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April 3, 2015

Oswego AmeriCorps Members Recognized for Thousands of Hours of Service

Every year in March the AmeriCorps program celebrates AmeriCorps Week to salute local members for their impact on thecommunity and to thank community partners who make AmeriCorps possible.

As a national service program, AmeriCorps addresses critical needs in local communities. Members in Oswego AmeriCorps serve youth by mentoring, providing fitness and nutrition activities for youth, and managing volunteers. Members in Oswego Economic Development Corps serve economically disadvantaged individuals by providing housing services and financial literacy education.

"AmeriCorps members in Oswego County certainly fulfill the national motto of 'Getting Things Done,'" said Kathleen Andolina, AmeriCorps Program Coordinator with the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

In the 2013/2014 program year, Oswego AmeriCorps members mentored 175 youth for an hour a week during the school year, 500 students received classroom assistance, 2,800 youth participated in fitness activities, 2,400 youth participated in nutrition activities and 700 youth and adult volunteers contributed to their community. Members in Oswego Economic Development Corps, which started in February 2014, have done financial literacy sessions with 60 people, providing housing services to 800 individuals, and placed 280 individuals in safe, affordable housing.

Andolina said that many AmeriCorps members enjoy their term of service so much that they decide to serve for more than one term.

Ben Boltz of Fulton currently serves in Oswego Economic Development Corps at Catholic Charities and is in his third term of service. He previously served for two summers working with youth at Fulton CYO. In June he will travel to West Africa as a member of the Peace Corps.

Boltz said AmeriCorps not only serves the community but has given his life a sense of direction.

"Before I left for college my AmeriCorps service directed my life in the pursuit of political science, and a career that will work to improve the lives people on a broad scale," said Boltz. "Now after college, and after my third term of service with AmeriCorps, it has once again directed me to an opportunity with Peace Corps that will both allow me to engage and serve communities outside the United States as well as provide a jump start for my career in the form of graduate school."

Boltz will begin his Peace Corps service in June when he moves to the West African country of Burkina Faso to teach English and French.

AmeriCorps members who are serving this year in the Oswego County AmeriCorps Program include Georgia Davis, Mexico Elementary School; BritanyDievendorf, Oswego Youth Court; Heather Donath, Palermo Elementary School; Emma Donovan, Leighton Elementary School; DawnDaLee Doria, Palermo Elementary School; Elizabeth Flynn, Hannibal High School; Lindsay Johnson, Oswego Community Christian School; Carrie LaFlamm, Mexico Elementary School; Sierra Maher, Literacy Volunteers; Mitchell Maniccia, Fort Ontario; Sara Medrano, New Haven Elementary School; Michelle Pawlenko, Fairgrieve Elementary School; Nickole Schmeer, Hannibal High School; Sabrina Sutton, Fulton Family YMCA; Ashley Thompson, New Haven Elementary School; Yomara Vasquez, CITI Migrant Education Support and Tutorial; and Sara Wallace, Leighton Elementary School.

Members serving this year in the Oswego Economic Development Corps include Boltz, Catholic Charities; Michael Butler, DSS; Suzanne Campbell, OCO; Jamie Colvin, DSS; Ann Detterline, Oswego County Housing Development Council; Jessica Duciaume, Catholic Charities; Catherine Kelly, Catholic Charities; Brianna Short, DSS; and Katelyn Winn, Oswego County Probation Department.

Since 1994, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have given 1.2 billion hours of service, and impacted the lives of countless citizens. In 2014, 4 million community volunteers were managed or mobilized by AmeriCorps members.

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

AmeriCorps member moves on to Peace Corps - AmeriCorps member Ben Boltz will teach English and French when he serves in the West African country of Burkina Faso. Boltz worked with youth in Fulton as a member of AmeriCorps and currently works with Catholic Charities in the Oswego Economic Development Corps.

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