By Leah Ballard | Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County
Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County will host its first ever AmeriCorps team this summer.
Habitat Archuleta staff applied for an AmeriCorps’ National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team last fall in hopes of landing some extra hands for our projects this summer. These AmeriCorps NCCC members will work alongside our usual crew of core jobsite volunteers, our partner families and a few high school interns from the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation’s (PSCDC’s) RUN program, Reskill, Upskill, New Skill.
AmeriCorps NCCC places an emphasis on service learning, where their members are able to see the impact of their volunteer hours firsthand.
The NCCC, pronounced “N triple C,” is one program under the AmeriCorps umbrella. NCCC teams are typically groups of eight to 12 that work on a project site for six to 12 weeks. Seven of these teams of young adults, all part of the NCCC’s Summer of Service Program, are currently training at the AmeriCorps campus in Aurora, Colo., before disbursing to projects throughout the western United States. Archuleta County is the only Summer of Service location in Colorado this year.
AmeriCorps NCCC is traditionally a full-time, 10-month program in which members serve at least 1,700 hours. Summer of Service is an abbreviated version of traditional AmeriCorps NCCC, allowing college students and others without 10 months available to serve to spend their summer traveling somewhere new and making a difference in that community — and the timeline fits our build season perfectly.
Habitat Archuleta will work with eight AmeriCorps NCCC members five days a week throughout July, plus a week on either side in June and August. The members will work on our jobsite four days a week and spend Mondays on a construction project at Restoration Fellowship. And, four days per week, a few members will also lend a hand at the new Community Food Pantry of Pagosa Springs, located at 2800 Cornerstone Drive, Unit A1.
Katherine Solbert and the group of volunteers who manage the food pantry recently outgrew their space at Restoration Fellowship and joined forces with even more community members as they moved to the new location this spring. The food pantry is open Mondays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesdays 4 to 6 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Fridays 10 a.m. to noon. Historically, this group has served about 750 families per month or 2,600 individuals. Solbert expects that number to continue to rise in this new space.
Winning this AmeriCorps team was a community effort. Restoration Fellowship is providing lodging for the NCCC members throughout their six-week stay in Pagosa Springs. The Pagosa Lakes Property Owner’s Association (PLPOA) has generously donated the use of shower facilities at the recreation center, just a short distance away from our three build sites in the PLPOA this summer.
With the grant support Habitat Archuleta received from the Pagosa Springs Area Tourism Board, we will provide several meals for the NCCC team during their stay. The AmeriCorps members coming to Pagosa Springs are from all over the country and are excited to lend a hand in our community.
During a site visit in May, Assistant Program Director Catherine Trumpis indicated that the collaboration between several organizations bumped our application to the top of the pile. Habitat Archuleta is grateful to partner with Restoration Fellowship, PLPOA, PSCDC, the local tourism board and food bank to help get this AmeriCorps NCCC team to our community.
We cannot thank our community enough on behalf of our homeowners, the businesses who employ them and the children who rely upon them. Habitat Archuleta projects are a combination of volunteer labor, subcontractors, in-kind donation of products and services, and homeowner sweat equity. Habitat families work alongside volunteers to build their home and pay an affordable mortgage.
We’ll be on the jobsite Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Please call (970) 264-6960 or email office@HabitatArchuleta.org before you come to volunteer so we can plan for how many hands will be on deck.