Children Care volunteerism initiative turns 10

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Oneida County Children Care, a civic-engagement initiative by the Oneida County Youth Bureau, gained 400 participants last year from 2017, adding 4,000 volunteer-hours in the process, the county announced.

Youth Bureau Director Kevin Green and County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. were joined by several youth participants Wednesday at the county building in Utica to mark the initiative’s 10th anniversary during the winter school recess.

Last year, 1,798 youth volunteered 9,661 hours to assist with projects sponsored by The Center for Family Life and Recovery, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, Safe Schools Mohawk Valley, the Dodge Pratt Northam Art Community Center in Boonville and the Salvation Army of Utica.

In 2018, youth worked on projects that included promoting tolerance in schools, cleaning senior citizens’ yards, preparing food and serving meals at food pantries, youth mentoring and tutoring, donation drives for the Stevens-Swan Humane Society and Central New York Veterans Outreach Center, and events such as Toys for Tots, Build-A-Bike and the Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Walk.

“The impact the Oneida County Children Care initiative has had on this community, and on the youth who have participated in it, is immeasurable,” Picente said. “For 10 years now, this program has shown our young people the power volunteerism has in making positive changes in other people’s lives and how that selflessness builds strong character in their own.”

Over the past 10 years, 13,059 youth have volunteered 33,823 hours.

“We are continuing to see our youth take ownership and pride in making a difference within our community through volunteering,” Green said. “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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