2010 Intergenerational Spring Clean-Up
Oneida County has some really amazing youth! Mike Romano, Director of the Oneida County Office for the Aging and Continuing Care, myself, and senior citizens throughout Oneida County witnessed firsthand just how amazing they were on April 24th and 25th when they volunteered in the 2nd Annual Intergenerational Spring Clean-Up. Over 200 youth volunteers raked and bagged leaves, swept porches, sidewalks, and driveways, and brought debris to the curb for pickup; and here’s what’s amazing, they thanked us for the opportunity to help!
The goal of the Intergenerational Spring Clean-Up is to connect youth with seniors to gain a better understanding and appreciation of one another. “Many of our Oneida County senior citizens can no longer physically clean their yards or being on a fixed income, can’t financially afford to have their yards cleaned for them,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said. Picente added, “The youth volunteers will deliver these services to aid our seniors in preparing their yards for the spring and summer months.”
Eric Otto, MVCC student and volunteer who went home (Washingtonville, NY) for the weekend, but got up at 4:30 am on Sunday and drove 4 ½ hours to fulfill his commitment stated “The Intergenerational Spring Clean-Up was worth the early morning drive. I met some great people and I’m really glad I volunteered.” Amazing!
The Intergenerational Spring (and Fall) Clean-Ups are a collaboration between the Oneida County Youth Bureau, the Oneida County Office for the Aging and Continuing Care, Oneida County colleges, school districts, youth organizations and clubs.” Thank you again for having us participate this weekend,” said Utica College Black Student Union President Kennia Vernard. Amazing!
The Kiwanis Club of Utica, the Rotary Club of Utica, the East Utica Optimist Club, BPOE Utica Lodge 33, the Ukrainian Club of Rome, and American Legion Smith Post 24 of Rome, all civic-minded organizations who see the value in this initiative, continue to be major supporters, generously giving monetary donations to enable us to start and add to our rake, broom, glove, and bag inventory, therefore, giving us the ability to serve more and more senior citizens. Lowe’s (North Utica), Lowe’s (New Hartford), Lowe’s (Rome), Home Depot (South Utica), and Jay-K Lumber all deserve a special thank you for donating rakes and brooms. “Thanks for allowing us to participate in the event,” Mia Townsend, Young Scholars social worker stated. Amazing!
Mike Romano, Tom Giruzzi, Oneida County Youth Program Director and I deliver the rakes, brooms, gloves, and bags to the volunteers throughout the weekend. We visit many of the sites to meet and speak with the seniors and personally thank the youth volunteers as well as their club, organization, or team advisors, coaches, and mentors who are working right with them, proving to be excellent role models. In many instances the seniors provide the youth with water, fruit, sandwiches, and snacks; thank yous are provided at every site. The interaction between the youth and the seniors was truly heartwarming. I interrupted Boy Scout Troop 14/Washington Mills Junior Scout Leader Brian Fee from picking up a stump from a site in New Hartford. This was the second very large site his group was assigned to clean. His face was flushed and dripping with perspiration when I shook his hand and thanked him for volunteering for this worthwhile project. He simply replied, “This is what we do.” Amazing!
The volunteer efforts of 200 Oneida County youth made the 2nd Annual Intergenerational Spring Clean-Up a huge success. The volunteers were outstanding representatives of their respective colleges, high schools, and organizations. They are great examples of the majority of our youth being good, caring, and considerate and giving people we can and should be proud of. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet these young men and women and Oneida County, on a weekend in April was reminded by their amazing efforts, that there is good in our world and Oneida County is a special place to live. “Thanks for letting us get involved,” Mike Durr, Boys Basketball Coach at Notre Dame High School. Durr added, “We get more out of it than the seniors do.” Amazing!
The 2nd Annual Intergenerational Fall Clean-Up is scheduled for the weekend of October 23rd and 24th. Any youth or youth organization interested in volunteering for this event please contact the Oneida County Youth Bureau at (315) 798-5027.