AmeriCorps CEO Tours National Service Projects in New Mexico
Michael D. Smith visited AmeriCorps projects, met with local officials and joined the Association of State Commissions regional training
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.– Michael D. Smith, AmeriCorps CEO, traveled to Albuquerque, N.M. last week to see national service programs in action, meet with local officials and deliver remarks to national service leaders at an America’s State Commissions regional training.
On Wednesday, June 1, Smith met with Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and the Albuquerque Office of Civic Engagement leadership to discuss AmeriCorps’ work in Albuquerque and opportunities for collaboration in the future.
Smith then joined Colby Wilson, executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Central New Mexico, to meet AmeriCorps members working with youth and teens in Albuquerque schools and Boys & Girls Club sites. Smith, who was 1995 Boys & Girls Club of America Northeast Region Youth of the Year, also spent time with Ashton Griego, Boys & Girls Club of Central New Mexico 2022 Youth of the Year.
Smith then joined Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (NM-03) and Martha Williams, director of US Fish & Wildlife Service at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge, a service site of Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, a local program of Conservation Legacy and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps focuses on collaborative conservation through young adult and military veteran employment on public and tribal lands. Programs are based in Acoma Pueblo, Albuquerque, the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo.
On Thursday, June 2, Smith and AmeriCorps board member Alvin Warren visited Pueblo of Zuni, home to two of the oldest AmeriCorps Seniors programs in the country. After visiting the Zuni Senior Center, Smith met with volunteers serving in the Pueblo’s Foster Grandparent Program. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers at the Zuni Senior Center work with other local agencies to support the community through the AmeriCorps Foster Grandparent Program and AmeriCorps Senior Companion Program. In a belated celebration of Older Americans Month, Smith joined AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers on visits to client homes, where they offered companionship and support to enable independent living.
On Friday, June 3, Smith met with State Service Commission executive directors from eight states and delivered remarks about equity, tackling the barriers to national service and addressing gun violence at the closing plenary.
Smith concluded his trip in Santa Fe where he joined the All Pueblo Council of Governors, an organization that advocates, fosters, protects and encourages the social, cultural and traditional well-being of Pueblo Nations. Smith and the council discussed the role of national service in the advancement of Pueblo culture, health, education and economic mobility.
Additionally, while Smith met with the All Pueblo Council of Governors, Sonali Nijhawan, director of AmeriCorps State and National programs, toured Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico, an AmeriCorps program funded through Serve New Mexico with sites statewide that focus on healthy futures. Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico recently received a $76,383 Public Health AmeriCorps grant to assist community members with resource navigation and referrals to healthcare providers across New Mexico.
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In 2021, AmeriCorps awarded more than $18.1 million in federal funding and more than 6,700 AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have served at more than 430 locations across New Mexico. Since 1994, more than 12,000 New Mexico residents have served approximately 15 million hours with AmeriCorps and earned education awards totaling more than $33.5 million.