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NCCC team makes an impact in ArkansasDate: 07/03/2017
The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) Earth 6 Team toured Arkansas, lending their talents to an important endeavor.
Earth 6 helped establish gardens at the Human Development Centers (HDC) in Arkadelphia, Booneville, Conway, Warren, and Jonesboro.
“They are a great group of young adults who were not afraid to get dirty in order to complete a task,” said Deb Wilson, Arkadelphia HDC Volunteer Program Coordinator. “We enjoyed them immensely.”
Dana Harvey, Southeast Arkansas HDC Volunteer Coordinator, admired the selflessness of the team.
“They dove into each task without hesitation,” she said. “We immediately adopted them as part of the SEAHDC family.
“Words do not express the depth of appreciation the staff and our residents have for the team.”
Earth 6 operates as part of AmeriCorps NCCC, which is a full-time, team-based residential service program for individuals who desire to partake in community service projects. The focus of NCCC is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through civic service, as members complete projects such as: building and refurbishing homes for families in need, to cleaning city parks, streams, trails, or shorelines
As for the HDCs, each facility specializes in working with individuals who have developmental disabilities.
“The team constructed raised beds for planting. They lined the beds with fabric and plastic, and filled the beds with soil.” said Jonesboro HDC Volunteer Coordinator/Applicant Recruiter, Cynthia Wilson. “It was great to host such an amazing group of young people.”
Elizabeth Litton, Volunteer Coordinator at the Conway center also became enamored with the team.
“They’re very hard workers. They were very respectful,” she says.
Through their gardening efforts, the team has helped the centers move closer to several goals. For starters, the gardens are likely to present opportunities for staff to further assist in the maturation of the residents. The gardens will also enhance the rapport between the respective centers and their home communities.
“We want to give our residents an opportunity to take what’s harvested from the garden to different farmer’s markets and sell the items,” Litton said.
The gardens can also provide clients with an additional sense of purpose.
“Our residents take a lot of pride in telling people that the vegetables are from their garden,” Cynthia said.
“The team helped create a garden for some of our clients to work and receive a paycheck,” Deb stated. “The garden also gives the clients a sense of pride and accomplishment.”
At the Booneville facility, staff is enthused about the potential of their herb garden.
“Our center will have a stand at the local farmer’s market to sell herbs,” said Vanessa Wyrick, BHDC Assistant Superintendent. “The residents will work at the stand. In the process, they’ll receive additional community involvement.”
Rachel Cain and Eva Haykin are members of Earth 6. Both volunteers spoke glowingly about completing an important task for HDC residents.
“Everyone in our group was dedicated,” Cain said. “We really worked well as a team. We were happy to help with the project.”
Haykin enjoyed this service mission.
“It’s been really rewarding,” she said. “It’s been uplifting, building something that will last a long time and will provide opportunities for so many individuals.”
The project has been emotionally fulfilling for HDC staff as well.
“I’m very thankful for this program being created,” Litton says.
“The NCCC team was amazing to work with,” Wyrick stated. “Our staff and clients enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside them.”
To learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC go to http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/dcsns/Pages/AmeriCorpsProgram.aspx .
Cutline: A member of the NCCC team joins staff from the Conway Human Development Center in creating an irrigation system for the center's newly established garden.