About Cities of Service
Cities of Service helps mayors build stronger cities by changing the way local government and residents work together. We help our coalition cities tap into resident insights, skills, and service to identify and solve critical public problems. Founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cities of Service supports a coalition of more than 280 cities, representing more than 84 million people across the Americas and Europe. Now situated at Johns Hopkins University, you can learn more about Cities of Service at citiesofservice.jhu.edu and by following us on Twitter @citiesofservice.
Since its founding, Cities of Service has helped cities implement change through the use of its Impact Volunteering strategy. This signature strategy engages resident volunteers to identify and solve pressing public problems alongside municipal government. It is a participatory process in which residents and city officials develop a shared vision, set short- and long-term goals for their community, and then work together to achieve those goals. As partners, they communicate throughout the process and reflect on their work – discussing and evaluating what they have done and holding themselves accountable for results.
About Love Your Block
The Cities of Service Love Your Block program brings city leaders and residents together to build stronger neighborhoods, one block at a time. Typically, cities implementing Love Your Block invite community groups to identify priority projects and award mini-grants to support neighborhood-driven solutions that the community can implement. From turning vacant lots into community gardens to helping elderly neighbors with home repairs to avoid fines and safely age in place, resident volunteers are “loving their blocks” and making them, and their cities, better places to live.
The benefits of Love Your Block go well beyond physical improvements. A 2021 Urban Institute study found that social networks sparked by deep resident-to-city-hall engagement can instigate neighborhood-level improvements in addition to larger, sustainable improvements to municipal practices and policies. Love Your Block activates and builds social networks between residents, their neighbors, and city hall. This resident-to-city hall engagement can lead to collective efficacy that is often bidirectional: city officials can leverage neighborhood social capital in service of mayoral goals and residents can leverage greater responsiveness from officials to address their needs and priorities. In other words, Love Your Block is a starting point for cities to more meaningfully engage their residents and improve their communities in holistic and sustainable ways.
Position Overview: Cities of Service is seeking an AmeriCorps VISTA Leader to be based out of the Johns Hopkins University, Center for Public Innovation office in Baltimore, Maryland. The VISTA Leader will offer coaching, professional development and technical assistance to a cohort of 12 AmeriCorps VISTA members located in eight cities around the country and will report to a Senior Advisor.
VISTA Leader responsibilities include:
- Conduct regular check-in calls with each VISTA member
- Participate in check-in calls with Love Your Block program leads in grantee cities
- Foster a community of practice among VISTA members and Love Your Block Fellows by hosting webinars, developing resources, and facilitating group calls
- Provide project management support around metrics and photo collection, reporting, and planning to grantee cities
- Manage VISTA administrative record keeping, including paid time off, monthly reports, call notes, and other items as needed
- Ensure that VISTA members collect and document project metrics and photos from mini-grant projects
- Share VISTA members’ and Fellows’ work with a broader audience through a monthly newsletter, written reports, and other mediums
- Provide tools, techniques, and guidance to enhance project stability and sustainability
- Support recruitment and orientation of highly qualified VISTAs as needed
- Make recommendations to improve the existing Love Your Block program systems and processes
The Love Your Block AmeriCorps VISTA Leader’s term of service begins on November 8, 2021. The VISTA Leader will support one to two AmeriCorps VISTAs in each of the following cities:
- Albany, New York
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- El Paso, Texas
- Duluth, Minnesota
- Jackson, Tennessee
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Shawnee, Oklahoma
- White Plains, New York
To learn about what some of our previous AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders and members have learned and what they’re doing now, check out some of our AmeriCorps VISTA member profiles on the Cities of Service website.
Duration and Compensation
This is a one-year, full-time AmeriCorps VISTA commitment commencing on November 8, 2021. A living stipend is provided and an additional end-of-service award is provided contingent on successful completion of the service year. Relocation assistance is provided if needed.
- Must have completed at least 1 year of full-time service prior (AmeriCorps or Peace Corps)
- Associate degree or higher preferred. Applicants without a college degree are encouraged to apply if they have 5 years or more of related work experience
- Experience working in community engagement preferred (more specifically, we’re interested in candidates with experience in communications, conducting community outreach, and facilitating training sessions)
- To apply for this position in one of the eight cities, please visit https://my.americorps.gov/;
- Click “Search Listings” (located under the login information);
- Select “AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders” for Program Type;
- Then search for “Love Your Block” under Program Name.