COCI VISTA Support Specialist

Cherish Our Children Inc

About the organization

Cherish Our Children is out to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration, which is one of the most difficult and complex problems to solve in our society. In 2021 we launched GEMS -Gaining Empowerment in Middle School to help students work through the trauma, stress and stigma of having a parent in prison. In creating GEMS, COCI specifically designed the program so that it could be expanded through a standardized curriculum and instructor training approach. The need for a program that can grow is there. More than 42,000 middle school-aged children in the Houston metro area are have had a parent in prison at some point in their lives.


This is a VISTA role for someone who wants to roll up their sleeves and answering the question, How do we build the program so that it can grow? You will be involved in planning and implementing three key approaches: 1.Building the service network to meet the needs of our student’s families, including food, shelter, job training and legal support. Creating the systems to identify caregiver needs, build the deep relationships with outside organizations, and measure outcomes. 2.Creating the system to recruit/coordinate role-models to assist in classes and impact students outside of class. 3.Formalizing the GEMS curriculum and developing the training for future instructors. In order to be effective, he/she will be actively involved in every aspect of the program, initially to learn the program and then to ensure that the planning aligns with the program needs. Fluency in Spanish is a necessity for this position because English is a second language for many student' caregivers.


We need a Spanish-speaking self-starter who is equally comfortable gaining the trust of a traumatized student and doing in-depth research. Must excel at written communication and at gaining knowledge from subject matter experts, research papers and learning. Must be able to roll up their sleeves and jump into activities while remaining focused in chaotic and changing environments.



Application instructions

Contact email: [email protected]

VISTA positions are one year, FULL time, paid volunteer positions. This position will run from July 19, 2021 to July 18, 2022. If you would like to be considered, please apply through the portal. Here is the direct link to the position:

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Equal Opportunity Employment

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