Youths serve others in their communities

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Nearly 1,000 young people gave 9,751 hours to the community through the Oneida County Youth Bureau last year. 

“The Oneida County Children Care Initiative promotes youth being involved, community-conscious citizens,” said Youth Bureau Director Kevin Green. “We are continuing to see our youth take ownership and pride in making a difference within our community through volunteering.”

Now in its eighth year, the civic engagement initiative is a collaboration between the Youth Bureau and groups like the Center for Family Life and Recovery, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, John Bosco House, Utica Safe Schools/Underground Cafe, Dodge Pratt Northam Art & Community Center and the Salvation Army Utica Citadel.

“This initiative is a testimony to the work our youth serving agencies do on a daily basis and to the youth of Oneida County, who really do care,” said Green.

Last year through the initiative, the Youth Bureau funded such community service projects as: a bicycle giveaway for Utica children; making Christmas cards to send to veterans and service members; soliciting donations, collecting money and participating in America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, the Walk to end Alzheimer’s and Making Strides to End Breast Cancer Walk; cleaning the yards of senior citizens; preparing food and serving meals at local food pantries; and youth mentoring and tutoring.

“Just as Oneida County supports our youth through many of our programs and activities, it is imperative that those same youth also understand the importance of giving back to the community themselves,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “The Oneida County Children Care Initiative helps youth experience the benefits of volunteerism so that as they mature, they strengthen their community roots and their commitment to service.”

Since the program began in 2009, 9,938 volunteers have donated 18,475 hours of community service.

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