Local hero serves in AmeriCorps NCCC

By Shaikha Rasmussen
Elias Corral of Los Banos, Calif., recently began his 10-month term of service in the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program.  He began work on his first of four long-term service projects the week of November 14.
Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps NCCC is a residential national service program that supports disaster relief, the environment, infrastructure improvement, energy conservation, and urban and rural development.
Corral arrived at AmeriCorps NCCC’s Southwest Region Campus in Denver and began training on Wednesday, October 12th for 10 months of full-time service with the program.  This training emphasized teamwork, leadership development, communication, service learning, and certification by the American Red Cross.
As a Corps Member, Corral will be responsible for completing a series of six- to eight-week-long service projects as part of a 10- to 12-person team.   His first service project will end on December 16, at which time his team will break for the winter holidays and begin a new project in a new location in January.
Twenty-eight teams composed of over 300 Denver-based Corps Members and Team Leaders are serving on their first projects.  Twenty-one of the 28 teams deployed from Denver on Saturday, November 12 to projects throughout the southwestern United States, including a nature reserve in Missouri, a children’s hospital in Arkansas, and long-term tornado recovery in Joplin, Mo., among others. The seven remaining teams are working on projects in Colorado.
There are four other NCCC campuses located in Perry Point, Md., Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss., and Sacramento, Calif., each of which is a hub for its respective area of the country, though teams will travel to other regions for disaster relief projects.
Before joining the NCCC, Corral attended Grizzly Challenge Charter School.  Corral said, “I chose to join NCCC to help better myself and others around me.” Elias is the son of Marta Rivas.
AmeriCorps NCCC members, all 18 to 24 years old, complete at least 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month program.  In exchange for their service, they receive $5,550 to help pay for college.  Other benefits include a small living stipend, room and board, leadership development, team building skills, and the knowledge that, through active citizenship, they can indeed make a difference.  AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.  For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at www.americorps.gov/nccc.

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