Rochester Youth Year is an AmeriCorps VISTA-sponsored social justice fellowship that strives to eradicate poverty for Rochester youth and families, strengthen communities, and promote community-centered leadership. VISTAs perform indirect, capacity-building service for their host organizations to create, expand, and sustain asset-based, anti-poverty initiatives.


Capacity-building activities enhance the mission and strategy, as well as the systems and infrastructure, of an organization. They are services that enable organizations to provide more, better, and sustained direct services that address community needs.

Examples of indirect services:

    • Recruiting, training, and managing volunteers
    • Building community partnerships
    • Writing grants or fundraising for specific projects
    • Strategic planning and research
    • Assessing program effectiveness
    • Improving mechanisms and procedures to be more efficient and effective

Examples of direct service:

    • Tutoring students
    • Participating in a student support circle
    • Managing social services caseloads
    • Performing overly administrative tasks


Rochester Youth Year members serve with a community organization for 365 days from the start of their service. VISTA is a 24/7 commitment. This does not mean that a VISTA member is always on call, but instead that the VISTA member should be available for evening and weekend needs as they arise. RYY VISTAs are expected to serve as a full-time team member at their organization, averaging 35-40 hours per week. Members should receive flex time off for any hours served over this limit.

Although VISTAs are technically “volunteers,” they are so much more than that. They are invested, valuable members of the team. They think critically and creatively about how to improve processes and expand services.


Unlike other programs, Rochester Youth Year is geographically bound to the greater Rochester, NY region. This means that we are able to bring our corps together multiple times per month for personal and professional development, member support, and team networking

We recognize that VISTA service is more than the hours spent on-site. It’s also the experience of learning to live modestly, getting to know a new community, and, for many, embracing the challenges of independent adulthood for the first time. Our team, and your fellow VISTAs, are here as a resource for all of the ups and downs of service.


Rochester Youth Year seeks passionate graduating seniors to take up the fight against institutional poverty by serving in the 2018-2019 service cycle beginning in August 2018. If you’re interested in taking a year ON, apply here.

If your organization is interested in hosting a member for the 2018-2019 service year, please apply here.