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Frequently Asked Questions Oregon Campus Compact Promoting the
Oregon Campus Compact Summer VISTA Corps: Site Supervisor FAQs www.oregoncampuscompact.org www.americorps.gov Table of Contents THE PARTNERS 1) What is Ninth Grade Counts? 2) What is Oregon Campus Compact? 3) What is AmeriCorps? What is VISTA? THE SUMMER VISTA CORPS PROGRAM 4) Who will these ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members be? 5) When will they serve? 6) What hours should the Summer VISTA Corps Members serve? 7) What will they be doing? 8) What restrictions are placed on the Summer VISTA Corps Members’ service? 9) What will Summer VISTA Corps Members receive in exchange for their service? 10) Who pays the living allowance and who provides the benefits? 11) Can sites pay the member to subsidize their small living allowance? 12) Will ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members be volunteers or employees? RECRUITMENT, PLACEMENT, and TRAINING 13) What will the sites’ role be in the recruitment and selection process? 14) What about background checks? 15) What training will Summer VISTA Corps Members need/receive? MEMBER SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT 16) How much supervision will the Summer VISTA Corps Members need? 17) What kind of support is available for Site Supervisors? 18) What are the evaluation requirements? 19) What happens if a Member has an accident or is injured? 20) What happens if a Member has an extended illness or a debilitating accident? 21) How do site supervisors discipline Members? 22) What happens if a Member quits? 23) Why are there so many AmeriCorps policies? (It is really necessary to follow them all? 24) What are some of the policies? 25) I, or my Member, have/has a question or a problem. Who should I contact? 26) I can’t get a hold of the ORCC Staff and it’s an emergency, or I do not feel comfortable approaching the ORCC Staff with this issue. POST SUMMER 27) Will these resources be available next summer? 28) How do I get more information about accessing national service resources? THE PARTNERS 1) What is Ninth Grade Counts? The current round of Oregon Campus Compact (ORCC) Summer VISTA Corps Members will complete their service with organizations participating in Ninth Grade Counts. Ninth Grade Counts is an initiative of the Portland Schools Foundation designed to increase graduation rates in Portland and Multnomah County school districts by supporting students through the crucial 9th grade transition. As the first project launched from the Connected by 25 initiative, Ninth Grade Counts represents a communitywide effort to support the vision that all Portland youth are connected to school, work, and community by the age of 25. 2) What is Oregon Campus Compact? ORCC is an organization dedicated to promoting service-learning, civic engagement, and community service on college and university campuses across the state of Oregon. We are one of many state affiliate chapters of Campus Compact, a national organization. We serve campus members in a variety of ways, only some of which are through our partnership with AmeriCorps and CNCS. For the ORCC Summer VISTA Corps project, ORCC will serve as a liaison between placement sites (you) and AmeriCorps and CNCS. We will work together with you during the recruitment and selection process, provide Members with pre-service training, and be available as a resource to you and your Members throughout their service terms. The goal is to support you and your Members so that your program may be successful. 3) What is AmeriCorps? What is VISTA? AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. AmeriCorps* VISTA is a branch of AmeriCorps designed specifically to fight poverty. ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members will be AmeriCorps*VISTA Summer Associates. For more information on AmeriCorps or CNSC, visit www.AmeriCorps.gov or www.nationalservice.org. Please refer all AmeriCorps and VISTA-related questions that your Member may have to ORCC. The Role of CNCS: Oversees all AmeriCorps*VISTA projects in the state; Is ultimately responsible for the selection and termination of the AmeriCorps*VISTA members (including VISTA Summer Associates); Assists VISTAs with benefits, education award, living stipend, workers’ compensation, etc.; Provides funding to larger AmeriCorps*VISTA projects, such as ORCC, to act as an intermediary organization for CNCS; And monitors progress toward achieving national program goals and priorities THE SUMMER VISTA CORPS PROGRAM 4) Who will these ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members be? Oregon Campus Compact will be recruiting primarily from the student body of local universities and colleges. We are actively recruiting students with experience working with youth and/or academic backgrounds in Education, Social Work, and other related fields. The position is open to non-college students and sites are encouraged to reach out through their networks to make sure that their positions are filled. More information on recruitment and placement can be found below. 