*SWERV Albuquerque operates alongside the ABQYAV program, so you'll find similar statements and vision on each of our pages*
In Albuquerque, we long for young adults to encounter transformation. Whether it is understanding local cultural and racial history, learning from local nonprofits rooted in the community, or reflecting on their own personal journey of growth, we trust that volunteers will encounter transformation, both in the place they serve, and in themselves.
When you arrive in New Mexico, you come to a place that has been continuously inhabited for thousands of years, a place where many locals can trace their family roots back 30 to 40 generations. You come to a place with 19 Pueblos and 4 reservations, the land of the Pueblo people, of the Apache people, of the Diné (Navajo) people. You are a visitor here, and while we know you may be eager to help, we're first going to ask that you listen and learn.
New Mexico presents a historic convergence of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo communities. As newcomers in this space, it is important that volunteers recognize the layers of context that come with that convergence--what was the role of religion in the colonization of this space by Spanish conquistadors and settlers? How does that continue to show up through our own faith-based program? How do we recognize our own complicity in these systems?
While you will live and serve in Albuquerque, you will have opportunities to encounter the beauty of the high desert throughout the state of New Mexico. Landscape is closely tied to culture in this space, and through our partnership with the Presbytery of Santa Fe, we strive to explore beyond Albuquerque, building relationships with faith communities and organizations to better learn the history and context of different areas and cultures around the state.
Living Space: Welcome to 120 Elm St! This 3-bedroom home is owned by First Presbyterian Church (located just across the street). 120 Elm is located one block off Central Ave, aka the historic Route 66, and gives great access to public transportation, downtown, and the Nob Hill/University neighborhood! The house comes fully furnished, so the program will provide you with beds, furniture, linens, and kitchen necessities.
Intentional Community: During your local orientation here in Albuquerque, volunteers will work together to draft a covenant, which will guide your life as a community, helping establish expectations around spiritual life, housekeeping responsibilities, and cultivating relationships with one another. What your covenant and intentional community look like is ultimately up to you and the members of your community! SWERV staff will be a resource to help guide some of those conversations, but ultimately, the community is yours.
Stipends: Volunteers are provided with a monthly stipend to cover their food, transportation, house utilities, and living costs. It is expected that volunteers pool their resources around food, transportation, and utilities to encourage that all community members are having their needs met.
Transportation: Albuquerque is a broad, spread out city. Volunteers are encouraged to use public transportation and bicycles available at the volunteer house, but are also welcome to bring personal vehicles. Personal vehicles are not the responsibility of the program, but can allow for volunteers to better explore Albuquerque and the diverse landscapes of New Mexico. It frequently occurs that some volunteers bring vehicles, and others don't: this creates important space for conversation around the privilege and power that having a personal vehicle affords, and how to use that privilege for the benefit of the whole community.
Community Days: Mondays in ABQ are set aside for our Community Day, an opportunity to dive deeper into SWERV focus areas, community development, or exploring New Mexico. Some community days will be all-day excursions to important cultural locations around the state, while others will be guided reflections taking place in the volunteer house.
Work Placements: Prior to your arrival in ABQ, we'll work to place you with a local work placement partner. We wait until we have our full volunteer cohort set before we place you with a work placement partner, so we can best ensure that the gifts and talents of our volunteers can meet the needs of our community partners. Especially in this time of global pandemic, the needs of our community partners are changing rapidly, so the nature of work and job description for a volunteer might be changing as well! Through a work placement/vocational discernment survey, and conversations with ABQ SWERV staff, we work to find the best matches for each of our volunteers and our placement partners.
Volunteers work 32-35 hours/week at their local work placement partners, Tuesday-Friday. You are given 2 weeks (8 days) of vacation over the course of your time in New Mexico, with approval from your work placement supervisor and the site coordinator.
Vocational Discernment: In addition to meeting weekly for community days, volunteers meet 1 on 1 with the site coordinator at least once per month, to allow for opportunities to reflect on their experiences in community, at their work placement, and how both are impacting their vocational discernment
Volunteers are also paired up with an individual spiritual director who will walk along with them throughout their year in Albuquerque. Spiritual Directors are trained to listen and ask questions that help volunteers dig deeper into their faith and where God might be calling them in their spiritual and vocational journey.