Our Volunteer of the Month for January is Yoli Acosta, the third of Las Tres Hermanas to be featured for their contributions to our community. Her sisters, Benita Muñiz and Jeannie Masters, were previously nominated for volunteers of the month, and they all work together to make Questa and vicinity a wonderful place to live.
Yoli makes her home in Questa. She grew up in Cerro and graduated from Questa High School. She described herself as a real jock in high school. She loved sports and played basketball, volleyball, and baseball—she did it all.
Yoli moved away for 20 years and did many fun things, including a stint as a team truck driver with her husband. She lived in far-flung places, including Wyoming, Denver, and as far away as Maryland. When her three boys, Joaquin, Richard, and Miguel started getting older, she realized she didn’t want them to grow up in the city, so in 1990 they moved from Denver back to Questa. It was a good move.
Now her kids are grown; one is in Las Cruces, one in Lubbock, Texas, and one is close to home, in Taos. Yoli has four grandchildren and is retired now. She devotes much of her free time to helping others.
Yoli is good at working with people, which is why she is so appreciated as a volunteer. She enjoyed her job with the Taos County Extension Service as a nutritional educator, a project of New Mexico State University. She went to homes and schools to help people bring more nutrition into their lives. She taught people to read labels, cook with healthy ingredients, and how to be good shoppers. The elderly, she said, were the most vulnerable and benefited from improved diets, especially those with health concerns, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. While with the County Extension Service, she helped out at the Taos County Fair, which was always fun. She has great things to say about the fair, 4-H, and the benefits of spending time in nature.
“Be careful with technology,” she warns, as she believes it has bad effects on the brain and overall health, especially for kids.
Yoli graduated from UNM-Taos and went to work for Miner’s Transit Company in Red River, where for 19 years she was a driver and transit supervisor. It was a great job, she says, The most fun part was dressing up for Mardi Gras, Halloween, and Christmas. During her time in Red River, she had many opportunities to volunteer, especially helping kids, which she loves.
After Yoli retired, she shifted her focus to Questa. She now volunteers for Vida Del Norte Coalition and Questa Creative Council when they need her, and helps with events. She is a regular volunteer at the North Central Food Pantry. Most recently Yoli started helping out at The Questa Del Rio News. She volunteers with distribution and mailings and was a big help with the newspaper booth at the Alumbra Christmas Market on December 11. “I volunteer,” she says, “If you need help, give me a holler, I will help you if I can!”
“This is the time to give back,” she says of being retired and a volunteer. “If you appreciate your community, you need to stick together and work together to keep things together. We may forget that we need support. We forget that there are people here in need, especially the elderly—I am one of them!” she jokes. She says that in these times, it is becoming increasingly important to support each other to move our community forward.
When Yoli is not helping others, she studies God’s Word. She says about volunteering: “Love thy neighbor as thyself. That is why I help. Everyone needs help, and I live by His word.”