March 29, 2022
Albuquerque wasn’t exactly on the radar for Ricardo Devine, who until recently was working as a counselor at the Dallas Union Gospel Mission while studying in a seminary program. But long ago, the 34-year old developed a career philosophy that is quite different from those who relocate for reasons as diverse as more money or to be closer to family or favorite recreation opportunities.
Born in El Salvador, his parents were killed in a civil war that raged well into the early 1990s. He grew up in Colorado with adopted families, had a rough childhood, and even occasionally found himself homeless. Combining that background with a devotion to his Christian faith, he came to this basic service-focused conclusion: “If there’s ever a need, I’ll be that guy.”
Fast forward a few years to the recent retirement of Danny Whatley, the former Rock at NoonDay executive director. Hearing about the vacancy, Devine said he came for a visit and “saw a need.”
So he is now that guy.
Devine takes over an organization that operates a regular meal service and an array of other services for homeless people out of a headquarters near Second and Menaul. Though its food distribution capacity was reduced by COVID-era strains on its largely volunteer labor force, things are ramping back up again.
Besides managing that, Devine wants to bring counselors and a chaplain to the organization’s day-to-day work. A counselor himself, he has worked at psychiatric facilities in Alamosa and Grand Junction, Colorado. A GED and English as a second language program might also be on the agenda, and possibly outreach seminars about homelessness aimed at neighbors and potential friends around the city.
“Every partnership we have is critical to helping the needy,” Devine said.
Downtown Albuquerque News covers Greater Downtown, which we generally define as the area surrounded by I-40, the Rio Grande, Av. César Chávez, and I-25. We publish weekdays except for federal holidays. Subscribe here.