Awards taking place at 6:30 p.m.,  Thursday, May 6.  Every year we have the privilege of honoring three individuals and three organizations for their hard work and dedication to the literacy cause throughout Florida!

This year is no different! We had a competitive bunch of nominees and our awards committee had a tough time narrowing it down to just one winner from each category! As tough as it was, the task at hand has been completed, which leads us to the celebration!

Joining us for the banquet is Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson.  She will share sources of inspiration for her new book, Testing the Ice, and her observations of how reading gives people the confidence help change the world.

We have experienced record-breaking sales of banquet tickets this year! Be sure to reserve your ticket early as they are limited.  Tickets are $25 for conference attendees and $30 for other guests.

Reserve your ticket one of two ways:

  1. Fill out a registration form with just the banquet ticket information and fax it to (407)246-7104
  2. Contact Erin Balleine at (407) 246-7110 ext 202.  She will be happy to process your request via email/phone.

If you are unable to reserve your ticket before the conference, be sure to purchase it during registration. All ticket sales will cease at 5 p.m., Wednesday May 5. 

Also, be sure to join FLC for the Annual Champagne Reception preceding the State Literacy Awards Banquet at 5:30 p.m.  To RSVP contact David Wagner.  The event is reserved for FLC members and for banquet attendees.