AmeriCorps Opportunities


Do you want to help make a difference in the lives of people involved in the criminal legal system?  The Missouri State Public Defender’s Holistic Defense Services Program has teamed up with AmeriCorps Missouri to pioneer a groundbreaking holistic approach to public defense. This approach tackles the root causes of our clients’ involvement in the criminal legal system and helps to break the cycle of criminalization.  

As a Holistic Advocate, you will play a vital role in growing MSPD’s Holistic Defense Services Program, helping to shape the future of Missouri’s criminal legal system. Your dedication and passion will drive the transformation of a system that values compassion, fairness, and the inherent worth of every individual.  

Holistic Advocates will step into Missouri communities and engage with local service providers to connect clients to essential resources and services – which can help us get clients out of jail and back to their families and communities. Advocates will also collaborate closely with attorneys to help share their clients’ meaningful and powerful stories in their cases.  

Are you ready to make an impact? Apply to join our dynamic team of Holistic Advocates today! 

MCSC AmeriCorps logo with dark blue and red designAs a Holistic Advocate, you will join us in the fight for justice by 

  • Connecting clients to a wide range of vital resources, from housing and mental health care to substance use treatment and transportation. 
  • Helping clients obtain essential documents and services, like IDs and health insurance, to help eliminate barriers and create more stability. 
  • Uncovering the untold stories of clients through in-depth interviews, delving into their backgrounds to provide a holistic perspective that truly represents their journey. 
  • Rallying support from their loved ones and community by engaging with family, friends, and support systems, while collecting impactful letters of support that amplify our clients’ voices.  
  • Crafting compelling memos that weave together the narratives of our clients, showcasing their unique experiences and circumstances.  
  • Building relationships with community partners to break down barriers and ensure that clients have access to the support that they need.  
  • Embracing data-driven impact by collecting and analyzing valuable data to track the transformative effects of our work, paving the way for evidence-based change. 

Holistic Advocates will join a passionate team that thrives on collaboration, as you work closely with attorneys, clients, and support staff in your local trial office. Plus, Advocates will gain invaluable guidance and extensive training from our regional and statewide Holistic Defense Services team.

Required Minimum Education and Experience

High school diploma or equivalent is required. Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is preferred. A specialization in social work, psychology, sociology, or closely related field will be favored. 

Qualified candidates will be empathetic, resourceful, non-judgmental, organized, and will have a passion for public service. Candidates must have an ability to build rapport and trust with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and identities. Strong writing and advocacy skills will also be beneficial for this role. 

AmeriCorps Stipulations

As part of the 2023-2024 AmeriCorps program, these positions are designed to span from 9/1/23-8/31/24. We seek full-time candidates, but less than full-time opportunities may be available. Enrollment in the 2023-2024 service term carries the possibility of renewal in 2024-2025, subject to mutual agreement and AmeriCorps policies. 

Living Stipend/Benefits

Candidates who can commit to serving roughly 40 hours a week are preferred. Part-time service options are available at all listed service sites, please contact us for more information. Holistic Advocates are eligible for a living allowance, paid in regular bi-monthly increments; member health care coverage for full-time members who are not otherwise covered by a health care policy; a Segal AmeriCorps education award at the end of the term; and professional development training. 

Service Options Min. Total Hour Commitment Est. Annual Living Allowance Est. Education Award Amount Health Insurance Coverage
Full-time 1700 hours annually $35,200 $6,495.00 Yes
Contact us for information regarding less than full-time service options

For a more comprehensive look at AmeriCorps State benefits, visit AmeriCorps Member Benefits.

Many universities offer scholarships, application fee waivers, and other benefits to AmeriCorps members. You can find school-specific details on the Schools of National Service list.

Potential Placement Locations

We are seeking to place members in Columbia, Jefferson City, Farmington, Fulton, St. Charles, Hillsboro, Carthage, and Jackson. Other locations in MO may be possible – please contact us to ask! 


If this exciting opportunity to help transform public defense and make a profound impact in the lives of Missourians sounds like a good fit, then don’t wait to apply. Submit your application through the AmeriCorps opportunity listing.  


The Missouri State Public Defender (MSPD) is developing a more holistic approach to public defense– an approach addressing the needs and risk factors of clients outside the scope of traditional representation. The Holistic Defense Development VISTAs will work with attorneys, social workers, AmeriCorps Holistic Advocates, and MSPD leadership to increase MSPD’s capacity to address such needs and to play a crucial role in establishing a more holistic approach to public defense in Missouri. Results will include improving case outcomes, life outcomes, and the economic opportunity of our clients and their communities.

AmeriCorps Logo

Specifically, VISTA members will:

  • Develop an understanding of public defense and the problems afflicting MSPD clients
  • Evaluate the current state of Holistic Defense Services by gathering and analyzing feedback and program data
  • Maintain and build upon existing program partnerships, resources, guides and manuals
  • Develop a framework for maintaining and expanding grant funding, training initiatives, and volunteer networks related to the holistic representation of MSPD clients, and more

Those who wish to have a positive impact on the criminal legal system and its intersection with poverty and social instability in Missouri are encouraged to join us in our effort to support our vulnerable community members and deliver a more equitable approach to the criminal legal system. Qualified candidates will be inquisitive, collaborative, resourceful, open-minded, effective at expressing complex concepts and hold a passion for public service. Preferred candidates will display effective leadership, organization, communication and project management skills. Ideal candidates will have excellent attention to detail, strong computer skills, and a general knowledge of statistics or data collection. The project will take place from 07/17/2023 to 07/172024 and offers service site flexibility throughout Missouri.

Full-time VISTA members will receive a living allowance for the duration of their service and a choice between an end-of-service-stipend or an AmeriCorps Education Award. For a more comprehensive look at AmeriCorps State benefits, visit AmeriCorps Member Benefits.

Many universities offer scholarships, application fee waivers, and other benefits to AmeriCorps members. You can find school-specific details on the Schools of National Service list.

To apply for the position, visit the AmeriCorps opportunity listing here


Reach out to Alex Lubbe, Holistic Defense Services Coordinator, at or 314-340-7625 ext. 247.