Meet Vidal Gonzales, another RMYC success story.
Vidal has always been a traditional pueblo person. As a young man growing up at Santa Clara Pueblo, he enjoyed working in the fields, hunting, fishing, and being outside. When he saw a flyer for a Corpsmember position, he thought RMYC could help him expand his personal interests into a career. Now he works at Bandelier National Monument working with the things he loves – his history, his people, and his desire to pass on his traditions to the next generation.
Though he didn’t realize it at the time, he started his career in high school when he first joined RMYC in 2014. He worked with his crew to build trails at Ghost Ranch and at Abiquiu Lake. Then he learned about the RMYC Preservation Crew working at Bandelier National Monument. He was hired and began working with a crew of all Pueblo tribal members. They helped restore the ancient structures at the monument. The staff at Bandelier are members of San Ildefonso Pueblo and quickly engaged him and the other Corpsmembers. They became his mentors and demonstrated the importance of having Pueblo youth work at the monument. He learned that preserving the ancient structures created a place for future generations of tribal members to learn their history. “This place contains knowledge of who we are as Pueblo people,” says Vidal.
The RMYC training curriculum exposes Corps members to the technical and creative process of searching for work after graduation. Vidal learned how to use USA JOBS, the official website for applying for federal positions. In 2016, he found an opening as a Mason Helper at Bandelier. He applied and was hired. Now, Vidal is teaching the next generation of pueblo tribal members about the traditions that can be found within the ancient structures at the monument.
Vidal’s story does not stop at Bandelier. As an RMYC alumni, he is using his AmeriCorps scholarship to help pay for tuition at UNM in Albuquerque to get his bachelor’s degree in anthropology. He sees his education as a “continuance of the knowledge system.” He is learning more about his people and how he can help them. He wants to work with Santa Clara Pueblo after graduation and continue working with the National Park Service at the monument. He wants to help more youth find their path, and that includes something they may never have thought of. As he says, “RMYC gives youth an opportunity for new dreams – a future in something they never even thought of. That is what I hope for Corpsmembers working at RMYC.”