Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – After months of planning and painting Amanda McFarland, AmeriCorps member and Stacie Roberts, coordinator of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s CYO program, celebrated the completion of the CYO Mural Project with an unveiling of the murals.
Comprised of nine separate murals that cover the walls of the CYO’s middle gym, the project represents the variety of youth programs that CYO offers.
Conceived by AmeriCorps member Amanda McFarland, as her community service requirement, she recruited area youth and other youth organizations to work on the project.
“It truly was a collaborative effort. In addition to encouraging CYO youth to be involved I reached out to the Oswego County Youth Advocate Program (YAP) and the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County,” said McFarland.
Brandi Weaver, who oversees the art program at YAP, was happy to be a part of the project. “Participating in the CYO Mural Project was a great opportunity for our youth to be involved in the community and interact with other youth. Our art club meets at CYO twice a month so our youth are very familiar with the CYO and the programs it offers. It was awesome to bring everyone together to work collaboratively on the project. The kids created the designs and painted each mural. They had a great time and I enjoyed being part of the project,” said Weaver.
When word of the CYO Mural Project reached Abby Jenkins, program coordinator for the Tobacco Free Network of Oswego County (TFN), she too was interested in being involved. “It was a great opportunity for us to reach out to area youth and inform them of our programs. They really brainstormed to a mural that would highlight our programs and what we do at the TFN. It was a wonderful experience and they did a great job,” said Jenkins.
AmeriCorps Assistant, Carrie Victory echoed those thoughts and praised McFarland for her efforts. “This is an excellent example of what our AmeriCorps member community projects are all about. Amanda did a great job recruiting volunteers and mural benefits both the CYO and the community as area youth and their parents who visit the CYO will be able to view and enjoy the mural as well,” said Victory.
With the mural now completed, those involved are not ready to put away their paintbrushes. They would still like to continue to express their creative ideas. “Everyone was impressed with the results of the mural project,” said Roberts. “The murals look great and the kids are proud to have been a part of it. It was a very positive experience for them and gave them a sense of ownership in the project and the CYO program well. Everyone enjoyed the process so much that we are currently discussing the possibility of designing additional murals for other areas of the building. It was a great project and proved that there is nothing our youth can’t do when they work collaboratively toward a common goal.”
Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation. Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego, NYS Office of Children and Family Services through Oswego City/County Youth Bureau, and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.