First IAMC Volunteer Event – Santo Domingo Trading Post

abq-serviceI’ve always enjoyed volunteering — the positive feeling of giving back to whom you’ve served, but also the exposure to new people, environment and cultures one wouldn’t have normally come across in everyday life.

That’s why I personally found the inaugural IAMC volunteer event during the Albuquerque 2011 Spring Forum an incredible and fulfilling experience.

We traveled to the Santo Domingo Indian Reservation via the New Mexico Rail Runner train, a very efficient method of public transportation servicing many communities, including Native American Tribes and Pueblos, along New Mexico’s north/south corridor.

The Kewa Pueblo train station was our stop, an historical destination for tourists in the 1950s and 60s in search of Native American arts and crafts at a building named appropriately: The Trading Post. Our objective was to assist a critical economic development project to reconstruct the Trading Post to attract a new generation of tourists interested in learning about Native American culture.

IAMC members worked together to assemble adobe bricks, an ancient method of brick making, to be used in the renovation. One team of volunteers mixed the sand, clay, straw and water to create the mud slurry, while another group used a wheelbarrow to transport the heavy mud to another team forming the mud into bricks.

As one of a few wheelbarrow operators, I was able to get the dirt on everybody (pun intended), though so did everyone else. At the end of the four-hour event, with the whole group covered in mud and straw, we all stood in front of more than 300 bricks in celebration of not only what we all had accomplished together, but for the local community. Afterwards, we were invited to lunch at the Santo Domingo Senior Center and given a presentation about the local people and culture.

I encourage you to come a day early to the Fall IAMC Forum in Philadelphia to participate in what I’m sure will be another incredible way to network, collaborate and make new friends while giving back to the Greater Philadelphia community.

Jason Hickey

President, Hickey & Associates, LLC

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