AmeriCorps here in Deming to help tri-county area with community projects

AmeriCorps here in Deming to help tri-county area with community projects

Earth 4 crew members give the appearance of a para-military group in town, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The young AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) members are outfitted in khaki fatigues and gray t-shirts and are here to service the community as part of a collaboration between the Deming Public Schools and the City of Deming.

Members will improve outdoor facilities at Deming Cesar Chavez Charter High School, build trails and paths in Deming and Lordsburg public parks, and help facilitate the Tour of the Gila Bike Race in Silver City.  The group of 10 arrived on April 13 and will be serving here through July 13.

There initial visit to Deming began with a tour of the city. “From what we have seen, there is a lot of potential for growth, said Earth 4 team member Haley McKay.

Earth 4 has hit the ground running at DCCCHS. Students at the school follow a curriculum that provides flexible and personalized programs for anyone in Luna County seeking a high school diploma who would benefit from services and educational programs using non-traditional methods.

“We are going to help them plant and cultivate vineyards that could provide a set of skills that may help them in the job market or in their own back yards,” said Taylor Cacares said. “The students can actually grow and sell the grapes. There are a lot of vineyards in this area and New Mexico.”

Agriculture is still the top industry in Luna County.

The total enrollment at DCCCHS is 194 and serves primarily at-risk students. The AmeriCorps NCCC will also be serving with the City of Deming, the City of Lordsburg and the Silver City.

City officials have gone through a renaissance of sorts regarding the upgrade of outdoor recreation facilities. One major project is the construction of a retention pond at Voiers’ “Pit” Park on North Country Club Road. The park is already equipped with an 800-seat amphitheater, replica dinosaurs that are native to this area and a paved walking path. Future may include paddle boats and fishing. The pond is actually the size of a man-made lake.

Over the course of this 12-week project, this AmeriCorps NCCC team will design and build a plant nursery for DCCCHS, install playground equipment and three miles of walking trails at Recreational Lake Park, connect public parks with a new walking path in Lordsburg, and renovate the old Library in Deming.

“One reason why I wanted an AmeriCorps team to come to Cesar Chavez Charter High School is because we’re a very small place with a lot of struggling students. We need our kids to see adult workers modeling all sorts of different jobs,” said DCCCHS Principal Stan Lyons.

“The second reason is that we’re a really big family here. AmeriCorps seems to have that same kind of idea with teams that create a family atmosphere.

“The third reason is the impact of the team’s work in Deming, which highlights volunteerism.

“Deming Mayor (Benny Jasso) and I would like to put that out into the community – that this is a community worth volunteering and putting your time in. The spirit of Deming, Cesar Chavez Charter High School and AmeriCorps are all about the same essence – just people making a difference in their little part of the world.”

Prior to traveling to Deming, this team served with Habitat for Humanity in Longmont, Colorado, and the Disability Resource Association in Festus, Missouri. They began their term of service on October 16, 2018 with two weeks of training at the Denver regional hub. This is their final project before graduating from the 10-month program on July 18, 2019.

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.

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 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