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CYO Welcomes AmeriCorps Members

Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Jim Smiley, director of the CYO program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County, has announced that AmeriCorps Members, Lisa Ladouceur and Christine Khamis have joined the staff of Catholic Charities’ CYO program.

The two are responsible for planning activities and events for the CYO Summer Drop-in Recreation program and ensuring that all participants have an enjoyable time.

Jim Smiley, director of Catholic Charities’ CYO Program, welcomes AmeriCorps members Lisa Ladouceur (left) and Christine Khamis. In front from left are CYO participants: Makaylee Schmeer, Ariana Schmeer, Josh Edgarton and Tanique Brooks.
Jim Smiley, director of Catholic Charities’ CYO Program, welcomes AmeriCorps members Lisa Ladouceur (left) and Christine Khamis. In front from left are CYO participants: Makaylee Schmeer, Ariana Schmeer, Josh Edgarton and Tanique Brooks.

Ladouceur, a senior at SUNY Oswego, is pursuing a degree in Childhood Education, Grades 1 through 6. She discovered AmeriCorps while at SUNY Oswego. “I learned about AmeriCorps in my classes at college.  When I was introduced to the different programs I could be involved with I interested in learning more. It sounded like fun, and thought the experience would be beneficial,” said Ladouceur.

Shortly after joining the CYO staff, Ladouceur knew it was a great decision. “I love being around young people. I enjoy teaching them and knowing that I can make a difference in their lives by helping them experience new things. I think it’s great that the Summer Drop-in Recreation program is available. It’s wonderful that participants have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of games and activities, meet new friends, and be exposed to interesting and enlightening presentations from special guests such as the Fulton Fire Department, counselors from some of Catholic Charities’ family and youth programs, the Girl Scouts and many more,” said Ladouceur.

A graduate of Stony Brook College, Khamis, holds a degree in Political Science and is considering continuing school to work on her masters. Khamis is excited to be a part of AmeriCorps and is enjoying the opportunity to work with youth. “Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders.  It is important to invest the time and effort into their development and helping them get started on the right path. I enjoy working with youth and seeing the positive impact that I can have on their lives,” said Khamis.

Once introduced to the CYO Summer Drop-in Program Khamis was impressed with the scope of the program. “Have a free program of this magnitude is a wonderful benefit to the youth of this community. The wide variety of activities such as themed games days, visits to the park, and outings to the Fulton YMCA for swimming, keep them interested and the opportunities they have to meet other youth and develop new friendships is invaluable,” added Khamis.

Both Ladouceur and Khamis recognize that their time with the CYO and AmeriCorps provides them with experiences that will benefit them greatly in the future. “My experience as an AmeriCorps member is the perfect complement to my Childhood Development studies as I will be able to draw upon those for future reference,” said Ladouceur.

For Khamis, being an AmeriCorps member is the fulfillment of a childhood ambition. She explains, “When I was young I would go to my public library that had several AmeriCorps members. I looked up to them thought that I would love to do that someday.

“It’s a pleasure to have Christine and Lisa and on our staff this summer,” added Smiley. “They enjoy what they do and truly care about making sure that the children enjoy our summer drop-in program. We are fortunate that we have such a good relationship with the AmeriCorps program. It is a great program that benefits both the students and the organizations that utilize AmeriCorps members.”

AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that 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 63 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 experiences, specialized training, and other important life skills.

AmeriCorps’ focus on services for children is a perfect fit for Catholic Charities’ CYO Summer Program that provides recreational and educational opportunities to dozens of children in our community.

Kathy Andolina, program coordinator of AmeriCorps in Oswego County is pleased to have Christine and Lisa working with the CYO Summer Program and recognizes the important impact that AmeriCorps has on Oswego County.

“For the past 14 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.”

The CYO Summer Drop-in Recreation program is funded in part by the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the NYS Office of Children and Families, and the City-County Youth Bureau of Oswego County. For more information on the program, contact Smiley at 598-3980 ext 254.

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.