Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crew Deploys to Puerto Rico

Contacts:

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Melissa Cuff
Conservation Corps
651/209-9900, ext. 26
melissa.cuff@conservationcorps.org

Mark Wilson
Conservation Corps
515-412-7130
mark.wilson@conservationcorps.org

Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa Crew Deploys to Puerto Rico

SAINT PAUL, Minn., October 13, 2017 – After two disaster relief deployments this fall (49 AmeriCorps members to Texas and 19 to Florida), Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCMI) deployed a new crew today to San Juan, Puerto Rico on an early morning flight from MPS Airport. This new deployment of seven AmeriCorps members and one staff will assist survivors of Hurricane Maria by direct services such as debris removal and roof tarping. CCMI members signed up for this opportunity inspired by critical needs of the survivors.

“I hope to make an impact by helping people get back on their feet again,” said crew member, Erin Bjork. “I’m looking forward to using my Spanish skills, while also putting my training into action.” Erin currently lives in Minneapolis and plans to start her second year of AmeriCorps service in 2018. She joined Conservation Corps to use her biology degree and gain experience working with state agencies, such as the Department of Natural Resources.

“Conservation Corps’ presence in Puerto Rico is an important way to show that we care about our fellow citizens,” said crew member Santiago Palaez. “Spanish is my first language after growing up in Colombia and I hope to use this and other skills to make a difference for the people of Puerto Rico.” Santiago lives in Duluth, MN fulfilling service year through a media/communications placement with the University of Minnesota Extension.

The crew headed to Puerto Rico today will join more than 100 AmeriCorps members active in response to Hurricane Maria in both Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As part of the federal government’s ongoing recovery efforts, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency responsible for service and volunteering that administers AmeriCorps, has committed more than 2,200 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members to communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Since August, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps teams have been dispatched to Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Following a disaster, national service acts as a force multiplier, providing key resources and significantly expanding the capacity of existing organizations on the ground. More than 40,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. In the decade since, AmeriCorps teams have provided critical support after countless disasters, including Hurricane Sandy; the 2013 floods in Colorado; and tornadoes in Joplin, Mo., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Moore, Okla.

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About Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa: A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa provides hands-on environmental stewardship and service-learning opportunities for youth and young adults. They perform conservation, natural resource management and emergency response work throughout Minnesota, Iowa and surrounding states. www.conservationcorps.org  

About AmeriCorps: AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service. Each year, more than 80,000 men and women serve at more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and faith-based groups, joining the more than 1 million Americans who’ve taken the pledge to ‘get things done’ since the program’s inception in 1994. www.nationalservice.gov

Conservation Corps members deploying to Puerto Rico on Friday, October 13, 2017. Pictured: AmeriCorps members -- Christopher Conrad of Shoreview, MN, Erin Bjork of Minneapolis, MN, Landon Acre-Kendall or Saint Paul, MN, Megan Lynch or Saint Paul, MN, Morgan Kramschoster of New Hope, MN, Santiago Pelaez of Duluth, MN, and Danielle Yaste of Sandstone, MN. Staff member – Jonathan Goldberg.

Conservation Corps members deploying to Puerto Rico on Friday, October 13, 2017. Pictured: AmeriCorps members -- Christopher Conrad of Shoreview, MN, Erin Bjork of Minneapolis, MN, Landon Acre-Kendall or Saint Paul, MN, Megan Lynch or Saint Paul, MN, Morgan Kramschoster of New Hope, MN, Santiago Pelaez of Duluth, MN, and Danielle Yaste of Sandstone, MN. Staff member – Jonathan Goldberg.