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TAMIU Hosts Celebration for “VISTA 50” Thursday, Oct. 15 Posted: 10/09/15

TAMIU Hosts Celebration for “VISTA 50” Thursday, Oct. 15



Texas A&M International University will host a special event saluting 50 years of service by a national group dedicated to ending poverty in America.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) started its mission in 1965 and have had a significant presence in Laredo and Webb County.  “Vista 50” will be held Thursday, Oct. 15 in the TAMIU Student Center Ballroom from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Themed “Vista: Young & Old,” this event will provide an opportunity for former VISTAs to gather and look back at the group’s influence on the past, present and future.

Dr. John Kilburn, TAMIU associate dean of Research and Sponsored Projects, said those who have served in the VISTA program have had a lasting impact on the quality of life in Laredo and the Webb County area.

“We’ve been able to identify and locate some of the early VISTAs and it’s clear that their experience then has helped them to create lives of meaning, change and impact,” Dr. Kilburn explained.

“While we want to recognize these VISTA leaders, we also want to encourage others to adopt their example, embrace the VISTA program and work to continue to build relationships in our communities,” Kilburn added.

TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck will welcome event guests. Congressman Henry Cuellar will provide special remarks to those attending. A history of VISTA will be shared by Ann Freidrich, VISTA Volunteer.

Among former VISTAs who will attend are: Nancy Martínez - former Texas A&M University Colonias VISTA Volunteer; Sonia L. Rocha - former Food Bank VISTA. Current VISTA Program representatives include Rafael Torres- Azteca Economic Development & Preservation Corporation and Karen Duran - current TAMIU VISTA Volunteer.

VISTA works to provide long-term solutions to poverty.  Members serve with nonprofit, faith-based, and community organization to strengthen and develop programs that eliminate poverty. VISTA mobilizes volunteers and resources to meet local needs, builds the capacity of nonprofit and public agencies to carry out anti-poverty efforts and supports communities in their work on long-term solutions to poverty.

In 1965, the first VISTAs served in migrant farm worker camps in California, eastern Kentucky, and Hartford, CT. To date, more than 180,000 VISTAs have served throughout America.

For additional information, contact Dr. Kilburn at 956.326.3221 or email

To learn more about VISTA, visit: