In 2016, Cities of Service launched the Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA program, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service, to increase resilience in ten U.S. cities.
Through the program, Cities of Service provided a $25,000 grant, two AmeriCorps VISTA members, and program consulting services and technical assistance to cities for a two-year period. Cities of Service recruited, trained, and deployed the AmeriCorps VISTA members to prepare vulnerable communities across the country for hardship and disaster.
With increased capacity and support, these cities worked with citizens to make their cities more resilient in the face of challenges they may face, including flooding, lack of access to healthy food, and extreme heat.
Working with Cities of Service, the Resilience AmeriCorps VISTA cities engaged citizens to create community gardens in communities without access to fresh food, reduce flooding in their neighborhoods, teach each other how to prepare for extreme weather, and much more. Because of the efforts of citizens, city leaders, and Cities of Service:
- More than 4,000 volunteers worked to make their communities more resilient.
- Residents removed over 18 tons of garbage from public space and vacant lots.
- Residents in three of the cities created 29 community gardens that produced more than 200 pounds of fresh produce.
- Volunteers installed more than 80 rain barrels and maintained 800 storm drains, which will mitigate thousands of gallons of rainwater during each major rainstorm.
- More than 1,200 trees have been planted to reduce flooding and heat.