Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Helen Hoefer, supervisor of Emergency Services at Catholic Charities of Oswego County, has announced that AmeriCorps Member, Eve Simmonds has joined the Emergency Services staff.
A sophomore at SUNY Binghamton, Simmonds is pursuing a degree in English Rhetoric.
She became aware of AmeriCorps while volunteering at the Pratt House Museum in Fulton.
“I had volunteered many times so when I had the opportunity to become an AmeriCorps member and work at the Pratt House Museum I jumped at the chance,” said Simmonds.
During her time at the Pratt Museum Simmonds created of a walking tour of the city of Fulton.
“It was a great experience. It was my first job and I learned a lot. It helped me develop communication, organization, and planning skills,” said Simmonds.
At Catholic Charities, Simmonds main duty is overseeing Catholic Charities role in the Fulton Community Garden project.
She also spends some of her time working in the agency’s food pantry where she conducts client in-takes and assists clients with choosing foods from their menu, and providing information and referrals for other services.
Simmonds oversees all 24 plots in the Fulton Community Garden and assists participants with planting, tending, and eventually harvesting their vegetables.
“The weather has made it a real challenge but it is satisfying to watch the vegetables grow and seeing the participants’ reactions. For many it is the first time they have had a garden and they are very excited,” said Simmonds. “I’m enjoying my time at Catholic Charities. I love interacting with people all day. It can sometimes be a challenge but it is very rewarding to know that I am helping people extend their food supply and making their life better.”
Now in her second stint with AmeriCorps, Simmonds considers herself fortunate to be a part of it.
“AmeriCorps is a great opportunity for a young person. It not only helps you develop leadership skills but you learn the importance of discipline. It is a very fulfilling experience and gives you a sense of purpose. Before I began working here I did not know much about Catholic Charities and the services it offers and how many people they help every day. It’s great that our community has a place where people can come and receive the assistance they need regardless of their religious affiliation. I love it here! Everyone is so lovely, and they are excited about helping people. It renews your faith in people to know that there are those who are willing to boost others up,” said Simmonds.
Helen Hoefer, who has worked with several AmeriCorps workers over the years, praised the program and its members.
“We are fortunate that our relationship with the AmeriCorps program has made it possible for us to have AmeriCorps members on our staff. AmeriCorps is a great program that benefits both the members and the organizations that utilize AmeriCorps members,” said Hoefer, director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s emergency services.
A network of national service programs, AmeriCorps engages more than 50,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.
AmeriCorps members serve through more than 2,100 nonprofits, pubic agencies, and faith-based organizations.
The Oswego County AmeriCorps Program focuses on services for children and families.
Members mentor youth, plan and supervise nutrition education and fitness activities and manage volunteers.
This year, 64 AmeriCorps members will serve at schools, libraries, recreation programs and human service agencies throughout Oswego County.
As a part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps is working together to build a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America.
The main goals of AmeriCorps are:
- Getting things done and solving local issues
- Strengthening society and uniting individuals
- Encouraging responsibility
- Expanding opportunities by gaining valuable experience, specialized training, and other important life skills.
AmeriCorps’ focus on strengthening society is a perfect fit for Catholic Charities’ Emergency Services program that does so much to strengthen families throughout Oswego County.
Kathy Andolina, program coordinator of AmeriCorps in Oswego County is pleased to have Simmonds working with the Catholic Charities and recognizes the important impact that AmeriCorps has on Oswego County.
“For the past 16 years, AmeriCorps members have provided a range of services for youth and families in Oswego County,” said Andolina. “It is a mutually rewarding experience as local agencies that serve youth benefit from having additional staff while AmeriCorps members benefit by receiving valuable experience and an education award that can be used to continue their education or pay off student loans.”
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, and private donations by individuals, local companies, and organizations.