Oneida County Children Care 2016

Oneida County Children Care, an Oneida County Youth Bureau initiative, recently completed its eighth successful year. The initiative, an initiative of civic engagement implemented in 2009, is collaboration between the Youth Bureau and 8 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.

Cornell Cooperative Extension, The Center for Family Life and Recovery, The Neighborhood Center, Thea Bowman House, John Bosco House, Dodge Pratt Northam Art Community, Utica Safe Schools/Underground Café and The Salvation Army Utica Citadel 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 Kevin Green.

This year, 2016, 990 youth volunteers gave the residents of Oneida County an amazing 9,751 hours of volunteer service! Their volunteer service included collecting, tagging, assisting mechanics and fitting helmets on children to give away repaired bicycles and new helmets free of charge to the youth of Utica, making Christmas cards to send to veterans and service members, making and delivering Christmas cards to nursing homes, singing Christmas carols at nursing homes, preparing and serving meals at Hope House and the Rescue Mission, raising awareness by soliciting donations, collecting money and walking in the Utica’s version of America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk, the Walk to end Alzheimer’s, Making Strides to end Breast Cancer Walk, the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome awareness, 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 Kevin Green reiterated. Green added, “Our Oneida County youth serving agencies do incredible work on a daily basis with our children. 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!