5) When will they serve? Members will serve full-time for a term beginning on June 15 and lasting for ten weeks through August 21st. 6) What hours should the Summer VISTA Corps Members serve? While VISTAs are required to be available to their communities “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”, this does not mean that they should be working extensive hours—please work with your Members to help them achieve balance in their lives. It is ORCC’s policy that Members should serve full-time for your organization, meaning that if your organization works a 37.5 hour week, then your Member should serve that amount of time per week. When, during the week, these hours are served depends on the needs of your organization; Summer Associates are not required to work a regular 8-5 schedule. Due to the short term of service, there is no vacation time or personal time allocated for the member. 7) What will they be doing? Members should be engaged in program development (recruitment, material development, evaluation, marketing) and implementation activities (tutoring, leading field trips, activity leaders.) VISTA Members are not to complete data entry or administrative functions such as filing. Their role is to build the capacity of the program and organization. 8) What restrictions are placed on the Summer VISTA Corps Members’ service? No Employment Like VISTAs who serve for a full year, VISTA Summer Associates are required to be available to their community “24 hours a day, 7 days a week”, which means that Members cannot hold jobs in addition to their VISTA service. No Educational Courses (Unless required for Pell Grant Eligibility) In order to ensure VISTA Summer Associates are available to their communities and organizations when necessary, full-time enrollment is prohibited. Part-time enrollment is also prohibited unless it is required for Pell Grant Eligibility; if so, then a Member may take 6 credit hours or less. No Religious or Political Activities While On-Duty As AmeriCorps is a federally funded program, VISTA Summer Associates cannot participate in political or religious activities while they are on duty or are perceived to be on duty. Any political advocacy, organizing, promotion, or demonstration is prohibited. Members may not conduct religious instruction, engage in proselytizing, or other religious activities as part of their duties. If you have questions about whether or not a certain activity is permissible, please contact ORCC. 9) What will Summer VISTA Corps Members receive in exchange for their service? Members will receive a small bi-weekly stipend to help cover living expenses. This living allowance is set at about 105% of the poverty level in the area in which the program is located. Upon completion of service, Members will be eligible to receive a $1000 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or a $200 monetary award. In addition, Members will gain valuable professional experience and the ability to network with the local and national AmeriCorps community and Alumni Network. A little more on the Education Award: The Education Award can be used towards tuition at schools that are considered Title IV institutions—this includes most universities, colleges, and graduate schools. It can also be used to repay Federal student loans. The intricacies of using the Ed. Award can get complicated—please refer your Members to ORCC if they have questions. 10) Who pays the living allowance and who provides the benefits? The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides the living allowance, and workers’ compensation to the AmeriCorps*VISTA Summer Associates in the ORCC Summer VISTA Corps. The living allowance is paid in equal installments every two weeks. CNCS also provides the Education Award or monetary award upon successful completion of the term of service. Members serving in Multnomah and Washington Counties, receive a living allowance of approx. $399 bi-weekly (minus federal tax). 11) Can sites pay the member to subsidize their small living allowance? Cash subsidies to the living allowance are not permitted. Summer VISTA Corps Members will commit to a summer of service, not a regular job. They are provided with a small living allowance to cover basic living expenses so they can devote their time to service. However, your organization or the community can help your Member in other ways: Provide a vehicle for your Member to use for service or a bus pass; Give your Member gift certificates for gasoline, oil changes, and groceries; Provide your Member with reduced cost or free membership to a gym/community center; Offer your Member lunch tickets to the school or office cafeteria. 12) Will ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members be volunteers or employees? As AmeriCorps*VISTA Summer Associates ORCC Summer VISTA Corps Members are not employees, and it is important to make a distinction between your Summer VISTA Corps Members and regular staff at your organization. The terms “employee”, “employment”, “staff”, “wages”, “paycheck”, or any other term that implies that a Member’s service is employment do not apply. That being said, Summer VISTA Corps Members will not be traditional volunteers, either—they are national service members, VISTA Summer Associates with Oregon Campus Compact, who are completing their service at your organization. Like many AmeriCorps Members, Summer VISTA Corps Members will receive a small stipend to cover their basic needs. RECRUITMENT, PLACEMENT, and TRAINING 13) What will the sites’ role be in the recruitment and selection process? Please see the document entitled “Recruitment Process for ORCC Summer VISTA Corps” included in this packet or on ORCC’s website. 