Oneida County Youth Volunteerism Initiative Continues to Make a Difference

Nearly 1,000 Youth Volunteered Close to 10,000 Hours in 2016

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. announced today that in 2016, 990 youth gave back 9,751 volunteer hours to the community through the Oneida County Youth Bureau’s Children Care Initiative.

“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,” Picente said. “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.”

Now in its eighth year, the civic engagement initiative was a collaboration between the Youth Bureau and The Center for Family Life and Recovery, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, John Bosco House, Utica Safe Schools/Underground Café, Dodge Pratt Northam Art & Community Center and The Salvation Army Utica Citadel to provide youth programing with the intent of introducing lessons of community service through volunteerism.

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 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 the yards of senior citizens; preparing food and serving meals at local food pantries; youth mentoring and tutoring and other community activities.

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