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Love Your Block - Vista Position

About Cities of Service

A national nonprofit organization, Cities of Service helps mayors and city leaders tap the knowledge, creativity, and service of citizens to solve public problems and create vibrant cities. The organization provides technical assistance, programmatic support, planning resources, and funding opportunities to cities and their leadership.

Founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cities of Service was initially incubated within Bloomberg Philanthropies and began operating as an independent entity in February 2014. Today, Cities of Service supports a coalition of more than 240 cities whose mayors and chief executives represent nearly 65 million people in 45 states, and more than 10 million people in the UK.

Position Overview

Cities of Service is seeking AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve in ten city halls as part of its new Love Your Block program starting in September 2018. Situated on the Ohio River, the City of Huntington is in the tristate area of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. The metro area population is around 361,000, while the City of Huntington is just under 50,000.

Love your Block is a high-impact service strategy that connects city leaders with community residents to help revitalize their neighborhoods one block at a time. Typically, city officials provide mini-grants that support volunteer-fueled solutions developed by the community. Whether turning vacant lots into community gardens, removing graffiti, or helping elderly neighbors with simple home repairs that allow them to keep their homes, citizen volunteers are making their neighborhoods — and their cities — better places to live.

Love Your Block AmeriCorps VISTA members will plan, develop, and implement impact volunteering and community engagement initiatives that target blight. Responsibilities will include: Plan and host community meetings; Develop a mini-grant process with supporting materials; Conduct outreach through grant application info sessions in target neighborhoods; Assist Love Your Block project leaders in the recruitment and management of community volunteers; Cultivate partnerships among stakeholders such as community organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, neighborhoods associations, and block groups; Maintain a database of Love Your Block projects and partners; Write stories about the impact of the Love Your Block projects; Interview community members affected by Love Your Block projects; and Secure funding to sustain and expand Love Your Block.

Project Area

The West Huntington neighborhood is a thriving but challenged neighborhood west of the central business district home to the local food and farmers market, a bustling antiques district and a diversity of housing and commercial options. The area has struggled with problems including environmental pollution, crime, drug use, and lack of neighborhood cohesion that have spread from the pervasive presence of dilapidated and/or vacant buildings or lots. Since 2012 the Mayor of Huntington and a gathering of citizens and community groups have been meeting as the River to Rail committee to address these concerns. The initiatives of the River to Rail Committee include creating district plans, increasing beautification and public art, and supporting entrepreneurs. The ultimate vision of the Initiative is that West Huntington is a thriving, safe, walkable, family-friendly community where residents enjoy a high quality of life and which serves as a welcoming gateway into the City of Huntington.

Duration and Compensation

This is a one-year, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA commitment commencing in September 2018. A stipend is provided and an additional end of service award is provided contingent on successful completion of the service year.

To Apply

Visit https://my.americorps.gov/. Click Apply to Serve and create an account, or log in with an existing username and password.  Search opportunities for “Love Your Block.” Submit an application.