14) What about background checks? Each member will have a sex offender registry check. If the site requires a background check, the background check is the responsibility of the site. 15) What training will Summer VISTA Corps Members need/receive? ORCC will conduct a two-day Pre-Service Orientation, during which the Members will learn about VISTA: the terms, conditions, and benefits of their service, the Education Award. In addition, Members will learn about program development, positive youth development and cultural responsiveness. The agenda for the pre-service orientation will be shared with site supervisors and supervisors are invited to attend any or all sessions. ORCC will also provide on-going professional development opportunities and a final celebration as the members finish. Site supervisors will be informed of all opportunities and are invited to attend as time allows. It is the responsibility of the site to orient and train their Members for their specific duties. ORCC expects that all sites will prepare and implement an orientation plan, which introduces their Members to the organizations at which they will be serving. Please see the “Orientation Checklist” in this packet or on ORCC’s website. How much initial training a Member will need will depend on his or her particular previous experience. Sites will need to evaluate what training will be necessary. ORCC recommends that sites have a work plan that outlines tasks for the first few weeks in place before the Summer VISTA Corps Members begin—once they have been oriented, Members will be eager to get to work! As VISTA is a professional development opportunity, Members will be seeking to build and improve upon their skills throughout their service term; please encourage and support your Members as they aim to better themselves and serve your organization more effectively. MEMBER SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT 16) How much supervision will the Summer VISTA Corps Members need? This will depend on the experience and skills that your Member brings to his or her position and the demands of the position itself. ORCC expects that site supervisors will meet face-to- face with their Members for at least one hour per week, check in with their Members daily, and be easily accessible. It is important that the supervisor be available as a resource for their Members when needed. ORCC expects that site supervisors will make every effort possible to ensure that Members have the support and guidance they need to succeed in their positions. 17) What kind of support is available for Site Supervisors? ORCC staff members will be available throughout the summer to answer any questions or help resolve any problems relating to AmeriCorps policies and procedures. In addition, ORCC staff will assist if any issues arise (see below for examples) between the site or site supervisor and Summer VISTA Corps Members. ORCC has many resources available on supervising national service members. Please contact us if you are interested. 18) What are the evaluation requirements? Each month the Member will be responsible for filling out a timelog. This timelog needs to be signed by the site supervisors, verifying the hours served and activities. The timelog will an on- going evaluation mechanism as the member will report on activities, great stories from their service, and quantitative measures such as number of students reached, and number of contacts with families. 19) What happens if a Member has an accident or is injured? In the event that a Member is injured while performing their service duties, they should: Use his or her health plan for immediate care; Notify the state office and ORCC immediately; Obtain a CA-1 (Notice of Traumatic Injury) or CA-2 (Notice of Occupational Disease or Illness) from the state office and complete them; And, return the form to the state office. 20) What happens if a Member has an extended illness or a debilitating accident? If a Member is unable to resume project duties because of a medical condition, or if it reasonably appears that they are not able to resume project duties, they are subject to medical termination. The Member will be given the opportunity to resign from service in lieu of termination. Sites will not have the opportunity to replace terminated Members. 21) How do site supervisors discipline Members? Since the Summer VISTA Corps Member placed at your site is an AmeriCorps*VISTA Summer Associate with Oregon Campus Compact, ORCC needs to be involved in the process of disciplining your member. Call ORCC staff immediately if you have a disciplinary matter to discuss and we will explore the disciplinary process. In the event of a serious issue, please remember that only the State Office of CNCS has the authority to suspend or terminate Members. Supervisors, however, can request that a Member be removed from their project. Sites will not have the opportunity to replace terminated Members. 