Volunteering is Fun! “Share Your Wealth”

by Barbara Anderson-Acosta

“Wealth in this case means ones’ talents, so when I decided 12 years ago to attend the training classes for volunteers I questioned if I had any skills/wealth to share,” says Barbara Anderson-Acosta.  “Within the first three weeks, I found myself to be the recipient of the expertise of many learned individuals about the history of New Mexico and El Rancho de las Golondrinas, as well. Within time, and with staff guidance, I began to explore the various needs for volunteers and decided to learn how to bake in an horno. Upon learning this skill, I was able to share the process and final product of bread with our visitors. This was truly a win/win situation in that I received a skill and shared it with others.”

Barbara states that, “Through the years the Ranch has received many books, and there became a need to catalogue them and set up a “real” library for easy volunteer usage. While working on this project, I noticed a series of books about ‘Josefina,’ a fictional character, who lived on this Ranch as a young girl. Reading these books and seeing the doll, Josefina, all products of American Girl, I was enabled to give Josefina tours in this living museum setting. Participants reenact the life of this young girl by learning some of her ‘chores’ such as grinding corn and making corn husk dolls.”

Since Barbara speaks Spanish and French, she has been able to use her languages (wealth) with visitors in the Admissions Booth, the Golondrinas Gift Shop and during Spanish Colonial Days to help Spanish speaking students and parents.

This past year, a fellow volunteer and Barbara discussed with staff members their idea of doing a food ways presentation, interpreting the events and food during the mid–1800’s until statehood. Upon receiving approval, and most importantly staff support, Barbara and Donna Whitson were able to present their program at the Spring and Fall Festivals to standing room audiences.

Barbara says, “There are so many opportunities for Volunteers at El Rancho de las Golondrinas to explore, learn and share the wealth, and I am glad I am able to do so.”

Special Note: Barbara was the co-volunteer of the year in 2015.

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