The Ojo Sarco Community Center was recognized for its outstanding community service by Rio Arriba County commissioners during its March 30 meeting.
Carol Miller who’s a volunteer board member accepted the recognition during the County commission meeting.
“It’s really nice for us to receive this recognition,” Miller said. “It’s an unusual thing that our community did because we’re isolated and we’re not near any other big communities where programs and services are offered. We’re a very humble organization in a facility that we’ve converted from a former one room schoolhouse into a nice place.”
During the pandemic Miller said the community center had been continuing to provide services including providing over 56 children with art creative kits and history education, including journals, pens and art pads, as well as tutoring programs. The community center's food pantry has been feeding around 100 people semiweekly and has been delivering food to the elderly and homebound in the area.
“We have stepped up, and we’re really proud of our volunteers,” Miller said.
The community center currently has a small lending library but Miller said one of their long term goals was expanding their capabilities so they could operate as an official rural library.
During the pandemic Miller said that they’ve used the time they were closed and COVID-19 response grants to do renovations around the center including hands free sanitizer dispensers.
Miller said that she didn’t know yet if funding existed to continue its summer meal program that it had done with the community center in the past. The meal program provides meals for days a week and art classes three days a week.
“The things we’ve missed is being able to be open,” Miller said. “We’re one of those places where people have their birthday parties or baby showers, we were able to open our parking lot for a memorial for someone who died in a car accident. Our community center has kept the same fee since 1990, $5 an hour, no fee for funeral gatherings. We prefer that people have a place that feels like theirs, we’ve always felt it’s our job to make it available to the community.”
The acknowledgment given to the community center is part of an initiative from County Commission Chairman James Martinez.
“There are so many organizations and individuals that are helping others and providing for the needs of the community in so many different ways,” Martinez said. “I wanted to establish an avenue for recognizing all those different organizations.”