22) What happens if a Member quits? Summer VISTA Corps Members will commit to spending the full summer with the program. However, if a Member were to leave mid-service term, they would not receive any portion of their Education Award or monetary award. If a Member leaves mid-service term, the site will not be able to replace them. 23) Why are there so many AmeriCorps policies? (It is really necessary to follow them all?) AmeriCorps is a very large, federally funded program. We understand that there are a large number of policies and procedures which may seem unnecessary or highly bureaucratic, but we cannot overemphasize the importance of complying with all CNCS, AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps*VISTA, and ORCC policies. We ask for your patience and understanding. 24) What are some of the policies? (i) Prohibited Activities See above question on restrictions on service. Hiring and Termination Policies CNCS is ultimately responsible for the selection and termination of AmeriCorps*VISTA Members, including VISTA Summer Associates. Sites may not select or terminate members. They may, however, request that certain Members be placed with them, or, if necessary, that a Member be terminated early. There are different types of termination: Early Termination for Cause Service can be terminated for a variety of reasons to include: conviction of a criminal offense, failure or refusal to perform prescribed project duties, and involvement in activities that substantially interfere with the performance of project duties. Medical Terminations If a Summer Associate is unable to resume project duties because of a medical condition, or if it reasonably appears that they are not able to resume project duties, they are subject to medical termination. The Member will be given the opportunity to resign from service in lieu of termination. (ii) Equal Employment Opportunity AmeriCorps members are entitled to civil rights protections. When evaluating candidates, make only qualitative decisions relevant to the skills required to perform the duties of the position. Ask only questions that relate to essential functions of the position being sought. Do not ask questions relating to: age, marital status, children, dependents or family life (including ability to work overtime or travel), medical conditions or disabilities (commuting arrangements, sick leave, and ability to perform marginal duties), sexual orientation or ethnic or racial background. Please see the documents in this packet entitled “Policies on Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity, and Harassment” and “Civil Rights and Responsibilities of VISTAs.” (iii) Drug Free Work Place The Drug Free Workplace Act requires you, as a sub-grantee of a Federal program to give notice about the Act to your employees and members and to conduct a drug free awareness program. If one of your employees or members is arrested for or convicted of a drug offense, he or she must notify you in writing within five days and you must take appropriate action (including suspension and referral to a drug rehabilitation program, or release for cause consistent with the AmeriCorps rules on termination and suspension of service). You must report the conviction in writing within 10 days to your contact agency, ORCC, which must then notify the Corporation in writing. If program directors do not comply with this law, grants are subject to suspension, termination, or debarment proceedings. Fraternization Policy Please see “VISTA Fraternization Policy” in this packet. 25) I, or my Member, have/has a question or a problem. Who should I contact? Your first course of action should be to contact the ORCC staff: Emily Gilliland ORCC Executive Director Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Phone: (503)-725-8140 Cell: (503)-935-4846 Please direct Recruitment-related questions to: Elizabeth Wells-Thulin VISTA Program Assistant Email: email@example.com Office Phone: 503-725-2659 Cell: (425)-802-4153 26) I can’t get a hold of the ORCC Staff and it’s an emergency, or I do not feel comfortable approaching the ORCC Staff with this issue. Your second option is to contact the State Office of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Stephanie Wrightsman Program Specialist Office Phone: (503)-326-3304 Amy Dailey State Director Office Phone: (503)-326-3304 POST SUMMER 27) Will these resources be available next summer? The ORCC Summer VISTA Program is providing through resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As such these are one-time only resources. Future resources will be pursued in hopes of continuing the program. 28) How do I get more information about accessing national service resources? The Executive Director of Oregon Campus Compact can provide on-going referrals to national service resources and will hold an information session for folks who are interested in learning more about national service and available resources. If we have not covered a question you have, please contact Emily Gilliland, Executive Director of Oregon Campus Compact at 503-725-8140 or Emily@oregoncampuscompact.org.
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