SAFFORD, Ariz. – A team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members is in town to assist with various projects in the fields of food security, environmental conservation, and community education. The group of 11 young adults arrived on November 10 and will be serving here through December 18.
While in town, the AmeriCorps NCCC team will be serving with Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry (ONF&P), Graham County Cooperative Extension (GCCE), and Gila Watershed Partnership (GWP). ONF&P’s mission is to end hunger through food distribution, education, and advocacy in the communities they serve. GCCE is dedicated to providing education to the citizens of Graham County in areas of youth and family development, healthy living, agriculture, and natural resources. GWP works to improve the water quality and ecosystem condition of the Upper Gila Watershed.
Over the course of this six-week project, this AmeriCorps NCCC team will complete various tasks at the three different project sites. For the GWP, the team will plant 10 acres of native vegetation along the Gila River, construct rock basins, and plant milkweeds in the GWP pollinator garden. For the GCCE, the team will work on the community garden and complete a low-water-use demonstration area at the Easter Seals/ Blake Foundation site. For the ONF&P, the team will learn about and document ONF&P’s STEM education garden program for second and third graders, develop a training session to teach additional volunteers how to work with school groups, and recruit volunteers.
“Our community has many needs. With 23% of our population under the poverty line, many families and individuals are struggling to acquire food. Combined with our depleting water quality, our town needs extra hands to aid in meeting the needs of the community,” said Max Crain, Director of ONF&P.
AmeriCorps NCCC first served with ONF&P, GCCE, and GWP in 2018. Since then, a team previously served around 4,000 hours with the organization. Some of the accomplishments of that team include removing acres of invasive species and planting acres of native species to improve the habitats of local wildlife and to improve the water quality. They also worked various projects to educate the community on healthy lifestyles.
This is the first of several projects to be completed by this AmeriCorps NCCC team. They began their term of service on October 16, 2018 with three weeks of training at the Denver regional hub. After December 18, they will travel to a series of other six- to 12-week projects in communities throughout the central and southwestern United States. They will graduate from the 10-month program on July 18, 2019.
About AmeriCorps NCCC
AmeriCorps NCCC (N-triple-C) is a full-time, residential, national service program in which up to 2,200 young adults serve nationwide annually. During their 10-month term, Corps Members – all 18 to 24 years old – work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs. Traditional NCCC members work on a variety of different six- to 12-week-long projects related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Members of FEMA Corps, a branch of NCCC, focus their projects exclusively on emergency management work in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Southwest Region campus in Denver is one of four regional hubs in the nation and serves eight states in the central and southwest parts of the country. The other campuses are located in Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss., and Sacramento, Calif.
In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive $6,095 to help pay for college, or to pay back existing student loans. Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, travel, leadership development, increased self-confidence, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, people can indeed make a difference. AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at www.americorps.gov/nccc.