Service crew

Federal service team helps community connection

(Photo of press staff by Hannah Dumas)
From left to right, AmeriCorps NCCC employee Daniel Subdiaz works alongside team leader Owen McNamara and fellow team member Ethan Good. The NCCC team, which is stationed in Grant County for the next few weeks, is working with Southwest New Mexico ACT, the group’s main sponsor, as well as the village of Santa Clara and The Commons: Center for Food Security and Sustainability. .

Eleven service workers from AmeriCorps’s National Civilian Community Corps waved pickaxes and shovels on Tuesday at the Silver City Waterworks site, gradually digging to create a water catchment system on the ground.
The crew, who arrived in Grant County on November 20, are stationed here for a month and work primarily with the arts, culture and tourism of Southwest New Mexico (or swnmACT) and with the village from Santa Clara to Fort Bayard, as well as with The Commons, helping with food distribution.
This crew is the fourth to serve in Grant County in recent years, said Santa Clara Clerk-Treasurer Sheila Hudman. swnmACT is the main sponsor of this crew, but the village and swnmACT have sponsored previous groups. Santa Clara is home to the teams, who then work across the county on multiple projects.
“Right now, our team is working with the arts, culture and tourism of southwest New Mexico, as well as with the village of Santa Clara, to carry out historic preservation work in Fort Bayard, Waterworks right here in Silver City and at other venues around every city like Hurley and Bayard, ”said AmeriCorps NCCC team leader Owen McNamara.
“The idea is that with the town of Silver City and their goal of increasing outdoor recreation, we were starting to create a place to accommodate CDT hikers,” said Aaron Myers, supervising entrepreneur of swnmACT, who has guided the AmeriCorps team to the site Tuesday. “This team will work primarily on water catchment systems, with the idea of ​​designing seven camping spaces” along the wall on the north side of the property.
The Waterworks site is one of five included in swnmACT’s Five Points initiative, a network of historic spaces in Grant County that the organization is currently working to restore and connect.
For those interested in learning more about the initiative, swnmACT is hosting a “Community Vision” Zoom session on December 6 at 6:30 pm, and also offers an active quiz for residents of Grant County. Interested persons can send an email [email protected] for more information on both.
The goal of the organization is not only to connect the physical spaces, but also to foster collaboration and cohesion among the communities of Grant County in the process. AmeriCorps NCCC workers are a key part of this process, according to Bridgette Johns, coordinator of the swnmACT project.
“Hosting the AmeriCorps NCCC service teams in Grant County paves the way for what is possible in terms of county-wide community collaboration,” she said. “Their presence here could also encourage our local youth to participate in Five Points community projects as well. “
Hudman agreed and described how she sees the AmeriCorps crew members affecting Santa Clara.
“It gives the community a special feeling because here are these 10, 12 kids from all over the United States who come to this area,” she said. “I really think it involves the community more in volunteering. “
Hudman and Johns both credited Dave Chandler’s contribution to the AmeriCorps Prize while he was writing the grant application. Chandler has worked with Santa Clara for several years as a subcontractor, providing advisory and grant writing services and, according to Hudman, has been instrumental in the village’s success in raising funds.
Johns said the benefits of crew service work here go beyond just creating a forward movement on projects.
“A lot of our local high school kids have never heard of AmeriCorps before,” she said. “Seeing the NCCC teams in action could inspire local teens not only to get involved locally, but also to know that AmeriCorps is a possible option for what to do after graduating from high school. “
Daniel Subdiaz, a member of the AmeriCorps NCCC team, who grew up in Los Angeles, said he applied for the program so he could give back to his community – then clarified what he meant by community.
“Your community can mean more than your neighborhood. It can mean all impoverished or otherwise disenfranchised people across the world, ”he said seriously, adding that the NCCC gives him the opportunity to work across the country in underserved places like the county. of Grant – communities that remind him of where he was raised.
“I see that sometimes there is a lack of support, whether through social programs, opportunities or organizations that are trying to get started and doing things for the community, and have a hard time finding volunteers and find funding, ”he said. “I think our work can help them achieve that goal by providing manpower for some of the projects they want to do.”
Another team member, Zeta Lai, agreed, calling the program a “great way” to contribute to society in a tangible and meaningful way.
For more information on AmeriCorps service opportunities, visit
“We’re really grateful to serve here in Grant County with all of the projects – the pantry, the trails, the historic restoration,” Subdiaz said. “We are really happy to be able to help such a warm and welcoming community. “

Hannah Dumas can be contacted at [email protected]