Oneida County Children Care 2011

Oneida County Children Care, an Oneida County Youth Bureau initiative recently completed its second successful year. The initiative, an initiative of civic engagement implemented in 2009 is collaboration between the Youth Bureau and 11 agencies the Youth Bureau funds that provide programming for youth. The intent of the project is to introduce our children to the invaluable lessons of community service through volunteerism.

“Community service should be an integral part of the development of our youth, because if we do not teach them the importance of forming a strong community connection as young people, they will never learn how much the efforts of one person can impact a community problem, and how much a group of young people working together can help resolve an issue in a neighborhood or a community,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said.

Some of 502 bicycles that were given away free of charge to the youth of the city of Utica during Utica Safe Schools/Underground Cafe's Annual Build-A-Bike. This year the event was held at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Mohawk Valley, Compeer of the Mohawk Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Center for Family Life and Recovery, Utica Municipal Housing Authority, The Neighborhood Center, YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley, Thea Bowman House and Utica Safe Schools/Underground Café were the agencies that participated. “Their on-going and tireless work contributes daily in making our Oneida County communities healthier, happier and safer,” said Youth Bureau Director Bob Roth.

This year, 2011, was the 3rd consecutive year that the number of youth volunteers and the number of hours of volunteer service exceeded the previous year. A record 733 youth volunteers from the above mentioned agencies gave residents of Oneida County 690 hours of volunteer service that included, collecting, tagging, assisting mechanics and fitting helmets on children to give 502 repaired bicycles and new helmets free of charge to the youth of Utica, collecting and distributing 100 coats, 100 hats and 100 pairs of mittens to the children residents who reside in Utica’s Municipal Housing Authority locations, soliciting donations, collecting money and walking in Utica’s version of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, the Multiple Sclerosis Walk and the American Cancer Walk, collecting food, preparing and serving meals at local food pantries, collecting donations and goods to aid animals housed at the Stevens Swan Humane Society, numerous intergenerational activities, cleaning neighborhoods and playgrounds, tutoring children and the list goes on and on!

“The Oneida County Children Care Initiative began in 2009 with a goal of teaching our children the invaluable lessons of community service learned through volunteerism,” Oneida County Youth Bureau Director Bob Roth said. Roth added, “Each year the number of youth volunteers and the number volunteer hours has exceeded the previous year. Nothing; tough economic times, cutting of staff and hours of program operation has stood in the way of the incredible work our Oneida County youth serving agencies does daily, in teaching our youth to give back to their communities to make them healthier, happier and safer places to live. This initiative is testimony to the agencies, but most importantly, our Oneida County children, who really do care! “