(Albuquerque, NM) – New Mexico AmeriCorps programs are seeing their service members remaining active through “boots-on-the ground” activities, remote “teleservice,” and by re-assignment for COVID-19 response service with partner agencies.
Administered by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (NMDWS) and the Serve New Mexico Commission, AmeriCorps members throughout the state have adapted their service to meet the needs of communities impacted by this health emergency, including the following:
VAMOS AmeriCorps members with Mandy’s Farm in Bernalillo County are mentoring individuals with disabilities transitioning into adult life telephonically and through online conferencing;
EcoServants members in Ruidoso are assisting with food delivery in Lincoln County;
Indigenous Educators Corps members serving in the Navajo Nation, Zia Pueblo, and Santa Clara Pueblo have been making and distributing masks to families and community members, supporting teachers and students in virtual classes, providing tutoring online, finding online college tours for high school students, and posting videos on YouTube to provide activities to kids who would usually attend the after school program;
Not Forgotten Outreach has been providing fresh produce for community distribution throughout Taos County;
Teach for America members continue to aid in online education in Tribal communities while also assisting with food delivery services;
SeedCorps members with Roadrunner Food Bank have been supporting distribution sites and filling widening food gaps throughout the state;
Families, Youth Incorporated AmeriCorps members have been serving free meals throughout Las Cruces;
RecoveryCorps members with Rio Arriba County have been providing Meals on Wheels program support to the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long Term Services and assisting Rio Arriba disaster and emergency preparedness efforts.
Keeping members safe is of the upmost importance to the Serve New Mexico Commission. Commissioner Bernadine Dallago of Albuquerque created branded facemasks to ensure the protection of AmeriCorps members.
“We will continue working hard to ensure members are able to provide meaningful service in support of their communities during a time when it is needed the most,” said Karen Ware, Indigenous Educator Corps Program Manager.
Kate Page, SeedCorps Program Manager, says that her members’ dedication to service through the crisis has been inspirational. “Their whole service experience has had to shift from nutrition education and capacity building to running drive-thru mobile food pantries, leading volunteers in box-packing projects, and helping their sites navigate minimal contact distribution models. They’ve been patient, flexible, and compassionate through this whole experience of serving through uncertain times.”
AmeriCorps members receive a living stipend and qualify for an Education Award for successfully completing their term of service.
NMDWS Cabinet Secretary Bill McCamley anticipates expanded opportunities for AmeriCorps members to serve COVID-19 recovery efforts throughout the year. “As this crisis continues, we’re going to need more members focused on public health outcomes throughout our state,” said Secretary McCamley. “AmeriCorps is a flexible, highly effective resource for community response and recovery efforts, and our members receive experience and benefits that prepare them well for their post-service careers.”