AmeriCorps participants have valuable, rewarding jobs in Gila County communities.

Taylor Barnes spent the past two years working with 4-H programs — helping teach Healthy Living lessons to elementary classes; creating materials for 4-H clubs; and helping young 4-H kids raising livestock. All perfect matches for her skills. Her career goal is to be a veterinarian. AmeriCorps service helped prepare her with real world workforce and leadership skills.

Anyone 18 and older looking for a similar opportunity should contact program coordinator Ben Downer; he needs to hire an AmeriCorps member to fill Taylor’s position. Applications are online at my.americorps.gov; anyone with questions is welcome to call Ben Downer, 616-502-8662 or email bdowner@email.arizona.edu.

Miami resident Isaac Webb and Tucker Guilliam, from Sunflower, completed their first year as AmeriCorps members in July. They were essential parts of the team during recent months as pandemic precautions forced Extension office staff and 4-H to quickly adapt, moving from in-person activities to engaging youth through Zoom meetings and community service projects, while practicing social distancing.

“We are taking applications now for an AmeriCorps member to work 15-20 hours per week and help expand 4-H programs throughout Gila County, especially our mentorship and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs,” said Downer.

“They will help coordinate afterschool programs and give classroom lessons; provide program information to the media and partners; assist with social media channels; and help recruit and support local volunteers. AmeriCorps participants have their hands in a little bit of everything and these positions are a great introduction to what working for Cooperative Extension is like. There will also be opportunities to engage with AmeriCorps volunteers throughout the state, tapping into a much larger network,” he continued.

4-H in Gila County is part of a nationwide network that engages and mentors youth. In addition to 4-H livestock programs, in Gila County there are a wide range of clubs — from sewing and kayaking to science and mechanics, with a team of skilled community volunteers running these local clubs and, of course, along with many opportunities for animal care and agriculture. Visit extension.arizona.edu/4h/gila for a list of clubs and how to get involved.

Family Consumer Health Science

Ashley Dixon oversees a different slate of assignments and opportunities for a paid AmeriCorps participant. She coordinates Extension’s Family, Consumer and Health Sciences (FCHS) programs throughout Gila County, with a staff focused on streamlining and expanding four key educational areas:

• Early hearing, vision and developmental screenings for infants through age five

• Budgeting and financial literacy classes, offered free

• Parenting programs for families with children ages 5-18, also free

• Nutrition education on San Carlos Apache Lands

“We want to continue to grow these programs in the coming year as well as add more opportunities in the areas of early literacy and perhaps teaching coping skills and anger management, especially during these difficult times and beyond,” said Dixon.

Dixon continued, “Job duties might include helping get materials and supplies together for a budgeting program or assisting with a hearing and vision screening. And the perfect applicant would be someone enthused to get out there into our communities and make connections. A huge goal for the next year is to create comprehensive resource guides for individuals and families we serve, as well as create flyers and infographics for education, outreach and recruitment.”

She said there are additional opportunities for assisting with the work, including working with childcare providers and other organizations and helping with outreach events.

If you are 18 to 19, responsible, ready to learn, a hard worker, good at computer programs, a self-starter, and open to new experiences and skills, AmeriCorps in Gila County has an opportunity for you: paid assignments with 15-20 hours per week; a modest living stipend; plus an education award at completion. Apply at my.americorps.gov, or please feel free to call or text Dixon at 928-978-2911 or email adixon@email.arizona.edu to learn more about AmeriCorps or the programs offered through Family Consumer Health Science.

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