Meet Raysha, Operation AmeriCorps member

Geneva HorseChief-HamiltonOsage Nation Communications

Raysha Stauffer, 27, lives in a small town with only a few employment and educational opportunities. She is among several local people who have signed up for an exciting opportunity that is still relatively new to the area. Operation AmeriCorps and Ta-Wa AmeriCorps, both managed by the Osage Nation Communities of Excellence Program, offer hands-on experience with unique community service driven projects that translates into specialized job training and educational opportunities for their members.

The Osage Nation and the Corporation for National and Community Service announced in August, the Nation is, “one of 10 communities nationwide to become a partner of the agency’s new Operation AmeriCorps initiative.” The total for the two-year project to build WAHZHAZHI Eco Park along with continued work on Bird Creek Farms will be an investment of nearly $1.4 million.

Program Coordinator Nataska Rouse said the members will work on developing Bird Creek Farms, a new food sustainability project spearheaded by Communities of Excellence and the Osage Nation Executive Office. The Nation is utilizing previously unused land to develop Eco Park for gardens, crops, hiking trails, outdoor classrooms and other outdoor recreational services.

Rouse said, “AmeriCorps members will obtain organizational skills and other specialized skills associated with creating, developing, planning and designing Eco Park.”

Spotlight AmeriCorps Member-Stauffer is this week’s Spotlight AmeriCorps Member. She can be seen around town working on various projects wearing the AmeriCorps logo, just like all the other members do when working. Their efforts extend to several areas including elder services and youth services to promote healthy living choices.