Handbook

This handbook is intended to provide us as fellows with clarifying information and expectations regarding our Fellowship, VistaCorps, Community Engagement as we work through our year of service. Remember that this handbook is specific to MFA. If a VISTA Member has a question about a policy and cannot find an answer in this handbook, the VISTA Member should refer to the VISTA Handbook that can be downloaded at https://americorps.gov/membersvolunteers/vista. VISTA Members should refer to both handbooks before consulting MFA or Site Supervisors.

2022-2023 Program Year

Welcome to Move for America ’s  Fellowship Program & AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership. 

You are the first cohort of this partnership and we are looking forward to supporting you throughout your experience.
 

MFA  has host sites throughout Minnesota, and those sites range from MFA’s partnerships with these sites allowing the host  sites to receive valuable resources and support that may otherwise not be available or accessible. 

Although MFA has one unified work plan that all VISTA Members contribute to through performance measures, there are a vast range of projects VISTA Members work on that are specific to their sites. For a list of MFA’s current placement sites and the VISTA Members currently serving at each site, please visit PSP’s website at: 

https://www.move4america.org/

As you work at your host site, you will have many questions. This handbook is designed as a reference for you to combine with knowledge gained during Virtual Member Orientation (VMO, coordinated by AmeriCorps VISTA) and On-Site Orientation Training (OSOT, coordinated by MFA) to help you navigate your new work environment. 
 

If you have any questions or concerns throughout your year of service, please feel free to contact a member of the MFA Support Team.

 

Libby Steggar: libby@move4america.org

Trina Benson: trina@move4america.org

Shanara Mercer: shanara@move4america.org

 

Mission Statement 

Move for America seeks to recruit and train a generation of young people, preparing them to become the next generation of civic leaders through transformative experiences that develop their cross-culture knowledge, leadership mindset and community engagement skills. 

Vision 

Our Vision is that MFA will serve as a catalyst for political depolarization in America. Through our Fellowship program, emerging leaders will develop strategies to bridge divides and engage community members in civic discourse to develop, implement and sustain their own solutions to their community challenges.

The WHY of MFA
 

Polarization in the United States is rising. Divisions are tearing at the fabric of the U.S. democracy and the relationships of everyday people. Our collective antipathy- “us vs them” mindset has escalated. To bend the curve toward depolarization, we must strengthen our skills and opportunities for civic dialogue and take intentional actions to face our cultural divisions. 

Program Design

To deliver our unique, innovative program, MFA partners with local nonprofit organizations (host sites) and the AmeriCorps VISTA program. 

Through these partnerships, MFA Fellows have multiple individuals supporting their service work and will receive additional professional development and networking opportunities.

Program Structure 

MFA Fellows have multiple supervisors to offer support and guidance through their service year. Here is a brief explanation of their relation and responsibilities:

  • MFA Staff- MFA Executive Director Libby Stegger and MFA support staff will monitor and support the activities of MFA Fellows at all sites and oversee each project on an organizational level. 

  • Host Site Supervisor- Fellows will be assigned a direct/daily supervisor. This supervisor will be responsible for the Fellow assignments and schedules on a day to day basis. This supervisor will collaborate with MFA Supervisors to ensure effective Fellow oversight. 

  • AmeriCorps/AmeriCorps VISTA- In collaboration with MFA staff, federal and regional AmeriCorps offices assist in supporting host sites and MFA Fellows. The federal and regional AmeriCorps offices work closely with MFA administration to ensure compliance with AmeriCorps policies and mandates.

 

Balancing MFA, VISTA, and Host Site Expectations

  • During service, MFA Members create professional objectives to help meet site needs and MFAP project performance measures. These objectives and performance measures are a part of MFA’s project-wide commitment to fulfilling AmeriCorps grant requirements. 

  • MFA Fellows report monthly on the progress of objectives and performance measures by completing online reporting forms and discussing data and impacts at site visits. 

  • MFA Fellows will also have projects and tasks assigned by the Site Supervisors that have been previously approved by MFA Supervisors. 

  • It is the MFA Fellow’s responsibility to collaborate with the Host Site Supervisor to incorporate service objectives and performance measures into a cohesive work plan. MFA Fellows will be supported in this process. 

  • If a problem arises, or if MFA Fellows have a concern while serving at site, MFA Supervisors and AmeriCorps VISTA Leader(s) are happy to assist. 

  • MFA Fellows should always attempt to handle concerns at the site level first through open discussion with the Site Supervisor. Everyone communicates differently, and Site Supervisors may not realize there is a problem unless MFA Fellows express concerns.

  • If MFA Fellows feel like they need support to address concerns, they can talk to the MFA Supervisor to discuss the best course of action to solve the issue. In some cases, a MFA Supervisor may offer to reach out to the Host Site Supervisor.

  • If an issue arises with health benefits, monthly living stipend, end of service award, or other VISTA provided benefits, MFA Fellows can speak to their AmeriCorps  VISTA Leader or contact MFA staff. 

Additional source of income

Fellows are permitted to seek an additional source of income outside of their fellowship. You must discuss this additional job with your host site supervisor and Libby. Coordinate with your outside job and MFA to ensure that there is no overlap in your work and it does not interfere with your community engagement progress. Fellows must complete and submit a form here and it will be processed and reviewed.