The afternoon of Thursday September 11th, students and members of the larger Santa Fe community gathered on the Placita for this semester’s community, part-time job, and volunteer fair. Organizations send representatives to set up a table, hand out fliers, and discuss their programming over lemonade and cookies. Jay Woodward of the Office of Personal and Professional Development says the fair is for students “to become more familiar with local organizations and gain experience as a volunteer, and to bring part-time jobs to students who do not have a work study award.” Community outreach is an explicit goal of the OPPD this year, and Jay says they’re planning on holding another event in the spring semester for students looking for summer opportunities.
I spoke to another Jay, Jay Hennicke, who received his Masters in Eastern Classics in Santa Fe in 2015 and his Masters in the Liberal Arts in Annapolis in 2004. He was running the table for YouthWorks, a nonprofit providing services for underserved young adults in Santa Fe. They began as a GED assistance program, but have expanded to offer culinary and construction work experience as well as help with community college placement. YouthWorks is offering paid and volunteer positions to St. John’s students this semester. “I found out about YouthWorks at this fair when I was here doing the Eastern Classics program, actually,” says Jay. Now it’s his vocation. “How’s that for full-circle?”
I thought I was familiar with all the bike trails in the Santa Fe area, but speaking to the trails project manager of the Santa Fe Conservation Trust, Tim Rogers, found that there’s much more to explore. Along with the Rail Trail, a sixteen-mile paved path that goes along beside the Rail Runner train, there are back-road routes and narrow shortcuts perfect for two wheels. The trail systems in the foothills, right in our actual backyard, are also more extensive than I thought possible. I asked Tim how far he thought the Dale Bale trail system went up from the St. John’s parking lot into the mountains. “You could hike all the way up to the ski basin, and then you’d be over in the wilderness,” he said. “You could go for days, for weeks, and there’d still be further to go.” Johnnies can assist in the Conservation Trust’s regular maintenance projects of these trails.
Breakthrough Santa Fe, a nonprofit providing academic assistance for local middle and high-school students, offers paid tutoring positions to St. John’s Students. Carpools are available for these jobs, taking students to three local of the local high schools for two-hour sessions once a week. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Johnnies with an interest in pursuing an educational career to get practical experience. The Santa Fe branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters is another occasion for Johnnies to work with kids. My little and I played Connect Four every Wednesday last year during lunch at Atalaya Elementary, eventually branching out to Jenga and Lincoln Logs.
The more time I spend here, the more I realize what a college-town paradise Santa Fe really is. There are internships to be had at museums, part-time jobs at chic cafes and restaurants, yoga studios and trails to discover, and countless volunteer opportunities with upstanding organizations. There will never be enough time to do it all, but the city of Santa Fe is here for us whenever we can make time to experience it, to go out and take the opportunities the city different has to offer us.