Get to Know Emanuel Reid, AmeriCorps VISTA serving in Drew Elementary School

Before becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA, Emanuel had worked on and fundraised for North Carolina congressional campaigns, as well as working with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. For the Chamber he served in the member engagement department assisting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses locally. Seeking a new community to serve in a more hands-on fashion, he found the VISTA program in DC. He now serves at Drew ES in Ward 7.

Working as a school-based VISTA seems to be a perfect fit for Emanuel, because he enjoys working with students and his mother has been a school teacher for over 25 years. In his position he has been finding and managing partners that align with the school’s mission, and makes sure each program runs efficiently by tracking progress and data collection.

One of Emanuel’s biggest accomplishments thus far has been coordinating and facilitating Joyful Food Market’s food drive events at Drew ES. Once a month, in partnership with DC Capital Area Food Bank and Martha’s Table, Joyful Food Market hosts an event in which they donate 25 pounds of free groceries to each student and provide training to parents and volunteers on how to cook different types of meals using fresh food.

AmeriCorps’ dedication to service is an attractive aspect to many members. Emanuel has expressed that being around like-minded people who share the same passion for people, education, and an ability to dive into issues affecting communities is what he enjoys most about being a VISTA.

Join AmeriCorps VISTA

Think you have to choose between helping others or a career? Think again.



  • Ready to kick start your career and gain valuable non-profit management experience? 
  • Do you believe in making a difference in marginalized communities here at home? 
  • What to earn money to pay off your student loans or put towards grad school?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider joining AmeriCorps VISTA after graduating. With AmeriCorps VISTA, you have a chance to live and serve in the community and focus area of your choice. For a one year commitment, you will receive a modest living allowance, a $5,815 education award (to put towards education expenses like student loans), health and childcare coverage, and many more benefits.

Most importantly, you will be working alongside community leaders and local organizations to make a lasting impact in initiatives like:

  • Ensuring all children have access to quality nutrition and education,
  • Securing safe housing for homeless veterans and their families,
  • Helping senior citizens keep their family homes in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods,
  • Enabling sovereign tribal nations to secure and promote their cultural heritage,
  • And thousands more opportunities!

Learn more and Start Your Application

  • The George Washington/DCPS Partnership is hiring AmeriCorps VISTA members now!  Click to learn more about this exciting opportunity!
  • Visit to learn about the program, benefits, and how to apply!
  • See the full list of AmeriCorps VISTA benefits here.

Here at George Washington and DC Public Schools we are specifically looking for AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve as Community Liaisons for DC Public Schools and to serve as a Data and Evaluation Fellow, School Partnerships Fellow, Communications and Training Fellow at DCPS Central Office and a Team Leader.  Start your application today at the link above or contact us at the Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service for more information (Sarah Jennings, 202-994-9903,


What is AmeriCorps VISTA?

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program designed to alleviate poverty. President John F. Kennedy originated the idea for VISTA, which was founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965, and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve full-time for a year in anti-poverty organizations and agencies throughout the nation, working on issues such as fighting illiteracy, improving health services, creating businesses, increasing housing opportunities, improving college access, and bridging the digital divide.

What is the GW/DCPS VISTA Program?

A partnership between The George Washington University and the DC Public School System (DCPS) that places AmeriCorps VISTA Members in Title I schools throughout the city. Our VISTA members serve as School-Community Liaisons for one year and leverage resources, build capacity, and create sustainable infrastructures in three key areas:

• Partner Recruitment, Development, and Evaluation
• Parent/Family and Community Outreach
• Developing opportunities to engage George Washington University

Do I qualify for this VISTA position?

Bachelor's Degree preferred
US Citizen
Proficient in English
Available for a full time commitment

What are the benefits?

Education award upon successful completion of service
Living Allowance
Relocation Allowance
Health Coverage
Professional Development and Training
DC Public School network connections and ID as well as The George Washington's network connections and ID

How do I apply?

Click on the links below to find out more about each description. The 2017-2018 cohort hiring deadline is June 5th and the start data is July 17th. The last day of service will be July 23, 2018.

What are the open positions?

Thank you for your time and please Sarah Jennings, the VISTA Supervisor, with any questions at



Speaking Through Need

And how our community partners are addressing the disparity

By Grace Boone



Turner Elementary School is located in the historic Congress Heights neighborhood in Ward 8, the oldest and most economically disadvantaged ward in Washington DC. The evidence is overwhelming: communities “east of the river” have lower incomes, education levels, life expectancy, quality of life, and the list goes on. Why, you may ask? Gentrification, loss of cultural identity, economic factors, neighborhood disinvestment, systemic injustice, and inequitable distribution of resources are just a few contributing factors. I want to focus briefly on systemic injustice and unequal opportunity.

When I was first interviewed for the VISTA Community Liaison position at Turner, Principal Bethel spoke passionately of the needs at the school, “99% of our students receive free lunches, 90% of our families are on TANF.” Although Turner is committed to academic excellence, to extra-curricular success, in order to get to academic success, we must also be motivated to defeat systemic injustice with our students everyday; to defeat the statistics that African-Americans are more likely to have a teen pregnancy, less likely to graduate from high school, etc. Our community partners help make student success in school and in life a reality. This holistic approach to education is how we stay true to our school slogan: committed to excellence.

A part of the systemic injustice that is playing out in Ward 8 is the lack of access to affordable, healthy foods. Serving as home to over 70,000 residents, the southernmost ward has the fewest number of grocery stores in the district. There are only two, to be exact. There is not enough access to affordable, healthy foods to sustain the population. Much of Ward 8 is a “food desert,”  an urban area in which there is little or no access to affordable or good-quality fresh food.

There are a lot of negative health effects that can occur to a community as a result of a food desert. Heart disease and high blood pressure result from unhealthy eating. They are the leading cause of death in the United States. African-Americans are two times more likely to die as a result of heart disease and high blood pressure than the Caucasian population. There is also a higher rate of obesity and diabetes in food deserts than other areas, mostly affecting African-Americans. Read more about food disparity in Ward 8 here.

Martha’s Table is an organization that aims to strengthen communities through “quality education programs, healthy food, and family supports.” Joyful Markets is a part of their Healthy Eating Initiative. Every month Turner Elementary School, as well as 30 other schools in the district, participates in a Joyful Market which brings an open food market to our school gym. This open market is full of healthy, fresh fruits, vegetables, and other wholesome products like beans and pasta. Each student at Turner is eligible to receive any of the foods, and they can shop for a bag of food, often weighing up to 25 pounds a student! Oh, and the best part? Everything is free!

Joyful Markets is deemed “joyful” for a reason. When family members and students walk into the gym they are greeted with red table cloths, family-friendly music, and volunteers who walk with them through each table of fresh food. There is also a chef who attends every market. The chef has a table in the middle of the gym and cooks up a delicious recipe with all the ingredients found in that month’s market, encouraging families to use the ingredients and take them home. In the Junior Chef section, children are able to hang out, make simple recipes, and learn how rewarding cooking can be.

Joyful Markets is an example of an initiative from an organization fighting systemic injustice in a very real way. They provide families with free healthy food in an area that lacks those resources. But they go beyond providing free food to working with families to address long term health through healthy eating and community-building. If you would like to be a part of the movement at Turner, please contact me at We would love to have you serve with us as a part of the partnership between GW and Turner. We would love to have you learn more about the beautiful Turner community.