AmeriCorps volunteers

Greenlee County AmeriCorps volunteers stand in the soon to be planted pumpkin patch.

DUNCAN — Greenlee County is currently receiving the benefit of two AmeriCorps members.

Kim Johnson and Mary McGetrick began their 2018-19 terms of service in October 2018 by helping University of Arizona Greenlee County Cooperative Extension staff and parent volunteers to facilitate the annual pumpkin patch event at the Greenlee County extension garden.

By way of those pumpkins, 134 youths learned the science and math of growing plants, along with the nutrition and exercise benefits of gardening and more.

Keeley Wagley, 2017-18 AmeriCorps volunteer in Greenlee County, planted those pumpkins during her term of service.

Since then, our AmeriCorps members have served several horticulture-related programs in Greenlee County. These programs include managing two seed libraries — one in the Clifton Public Library and another in the Duncan Public Library. Seed libraries are free of charge, provide locally adapted seeds, and host education and volunteer opportunities.

Another aspect of the volunteers’ service is school gardens. They have assisted teachers and students with garden lessons and activities in grades K-12. They even helped junior high school students to graft their own fruit trees, to be planted in the school garden.

Combined terms of our members will provide 1,350 hours of service to our community this year.

AmeriCorps offers a variety of service opportunities, from the classroom to the outdoors, and everything in between. No matter what one is passionate about, where one is from or why one chooses to serve, AmeriCorps is a chance to be part of the greater good.

AmeriCorps members are dedicated to strengthening communities. AmeriCorps members can choose to commit to service anywhere from three months to a year, and from seven to 20 hours a week.

There are perks to volunteering with AmeriCorps — in addition to the reward of serving country and giving back — including but not limited to:

• Student loan deferment

• Skills and training

• Living allowance

• Limited health benefit options

• Education award upon completion of service to help pay for college, graduate school or vocational training, or to repay student loans

The 2019-20 term of service begins Sept. 1, and the application period has begun. For those interested in serving, contact the Greenlee County Cooperative Extension at 928-359-2261 or e-mail Bill Cook at wrc@email.arizona.edu.

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