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AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member – Volunteer Program Development

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Posted: 06/09/2017

Three Rivers DDA/Main Street

AmeriCorps VISTA Service Member – Volunteer Program Development
Internship Opportunity
Three Rivers, MI

About the Organization:

With a downtown located between the confluences of the St. Joseph, Rocky, and Portage Rivers, Three Rivers is true to its name. It is a popular summer destination for Chicago-area residents, and a manufacturing center with a thriving arts and recreation community. The historic downtown district and surrounds offer many options for shopping and dining, is fully surrounded by city parks, and is the focus of a concentrated and strategic redevelopment program. The Riviera Theatre, located downtown, is one of the oldest operating theaters in Southwest Michigan, and includes one of several tastefully-renovated drinking and dining establishments. Other parks and recreational opportunities in and near Three Rivers include lake and riverside parks, nature trails, boat launches, and canoe and kayak rentals.

Though somewhat economically challenged—with below-average wages and real estate values, the community has a lot to offer. It is an hour’s drive or less from four major population centers, including South Bend, Elkhart, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, as well as the busy I-80/90 corridor, and only slightly further from Jackson, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. It possesses one of the most intact, Victorian downtowns in the state of Michigan, several active and thriving arts and cultural organizations, a well-reputed high school arts and extracurricular program, and an abundance of businesses specializing in indoor and outdoor sports and recreation.

The Michigan Main Street Center (MMS) helps communities develop downtown districts that attract both residents and businesses, promote commercial investment, and spur economic growth. The Three Rivers Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Main Street program operates as a semi-independent agency of the City of Three Rivers, and is a Select-Level Main Street Community through MMS. With community-wide support at the grassroots, municipal, and business levels, the DDA has been the driving force behind a rapidly-growing movement to revitalize downtown. Our volunteers, business owners, and paid staff work together to plan and implement successful strategies for revitalizing our authentic and historic downtown.

Position Description:

The VISTA member will work under the direct supervision of the Three Rivers Main Street Executive Director, with a primary focus on expanding and adding structure to the volunteer program. This may include:

  • General analysis of, and improvement to, volunteer recruitment / retention practices
  • Creating a complete set of volunteer position descriptions for anticipated volunteer opportunities
  • Updating volunteer intake procedures, planning and establishing effective scheduling and communication plans for volunteers
  • Creating templates for volunteer recruitment initiatives
  • Providing opportunities for volunteers to give feedback on their experiences
  • Measuring the perceived and real impact of their service
  • Making recommendations for a system of continuous quality improvement in the program
  • Communicating regularly with Main Street businesses, volunteers, and collaborative partners to evaluate and plan for volunteer needs
  • Assisting in preparation for events and programs to evaluate existing volunteer program efficacy and make recommendations for improvement
  • Establishing and building relationships, and making recommendations for collaborative partnerships and programs with, potentially compatible organizations in the community

The VISTA member will learn about and execute all projects based on the four over-arching priorities of the Three Rivers DDA/Main Street program:

  • Building Relationships (locate opportunities to establish collaborative partnerships)
  • Communication (volunteer recruitment, scheduling, and preparation)
  • Educations & Awareness (volunteer training)
  • Comprehensive Approach (learn the Main Street Four-Point approach to redevelopment, and evaluate and make recommendations for program improvement based on this strategy)

The VISTA member will also attend occasional trainings, and must perform regular reporting of hours and work progress to CEDAM VISTA program administrators.

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Applicants should have a working knowledge of computers and all various Microsoft office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook)
  • Basic knowledge of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Storify, as well as other relevant and necessary social media applications)
  • Knowledge of MailChimp.com preferred, but not required
  • Applicants should display a positive attitude at all times, be outgoing, have a strong work ethic, and possess a willingness to learn
  • Must possess good creative and technical writing skills
  • Excellent oral, written, and communication skills
  • Should be self-motivated, organized, and proactive

Education & Experience:

The applicant should major or possess a degree in either Communications, Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising and Promotions, Journalism, Tourism and Travel, Community & Regional Planning, Social Work, Historic Preservation, or other closely related field. An upper level undergraduate is preferred, but not required. Paid or volunteer service experience in community development, civic improvement, or other similar work is also helpful but not required.


All AmeriCorps VISTA members receive the following benefits:*

  • Modest living allowance of around $12,000 annually
  • Choice of $5,815 Eli Segal Education Award or $1,500 cash award at completion of service year
  • Health care assistance
  • Child care, if eligible
  • Sponsored training opportunities through CEDAM and the VISTA program

The service member will otherwise be subject to City of Three Rivers employment policies, and will be eligible for vacation time and other benefits.

In addition, the Three Rivers DDA/Main Street program is able to offer housing at no cost if needed through one of our community partner organizations. This is a year-round option with private quarters in a house that is shared by interns and other service members of the partner organization for part of the year, and is subject to the final approval of that organization.

*Requirements: Be a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent U.S. alien; Be at least 18 years of age (there is no upper age limit!); Have a willingness to serve full time for a year; Possess an education or life-skills that will help you be successful in your placement; and Have a passion for giving back!

OPen until

How to apply
Please apply no later than 11:59 pm, June 25, 2017. To begin, interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, and 2-3 references to threeriversdda@gmail.com or to the mailing address listed. Once we have received an application, applicants may be asked to complete brief, further online materials through the CEDAM website. For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact David Vago at (269) 535-5145.
David Vago
Phone: (269) 535-5145
Three Rivers DDA/Main Street
57 North Main Street
Three Rivers, MI 49093

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