Youth Corps helping remodel homes

Four homes in Tucumcari will receive an energy efficiency remodeling by members of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.

QCS photo: Thomas Garcia

Quay County Commissioner Brad Bryant shakes the hands of the youth corps members who will be working to make four Tucumcari residences energy efficient.

Two crews from the Taos based corps are working to complete customized upgrades that will make each home as energy efficient as possible.

They are some of the nicest young men, said Wanda Walker.

Walker's home is one of those selected to receive the upgrades that average $4,500 and could include new insulation, caulking, windows and/or new heating systems.

City Manager Doug Powers, Quay County Manager, Richard Primrose and County Commissioners Sue Dowell, Mike Cherry and Brad Bryant were present as work crews began work at Walker residence.

The corps received more than 200 applications this year. Funding only allows us to service 40 homes in northern New Mexico, said Ben Thomas, field program director.

The corps receives their funding from the Department of Energy, an AmeriCorps grant, LIHEAP and utility companies such as New Mexico Gas and PNM.

This program serves a duel purpose: It gives members of the corps an opportunity to provide a direct service to a community while they learn new skills, training and scholarship, said Carl Colonius, executive director RMYC.

Colonius said the corps serves seven counties in northern New Mexico, they provide youth ages 18-25 with an opportunity to serve and receive training in a range of services.

In exchange for 1,700 hours of service, corps members earn a $5,550 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to help pay for college or pay back student loans.

Colonius said those in the program are not only eligible for the scholarship, they receive hands no training through a partnership with Santa Fe Community College's New Mexico Energy Smart Academy.

The academy has been partnered with the corps for a year during which time their members receive four to five weeks of training on energy efficient practices and OSHA safety training, said Bill Eckman, lead trainer NMESA.

Eckman said they receive Environmental Protection Agency certification for the state and are even eligible for national certification.

We have been able to learn how the house works as a system, and how to best optimize the efficiency of home while ensuring the safety of the work crew and resident, said Daniel Martinez, corps member.

Colonius said while having the chance to serve a community, these youth are gaining valuable experience and field time which will give them an advantage entering the work field.

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