I am an AmeriCorps Member, and I Will get Things Done!

AmeriCorps members are hard at work once again, providing health and safety training to farmworkers in states throughout the country. So far this year, our 18 SAFE AmeriCorps members have trained 330 farmworkers on Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and 439 on Project LEAF (Limiting Exposures Around Families).

Just last month, AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs met the 18 members who will provide essential health and safety trainings for farmworkers over the next year. Some of the most energetic members to date, they gathered for the weeklong Annual SAFE AmeriCorps Orientation at the National Chávez Center. While five of them are returning members serving for their second or third year, 13 new members accepted the challenge of serving farmworker communities for the first time.

During the week, members participated in multiple trainings, activities, and workshops. They learned to be successful trainers in pesticide safety, WPS, heat stress training, take home exposure, and other health trainings. Kevin Keaney, Chief of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs Worker Protection, and our EPA program officer Ashley Nelsen, also attended some of the sessions. Both addressed our members on issues related to pesticides, future changes in the WPS, and how the work they do will impact the farmworker community. Jesús Gamboa, AFOP board member and Chief Operating Officer of Proteus, Inc. in California, also gave an inspirational message to the members.

2012 AmeriCorps Members with Kevin Keaney, Ashley Nelson, and AFOP staff

During the course of this year, a total of 30 members will commit to serve and empower farmworkers in Florida, Maryland, Idaho, Maine, Virginia, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and North Carolina. They will offer different types of trainings, health workshops, translation services, and special activities.

Overall, the members will dedicate 36,000 hours to farmworkers. Throughout the year, they will strive to meet and exceed their goal of training 12,600 farmworkers on Pesticide Safety; 3,760 on Project LEAF; 1,578 farmworkers on heat stress prevention through Proyecto Sol; and 560 farmworkers on other health-related topics.

Health trainings, are not the only area SAFE AmeriCorps members are reaching farmworkers in: 2,100 farmworkers will be impacted through direct services, such as translation and transportation; 1,046 farmworkers will receive referrals to other services or agencies; 1,572 partnerships with local service providers, as well as academic, and religious institutions will be built; 420 volunteers will be recruited; and 56 activities will be held all around the country to commemorate César Chávez day, Farmworker Awareness Week, as well as activities around other correlated events and dates.

Given the energy and determination of this group, we are confident they will exceed expectations and do an excellent job serving their farmworker communities.  At the end of the week-long orientation,  the members took part in a graduation ceremony led by Paul Chávez, President and Chair of the Chávez Foundation. There, they took their oath as members of AmeriCorps, loudly proclaiming: “I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done!” We look forward to seeing the continued results.

For more information or learn how to participate in the SAFE AmeriCorps program, visit our website.

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