Officials hail impact of youth volunteers

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The Oneida County Youth Bureau’s Children Care Initiative in 2017 included 1,323 youths giving 5,685 volunteer hours to the community, County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today in saluting its continued impact.

Picente, joined by youth volunteers and partnering agencies for the announcement at the County Office Building, said the initiative “helps our young people understand the power volunteerism has in strengthening the foundation of our community and changing people’s lives for the better.”

“The selflessness of giving to others not only positively impacts those in need, but also goes a long way in building the character of the youth who participate in the program,” Picente noted.

The initiative, created in 2009, included community service efforts last year in conjunction with the Center for Family Life and Recovery, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, Utica Safe Schools/Underground Cafe, and Dodge Pratt Northam Art & Community Center which is in Boonville.

Among various projects worked on by county youth:

• Making Christmas cards to send to veterans and service members.

• Preparing food and serving meals at local food pantries.

• Soliciting donations, collecting money and walking in Utica’s version of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, the Walk to end Alzheimer’s, and Making Strides to end Breast Cancer Walk.

• Cleaning senior citizens’ yards.

• Youth mentoring and tutoring.

• Assisting in a bicycle giveaway for Utica children.

“We are continuing to see our youth take ownership and pride in making a difference within our community through volunteering,” said county Youth Bureau Director Kevin Green. “This initiative is a testament to the work our youth serving agencies do on a daily basis and to the youth of Oneida County.”

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