the UNM Service Corps Experience

The UNM Service Corps is currently a collective students predominantly from New Mexico most of who attend the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College. The UNM Service Corps acts in collaboration with a variety of community partners, neighborhood groups, local schools and non-profit organizations to address critical social and educational issues facing children and families. The students apprentice with strong community leaders in approximately 30 community-based organizations. The apprenticeship model is based on long-term relationships and partnerships with some of the strongest non-profits and community based organizations in Albuquerque working on education, economic, and health equity issues. Most Service Corps members are immersed in neighborhood projects for approximately 20 hours a week for at least one year. All Service Corps members have monthly workshops, semester classes, annual retreats and symposiums, to deepen their practice. Many of these professional development opportunities are lead by their peers, the CEC Capacity Builders. This leadership opportunity within the Corps is part of a national Bonner Foundation network.

Goals for the UNMSC include:

  1. Understand the interconnectedness of the social determinants of health, education and economic inequity's through an antiracism lens to undo racism
  2. Understand policy implications and actively participate in at least one civic engagement initiative
  3. Understand and value community knowledge and community participatory based research
  4. Connect academic experiences and career aspirations to community engagement
  5. Complete a long term apprenticeship with strong community leaders in innovative community based initiatives
  6. Experience critical pedagogy through place based learning, experiential education, asset mapping, and critical media literacy

Experiences for the Corps members are within these distinct focus areas

Community Schools Accordion the following text Corps members serve in neighborhood driven community schools projects, which include five elementary after school programs, one middle school program and four high school projects. Most sites collaborate with APS or charter school faculty. Corps members design and implement curriculum based on a holistic, experiential, integrated, community-based literacy for children and families, which includes adult bilingual education.

Tribal Service Corps Accordion the following text Corps members, most of whom are Native American students serve at the Native American Community Academy, the first Native American charter school in Albuquerque. The TSC design and implement activities in the afterschool program to promote the school’s emphasis on cultural identity development, health and well-being, academic preparedness, leadership and community-service. The TSC program is now co-owned with Native American Studies as we continue to connect academic aspirations with community engagement.

Youth Development Accordion the following text Corps members serve in projects which include four civic engagement projects for teens and five campus-based mentoring and community-engagement projects, which include campus-based youth radio. Projects focus on high school and college age youth connecting their academic programs of study to larger socio-political issues and college preparedness.

Community Health Accordion the following text Corps members serve in some of the most innovative community health projects within the state. Project sites include: a statewide network called FoodCorps; an affordable health care clinic in the South Valley; a behavioral health clinic in one of the most marginalized communities of Albuquerque; a program that serves people with disabilities; a full-service pre-school for children of families in distress; and community-health clinics in rural New Mexico that utilize grass-roots food and nutrition non-profits. A recent partnership with Health Sciences and APS has Corps members working on ACA education for college age students at UNM and branch campuses. This project was formally recognized by the APS Board.

Economic and Racial Justice Accordion the following text Students co-design and implement workshops and curriculum focused on the providing children and families the information and skills they need to understand financial institutions and take steps to becoming financially literate. Services include assistance to families undergoing extreme financial distress, including foreclosures and bankruptcy.

Community Sustainability and Development Accordion the following text Corps members serve in a variety of grass-roots community projects which include: alternative approaches to the juvenile justice system through cultural reclamation and healing; a young women’s empowerment project; environmental justice projects that work on re-connecting community to traditional farming practices; community gardens; and a project to help youth and families access resources and learn skills in community mobilization.

Immigration Accordion the following text The Dream Team will be the first student lead cohort in New Mexico to develop the leadership of youth to build capacity in their own communities across New Mexico through outreach, training, social media, information sessions, and building a state network for Listo NM Campaign and implementing Anti-Racism /Anti-Oppression ‘DREAM Zone’ trainings state-wide, but also implementing the training in bi-national and global immigration platforms.