Oneida County Children Care

Oneida County Children Care, an Oneida County Youth Bureau initiative of civic engagement implemented in 2009 successfully completed its first year. The initiative 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.
 
The Boys and Girls Club of the Mohawk Valley, Compeer of the Mohawk Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Family Services of the Mohawk Valley, Utica Municipal Housing Authority, The Neighborhood Center, Sergeant Eli Parker Youth Center, Thea Bowman House, Utica Safe Schools/The Underground Café, YMCA of the Greater Tri-Valley and the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley were the agencies that participated. These agencies provide safe, positive and innovative programming for youth. “Their on-going and tireless work contributes daily in making our Oneida County communities healthier, happier and safer,” said Youth Bureau Director Bob Roth.
 

The goal of the Oneida County Children Care initiative is to take the life lessons these agencies teach and apply them in their communities. “We want our children to be good neighbors in their communities, make their communities a better place to live and aid in providing more worthwhile services while maximizing limited resources,” Picente continued.

 
In 2009, 466 volunteers from the above mentioned agencies gave residents of Oneida County 158 hours of volunteer service that included, preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinners to 350 people in Rome, providing 350 Camden school-aged children with book bags and school supplies, collecting, tagging and assisting mechanics to give 225 repaired bicycles and new helmets free of charge to the youth of Utica, sent holiday cards, socialized with and planned and worked at events for senior citizens and area service veterans, prepared and served meals at Hope House, raised money and participated in America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk and Aids Hike For Life, grew vegetables for food pantries, cleaned neighborhoods and playgrounds and the list goes on and on!
 
“Oneida County Children Care began in 2009 and we hope, will continue to grow by teaching our youth to be involved, community conscious citizens,” Roth said. Roth added, “If the comments from the youth volunteers are any indication, Oneida County residents will be benefitting from the wonderful life lessons youth learn at our Oneida County youth serving agencies for years to come.”

Pictures and agency summaries are included.