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March 2011 Volume 1, Issue 1 THE OARS ORACLE ... The Official OARS Newsletter. AMERICORPS OARS Volume 1, Issue 1 March 2011 What is Americorps? 2 What is AmeriCorps? 2 What is OARS?

Jul 06, 2020




  • Meet the AmeriCorps Members!

    THE OARS ORACLE The Official OARS Newsletter.

    A M E R I C O R P S O A R S

    Volume 1, Issue 1

    March 2011

    What is Americorps? 2

    What is AmeriCorps?

    What is OARS?


    Just Fifteen Minutes

    of Your Time/ OARS

    Service Projects


    Trip to the Rotunda/

    Lights, Camera,



    Great Stories of



    The Importance of

    Goal Setting




    Word Search



    Inside this issue:

    Lesley Burnett (RCC) Financial Literacy, Breaking


    Richard Hansen (RCC) Financial Literacy, Breaking


    Donna Harati (PNM) GED Tutoring, Lifeskills

    Workshops, Family Reunification

    Laura Kanewske (SNMCF) Breaking Barriers, Financial Literacy, College Tutoring

    Guy McNeal (PNM) GED Tutoring, Financial

    Literacy, Lifeskills Workshops

    Fatou Ndao (PNM) GED Tutoring,

    Lifeskills Workshops

    Seth Pedigo (CNMCF)

    College Tutoring, Breaking Barriers

    Mark Rosebrough (ABQ) Community Service Project


    Andrew Valdez (CNMCF) Breaking Barriers, GED


    Abby Poulos (SNMCF) Breaking Barriers,

    GED Tutoring

  • This is a first-year grant (2010-

    2011) for Opportunities with

    AmeriCorps for Reentry Success

    ( O A R S ) f u n d e d b y t h e

    Corporation for National and

    Community Service (CNCS).

    NMCD’s partnership with CNCS

    through OARS affords us 14

    full-time volunteers each grant

    year dedicated to providing reentry

    services through the Education


    OARS seeks to promote public

    safety by addressing recidivism

    through education and reentry

    related services for offenders and

    ex-offenders as well as provide

    opportunities for AmeriCorps

    volunteers to complete meaningful

    community-based service as a way

    of helping their country. In its first

    year, OARS has placed its

    volunteers at state-run

    correctional facilities

    throughout New Mexico

    specifically, Las Cruces,

    Los Lunas, Roswell, and

    S a n t a F e . O A R S

    volunteers work in the

    education departments of

    their facilities, acting as

    tutors in Adult Basic

    Education and college

    classrooms, offering

    cognitive programming

    such as Breaking Barriers,

    working one-on-one with

    offenders on family reunification, teaching financial literacy

    workshops, and facilitating life skills workshops. At a time when state

    budget cuts threaten the integrity of correctional education programs,

    OARS fills the gap by providing facilities with passionate and driven

    volunteers who are eager to share their knowledge and skills with an

    often overlooked and underserved population.

    What Is OARS? By Abby Poulos

    Page 2 THE OARS ORACLE The Official OARS Newsletter.

    What is AmeriCorps? By Abby Poulos AmeriCorps is like the PeaceCorps only the volunteers in this program complete their year of service in

    America instead of in overseas communities. State and National AmeriCorps programs like the

    Opportunities with AmeriCorps for Reentry Success (OARS) program at NMCD are federally funded by

    the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in Washington, D.C. There are

    approximately 75,000 opportunities a year to volunteer with AmeriCorps to address critical needs in our

    communities. Some of these critical needs are focused in many different areas of interest—from community

    development, disaster relief, ex-offender reentry, education, elder care, environment, hunger, homeless,

    public safety, etc.—but they all seek to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of life in communities.

    In exchange for their full-time service each week, AmeriCorps volunteers receive a modest living stipend,

    health and dental insurance, loan forbearance, loan forgiveness, and child care should they qualify. At the

    successful completion of their service, a substantial education award is provided by CNCS. This education

    award can be used to further one’s education, pay off students loans, and in some cases can be handed down

    to dependents. More importantly, the experience gained during a year of AmeriCorps service can be

    life-changing. It not only opens doors for future employment opportunities, it allows individuals to channel

    their particular talents, interests, and passions to directly and constructively impact the communities they


  • O n e d a y , w e w e r e

    visiting the pods at the

    level VI facility of the

    Penitentiary of New

    Mexico, talking to inmates

    who had shown interest in

    GED classes and who

    were ILP mandated. One

    of the inmates asked if he could

    talk to us. I went to his cell, and

    he said: I received my GED a

    while ago, but I am starting to

    forget my math. Russell (a

    teacher at PNM) gave me this

    book so I can practice my math,

    but I am having

    difficulties solving

    many of these math

    problems, and I don’t

    have any help. Would

    you please help me? I

    told him to give me the

    book and that I would go home,

    figure out how to solve the

    problems and get back to him

    the following day. I went home

    with the book. It was very

    simple math and it took me less

    than 10 minutes to solve the

    problems. The next day, Guy

    and I taught him how to solve

    the problems that he was having

    trouble with. It took us 15

    minutes and he was so

    appreciative that he said: “This

    is all we need; just 15 minutes of

    your time can make a big differ-

    ence, I’ve been looking for help

    for a very long time. Thank you

    very much and I hope that you

    guys will stop by and help us

    from time to time.”

    able to assist an upstart

    birthing clinic that

    s e r v e s u n in s u r ed

    women by helping

    them with landscaping

    needs necessary for the

    opening of the clinic.

    A m e r i C o r p s

    volunteers also spent

    time at St. Martins’

    Shelter serving meals

    and handing out cloth-

    ing to the homeless in

    Albuquerque. Members

    were also happy to

    work with Habitat for

    Humanity of Santa Fe. The group spent the day siding a house that was

    being built for a single mother and her family. Members were able to

    lend a hand to a worthy cause while also learning construction skills

    that would become helpful to them in the future. Community service is

    clearly an ideal that each member believes strongly in.

    AmeriCorps members are as

    helpful in the community as

    they are in the prisons. In less

    than four months, members have

    already participated in five

    independent service projects.

    These projects take place

    outside each member’s normal

    work duties. The first set of

    projects came during the

    mandatory OCT time in

    December. As a group, we were

    OARS Service Projects By Mark Rosebrough

    Page 3

    Just Fifteen Minutes of Your Time By Fatou Ndao

  • The rotunda and halls of the

    statehouse were a hive of

    activity as hundreds of

    volunteers representing dozens

    of AmeriCorps volunteer

    organizations made their rounds

    around and around the

    Roundhouse during the 8th

    A n n u a l S e r v i c e a n d

    Volunteerism Day on January

    26, 2010.

    A private citizens, and through

    meeting face-to-face with legis-

    lators and pressing more than a

    few hands, the OARS volunteers

    demonstrated their political

    savvy as they made the case that

    not only is AmeriCorps (and, by

    extension, the OARS program) a

    vital piece of the community

    service puzzle, but that

    education in correctional

    institutions is of paramount

    importance in accomplishing the

    stated goal of incarceration:


    Aside from the official goal of

    meeting and greeting legislators,

    which was the primary purpose

    of the day, it was simply a great

    pleasure to connect with other

    volunteers from programs all

    throughout the state. The service

    event at the Roundhouse was

    indeed a much-needed respite

    from the typical legislative

    scene of political factions

    fighting over the (admittedly)

    pressing issues of budgets and

    taxes. Seeing representatives of

    the approximately 6,000

    AmeriCorps volunteers who are

    currently serving throughout

    New Mexico was a heartening

    sight that was a powerful visual

    reminder of the spirit of civic

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