Oneida County Children Care 2012

Oneida County Children Care, an Oneida County Youth Bureau initiative, recently completed its fourth successful year. The initiative, an initiative of civic engagement implemented in 2009, is collaboration between the Youth Bureau and 9 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 resolve an issue in a neighborhood or a community,” Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said.

Upstate Cerebral Palsy (Utica Campus) volunteers that volunteered for the 4th Annual Oneida County Intergenerational Fall Clean-Up.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Mohawk Valley, Compeer of the Mohawk Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Center for Family Life and Recovery, The Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Utica Municipal Housing Authority 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, 2012, was the 4th consecutive year that the number of youth volunteers exceeded the previous year. A record 926 youth volunteers from the above mentioned agencies gave the residents of Oneida County 560 hours of volunteer service. Their volunteer service included collecting, tagging, assisting mechanics and fitting helmets on children to give away 671 repaired bicycles and new helmets free of charge to the youth of Utica, making 200 Christmas cards to help a child with cancer reach his wish/goal, making and delivering Christmas cards to nursing homes, singing Christmas carols at nursing homes, educating over 1,100 people about the negative effects associated with bullying, collecting and donating 150 canned foods to a local soup kitchen, preparing and serving meals at Hope House and the Rescue Mission, raising awareness by soliciting donations, collecting money and walking in the Rescue Mission’s Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Utica’s version of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, AIDS Hike for Life and Out of the Darkness; Walk to prevent Suicide, folding and stuffing flyers in envelopes for missing and exploited children, cleaning neighborhoods and playgrounds, tutoring children, involvement in numerous intergenerational activities 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,” Youth Bureau Director Bob Roth reiterated. Roth added, “Testimony to the incredible work our Oneida County youth serving agencies do on a daily basis is the continual increase of youth volunteers from year to year! Nothing; not tough economic times, cutting of staff and hours of program operation has stood in the way of their commitment to teach their youth the value of volunteerism and giving back to their communities. This Oneida County Children Care initiative once again proves that our children really do care!