Federal service team contributes to the connection of the community
Eleven AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps service personnel wielded picks and shovels and dug bit by bit on the premises of the Silver City Waterworks on Tuesday to create a water intake system on the premises.
The crew, who arrived in Grant County on November 20, are stationed here for a month, working primarily with Southwest New Mexico Arts, Culture and Tourism (or swnmACT) and with the Santa Clara Village of Fort Bayard, as well as with The Commons, the help with food distribution.
This crew is the fourth to serve in Grant County in recent years, said Sheila Hudman, Santa Clara clerk and treasurer. swnmACT is the main sponsor of this crew, but both the village and swnmACT have sponsored previous groups. Santa Clara hosts the teams who then work on multiple projects across the county.
âRight now, our team is working with Southwest New Mexico Arts, Culture and Tourism and the Santa Clara Village to do historic preservation work at Fort Bayard, the Waterworks here in Silver City, and several other places in the area, all cities like Hurley and Bayard, âsaid Owen McNamara, AmeriCorps NCCC team leader.
“The idea is that with Silver City and its goal of improving outdoor recreation, we can create a place for CDT hikers,” said Aaron Myers, swnmACT supervising contractor who briefed the AmeriCorps team on Tuesday Place headed. âThis crew will mainly be working on water intake systems with the idea of ââdesigning seven campsitesâ along the wall on the north side of the property.
The Waterworks site is one of five sites in swnmACT’s Five Points Initiative, a network of historic spaces across Grant County that the organization is currently working on restoring and re-linking.
For those interested in learning more about the initiative, swnmACT is hosting a Zoom Community Visioning session on December 6th at 6:30 pm and also has an active questionnaire for Grant County residents. Interested parties can email [emailÂ protected] for more information on both.
The goal of the organization is not only to connect the physical spaces, but also to promote collaboration and cohesion among the communities in Grant County. According to swnmACT project coordinator Bridgette Johns, AmeriCorps NCCC staff are an important part of this process.
“The addition of AmeriCorp’s NCCC service crews to Grant County sets the stage for what can be done in terms of county-wide community collaboration,” she said. “Your presence here could also encourage our local youth to get involved in the Five Points community projects.”
Hudman agreed and described how she sees the impact of AmeriCorps crew members on Santa Clara.
“It makes the community feel special because these 10, 12 kids from all over the US come to this area,” she said. “I really believe it will get the community more involved in volunteering.”
Hudman and Johns both praised Dave Chandler’s contribution to the AmeriCorps Award when he drafted the grant application. Chandler has worked with Santa Clara as a subcontractor for several years, providing advice and funding services and, according to Hudman, has played a critical role in the village’s success in funding funding.
Johns said the benefits of servicing the crew here go beyond just creating progress on projects.
“A large number of our local high school students have never heard of AmeriCorps,” she said. “Seeing the NCCC crews in action could inspire local teenagers not only to get involved in the field, but also to know that AmeriCorps is a possible option for how to proceed after high school graduation.”
AmeriCorp’s NCCC team member Daniel Subdiaz, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he applied for the program to give back to his community – and then clarified what he meant by community.
âYour community can mean more than just your neighborhood. It can mean all of the impoverished or otherwise disenfranchised people around the world, âhe said gravely, adding that NCCC gives him the opportunity to work across the country in underserved places like Grant County – communities that remind him where he is grew up.
“I see that sometimes there is a lack of support, be it through social programs or opportunities or organizations that are trying to do something for the community and have difficulty finding volunteers and funding,” he said. “I think our work can help them achieve this by providing manpower for some of the projects they want to do.”
Teammate Zeta Lai agreed and called the program “an excellent opportunity” to make a tangible and meaningful contribution to society.
For more information on AmeriCorps service options, please visit my.americorps.gov.
“We’re really grateful to be helping with all of the projects here in Grant County – the pantry, the trails, the historic restoration,” said Subdiaz. “We are very happy to be able to help such a warm and welcoming community.”
Hannah Dumas can be reached at [emailÂ protected] press.com.