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Frequently Asked Questions Oregon Campus Compact Promoting the

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Frequently Asked Questions Oregon Campus Compact Promoting the Powered By Docstoc
					                                     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:                         emily@oregoncampuscompact.org
Office Phone:                  (503)-725-8140        Cell:   (503)-935-4846
Please direct Recruitment-related questions to:
Elizabeth Wells-Thulin           VISTA Program Assistant
Email:                           elizabeth@oregoncampuscompact.org
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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