Search Georgia 4-H
     About Georgia 4-H
Support Georgia 4-H
Join Georgia 4-H

Activities & Events
Georgia 4-H Foundation
Georgia 4-H Facilities
Environmental Education
Inside Georgia 4-H

Program Glossary
Staff Directory
Email Us
Book Reviews

Georgia 4-H Home

Learn More

The History of Americorps VISTA

Community service and volunteerism have always been a vital force in American life. Throughout history, our nation has relied on the dedication and action of citizens to tackle our biggest challenges.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy envisioned a national service corps “to help provide urgently needed services in urban and rural poverty areas.” Less than two years later, President Lyndon B. Johnson realized Kennedy's dream by launching the “War on Poverty.” Johnson welcomed the first group of 20 VISTA volunteers saying, “Your pay will be low; the conditions of your labor often will be difficult. But you will have the satisfaction of leading a great national effort and you will have the ultimate reward which comes to those who serve their fellow man.”

VISTA, like Head Start and other lasting antipoverty programs, was created by The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to serve the needs of the poorest Americans.

Remember together we can make a difference!



Everyday across the nation AmeriCorps VISTA members are tackling America's toughest problems in:

  • Disasters Services
  • Economic Opportunity
  • Education
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Healthy Futures
  • Veterans and Military Families
VISTA logo
Georgia 4-H is also very active in all of these area, making the partnership between Georgia 4-H and the AmeriCorps VISTA program an ideal situation.


Georgia 4-H currently has 6 Americorps VISTA members, serving Calhoun County, Colquitt County, Houston County, Lowndes County, and 2 in the State Office in Athens-Clarke County. These VISTA members have all chosen to spend at least one year working with Georgia 4-H to work with fund development, marketing, and volunteer management. The VISTA members come at no cost to Georgia 4-H, but do receive a small housing allowance and health benefit plan from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Together these VISTAs have developed over $100,000 in cash resources and over $20,000 in non-cash resources helping Georgia 4-H to "make the best better."

The VISTA programming within Georgia 4-H is overseen by Jeff Buckley and Melinda Miller.

Georgia 4-H and AmeriCorps VISTA are ideal partners, as we are both committed to preparing youth to become educated, prosperous and contributing members of society. As documented in the 4-H Study on Positive Youth Development, youth who are involved in quality youth development programming, like 4-H, are more likely to be successful in school, avoid risky behaviors and be more motivated to pursue higher education. The AmeriCorps VISTA Program is focused on providing support to increase the capacity of organizations with the goal of eliminating poverty. As a result of this collaborative effort, Georgia 4-H has been able to employ five (soon to be six) VISTA members who focus on fund development, volunteer recruitment and marketing. These outstanding VISTA members have already made great contributions in these areas, in only the first year of the program. Georgia 4-H is extremely pleased to be a part of the VISTA program and we look forward to sharing more of the great things we are accomplishing as a result of these resources.

-Jeff Buckley
The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An equal opportunity/affirmative action organization committed to a diverse work force.