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February 12, 2010

AmeriCorps Workers Take Part in National Day of Service

From left, AmeriCorps members Cosima Sokal-Davidson, Debbie Deeb and Carol-Anne Salladin cook chili at the Oswego Salvation Army.

OSWEGO - Oswego AmeriCorps members recently came together for two service events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. On Jan.16 the members cooked and served a chili to approximately 30 people at the Oswego Salvation Army. On Jan. 18, they coordinated activities related to Dr. King's teachings about peace for children at the School's Out program at the Oswego YMCA. The children enjoyed a disability obstacle course, put together a "Dr. King message quilt" and made peace bracelets.

"Every year, the Corporation for National and Community Service encourages service on MLK Day," said Kathleen Fenlon, director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. "AmeriCorps members from programs across the nation participate in various service projects for national days of service. In Oswego, AmeriCorps members have been doing projects for several years honoring Dr. King."

"Dr. King's message encourages that all people are equal in the fact that everyone has the ability to help someone through service," said member Cosima Sokal-Davidson. "Participating in two MLK Day activities as a volunteer was nice because the people who were served appreciated the kindness of strangers. I really enjoyed helping cook a meal because food is such a basic human need... While volunteering at the YMCA with school age children I was surprised that the young children knew that we were guests volunteering for MLK Day. The children were all smiles and willing to try new things. I think that they were brave to take on our simulation of disabilities and some children even wanted more of a challenge by shooting baskets from further out or using more obstacles to make it more of a challenge."

The Oswego AmeriCorps program has been operating for 13 years in Oswego County, placing members with public agencies, schools, nonprofits, and faith-based agencies to meet critical needs. Current sites include the Department of Social Services, Altmar Elementary School, Workforce NY, and the Fulton YMCA. Sokal-Davidson is an AmeriCorps member at the Department of Social Services.

"When I joined AmeriCorps I didn't realize the need that really exists in Oswego County. AmeriCorps provides plenty of opportunities for members to volunteer and I have taken advantage of more opportunities than I would have on my own, and I am happy to volunteer especially seeing the need in our community. I've even invited family and friends to volunteer with me," said Sokal-Davidson.

The program will also soon be accepting applications from sites to host 2010 summer AmeriCorps members. Anyone interested in serving as an AmeriCorps member can apply anytime. Contact Kathy Andolina at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or by for further information.

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