Serving in Española, New Mexico
Travel north of the glittering lights and galleries of Santa Fe and be transported to a different world. Nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande lies the small community of Española. Home of green chilis and low rider cars, the area was first inhabited by Pueblo Indians over a thousand years ago. The village of Española was founded in 1598 by early Spanish explorers. It has been called the oldest capital city in the United States.
Community Partner & Work Projects
In 2019, Global Volunteers was originally invited by the Española School District to help with several important projects. Currently, our primary host is the Embudo Valley Library and Community Center. We now have various community partners in Española and nearby communities, where 35% of the population live below the poverty line.
Global Volunteers has been asked to assist the communities with several work projects. You may be asked to help:
Participate in an After-School Program for Elementary Students – Volunteers are needed to help with childhood enrichment activities at a local library. Assistance may also be needed with minor maintenance and traditional gardening projects.
Distribute Food or Prepare and Serve Meals – Both the local food pantries and soup kitchens have requested volunteer assistance with preparing and serving meals as well as distributing groceries to low-income and unhoused residents of the Española area.
Home Construction and Repair – Help low-income families improve their homes through partnership with a local building organization. Volunteers are needed to assist with construction and small home renovations.
Repair and Maintenance – Many community partners are in need of help with minor maintenance, gardening, and painting projects to help enliven the community and create a welcoming environment.
Maintain a Piece of New Mexico’s Rich History – Volunteers will help local people with the annual maintenance of their acequias or irrigation channels. This is an amazing cultural experience embodied in a vital community work project. Engaging in this cultural tradition has been ongoing for hundreds of years and is so essential to Northern New Mexico’s rural communities’ access to water. Volunteers can work alongside local people while conversing with and learning about their lives. This seasonal project varies but can include light gardening to more strenuous shoveling and clearing of brush. Read this interesting article for more information on the acequias – The Fascinating History of New Mexico’s Water Ditches (Acequias) (fodors.com) – and watch this video for an example of what the process looks like – The Rebirth of the Vigil y Romo Acequia – Taos, New Mexico – YouTube.
Service Program Logistics
Your team will be led by a trained team leader. In cooperation with the community leaders, your team leader will facilitate your team’s orientation, assist you in becoming fully engaged in the work project, and manage all project-related logistical issues.
Meals & Lodging
Team lodging is at the Ohkay Hotel and Casino, a comfortable hotel in San Juan Indian Reservation. Single occupancy rooms are available for an additional fee. Three meals a day are included in your service program contribution. Breakfast is served each morning at the hotel. Bagged lunches are prepared or provided to bring to work sites. Dinner is provided at local restaurants.
All airport transfers and transportation in the host community are included in your service program contribution, assuming you arrive and depart within the specified itinerary. A Global Volunteers team leader will greet you at the Santa Fe airport and transport you to the Rodeway Inn in a van or bus. Española is about 30 minutes’ drive north of Santa Fe. Note: transportation for free-time activities is not included in your service program contribution. There is very limited public transportation in Española, so if you wish to explore the area outside of the host community, we recommend you drive or rent a car during your service program.
Located between Taos and Los Alamos, Española is a place of stunning rock formations, wide open skies and incredible light. Photographer Ansel Adams shot some of his most famous works in the area. The home and studio of artist Georgia O’Keeffe is now a small museum in the nearby village of Abiquiu. Down the road lies the Puye Cliff Dwellings, ancestral home to the Santa Clara people. Numerous hiking trails dot the area. And of course, only half an hour away lies Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital, renowned for Pueblo-style architecture and a hotbed of art galleries, museums and restaurants. All of these activities are optional, and some may require additional fees and extra drive time before or after your program.
Service Program Contribution
Global Volunteers’ service program contribution covers all lodging, three meals a day, in-community team transportation, emergency medical evacuation insurance, all preparatory materials, onsite orientation, a full-time team leader, and administration costs. The service program contribution is $1,495 for one week. Please ask your Volunteer Coordinator about referral credits as well as discounts for students, companions, groups, and alumni volunteers. We encourage you to use Global Volunteers’ online fundraising tool to create a personalized webpage to request partially tax-deductible donations from family and friends to help cover your service program contribution. Airfare and free time activity expenses are your responsibility. The service program contribution and airfare are tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers.
“We are playing an important necessary role building this coalition of friendship and growth with the good folks of Española, New Mexico.”
~ Janet Nicoletti, New Mexico Volunteer