Safford, Ariz. – A team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members are working in Safford working alongside many organizations. The group of nine young adults arrived on April 8 and will be serving here through July 5.
While in town, the AmeriCorps NCCC team will be serving with the Gila Valley Collaborative, which consists of Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry, Graham County Cooperative Extension, Gila Watershed Partnership, and Southeastern Arizona Clean and Beautiful (SEACAB). Their respective missions in short are to ensure that everyone in Graham Country has basic, quality food and to provide education in the areas of food and gardening; to provide information and education to local residents in the areas of youth and family development, healthy living, agriculture, natural resources, and community development; to improve water quality and the condition of the Upper Gila Watershed; and to support, advocate, and educate the citizens of Graham and Greenlee Counties about the benefits of blight remediation, green waste use, and recycling.
While working with the four organizations over the course of this 12-week project, the team will be working in a garden, building an outdoor classroom, removing invasive species, improving housing for future volunteers, and cleaning and improving trails. This is the first AmeriCorps NCCC team to serve with the Gila Valley Collaborative.
“The opportunity to show Southeastern Arizona, specifically Graham and Greenlee counties, that a group of strangers can care and work hard for these nonprofits to achieve their missions and goals… we want to show people that service is not insular, that service allows social interaction, that service creates a better environment for the communities,” said Susan Elsberry, SEACAB partner.
Prior to traveling to Safford, members of the team served with Habitat for Humanity in Colorado, Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response on long-term flood recovery, SoulFisher Ministries tutoring and mentoring children with an incarcerated parent in St. Louis, and Wildwood Outdoor Education Center in Kansas. All members of the team work on long-term Hurricane Harvey recovery along the Texas coast. They began their term of service on October 10, 2017 with three weeks of training at the Denver regional hub. This is their final project before graduating from the 10-month program on July 12, 2018.
Last week the group worked with Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry, where they taught third graders how to plant tomatoes, pulled invasive weeds, started a compost pile, put up poles for a new fence and assisted with general garden tasks.
This week they’re working with the Gila Watershed Partnership, where they’ve been working to remove invasive species such as Great Reed, Salt Cedar Tamarisk and Kochia. They’re also working on rehabilitation efforts by planting seed balls at sites where the invasive species have been removed.
Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry Photos
Gila Watershed Project Photos
About the Program
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 five regional hubs in the nation and serves eight states in the central and southwest parts of the country. The other campuses are located in Baltimore, Md., Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss., and Sacramento, Calif.
In exchange for their service, Corps Members receive $5,815 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.