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March 5, 2012

Oswego AmeriCorps Members Help Hundreds of Youth Across Oswego County

AMERICORPS member Ian Mumpton, right, leads youngsters through a military drill at the popular Fort Ontario Summer Youth Physical Activity Workshop last summer. Youth between the ages of 8 and 16 participated in historical sports, games, military drill, martial arts, and other activities designed to teach them about what life was like throughout Fort Ontario's 257-year history. (Photo courtesy Fort Ontario State Historic Site.)

OSWEGO - AmeriCorps Week will be celebrated in Oswego County during the week of March 10.

"AmeriCorps members work with youth throughout Oswego County by mentoring, educating about good nutrition and providing fitness activities," said Kathy Andolina, Oswego County AmeriCorps program coordinator. "The AmeriCorps Week observance provides an opportunity to salute members for their impact on the lives of children they serve and to thank community partners who make AmeriCorps possible."

AmeriCorps is a national service program that provides opportunities for more than 85,000 Americans to give back to their community and country each year. Since 1994, more than 775,000 AmeriCorps members have given one billion hours of service, mobilizing tens of millions of volunteers, and impacting the lives of countless citizens.

The Oswego City-County Youth Bureau administers AmeriCorps in Oswego County.

"Since 1997, 640 individuals have served as AmeriCorps members at schools, libraries, museums, recreation programs and human service agencies in our county," said Kathleen Fenlon, Youth Bureau director.

Members serving this program year in the Oswego County AmeriCorps Program are: Andrea Barry, New Haven Elementary School; Jennifer Blanchard, Oswego Public Library; Vicki Bracco, Palermo NuRu Teen Center; Amy Cowan, New Haven Elementary School; Danielle Czyz, BOCES Migrant Education Outreach Program; Michael DeMassey, Altmar Elementary School; Lauren Domicolo, Housing Visions; Joseph Folino, Hannibal High School; Cynthia Kellogg, Leighton Elementary School; Mary Koskowski, Hannibal High School; Rachel Lanphere, Oswego Salvation Army; Emily McCarty, Mexico Elementary School; Amanda McFarland, Catholic Charities/CYO; Jennifer Monroe, Hannibal High School; Ian Mumpton, Fort Ontario; Jessica Naioti, Fulton Family YMCA, Ryan Raflowski, Oswego Community Christian School; Niki Raymond, New Haven Elementary School; Rachel Schryver, Oswego YMCA Advantage Afterschool; Rebecca Schwartz, Palermo Elementary School; Joseph Shepard, Altmar Elementary School; Matthew Slocum, Oswego Youth Court; John Snow Jr., Hannibal High School; Peter Sterbak, Fort Ontario; Laura Taverni, Oswego YMCA Driving Books Home; Gabrielle Vono, Leighton Elementary School; and Steve Woods, Fort Ontario.

Recently, Vicki Bracco completed her fourth term of service in the Oswego AmeriCorps program. She is the first member in Oswego County's program to serve the maximum number of terms allowed for an individual.

"Vicki is a shining example of the impact an AmeriCorps member can make," said Andolina. "Vicki has served at the Palermo NuRu Teen Center from its opening until last month. One of the many highlights of her time in AmeriCorps was the planting and harvesting of vegetable gardens for the past two years. The donation of fresh vegetables to local food pantries was made possible by the hard work of youth and adults volunteers that worked with Vicki."

Wherever they serve, each AmeriCorps member has an on-site supervisor. Due to the commitment and dedication of these staff at many locations around the county, many youth can benefit from the service of AmeriCorps members.

"In the last program year," said Andolina, "96 youth were mentored for an hour a week during the school year, over 900 students received assistance, over 4,500 youth participated in fitness activities, over 1,500 youth participated in nutrition activities and 1,018 youth and adult volunteers contributed 3,000 hours of service to their community."

The program is currently accepting applications for 300-hour summer positions that will be located at schools, libraries, recreation programs and other agencies that serve youth.

For more information on Oswego County AmeriCorps, contact Kathy Andolina at the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 349-3451 or 1-800-593-3200, ext. 3451 or go to oswegocounty.com/youth/Americorps.html.

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