Americorps Celebrates Accomplishments of Members & Staff

| February 7, 2024

unnamed (41) (1)KNOX, Pa. (EYT) – Americorps continued celebrating 30 years of service throughout January.

(Pictured above: AmeriCorps staff members and a volunteer from Mustard Seed Ministry came together to prepare for Agriculture Safety Days.)

In January, Keystone SMILES focused on Community Service utilizing the Service-Learning curriculum. Learn about some of the projects accomplished in the past month:

2024 Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service

January 15th was a day of service for Keystone SMILES, AmeriCorps members, Oil City’s Youth Philanthropy, and high school volunteers from Keystone High School. Keystone SMILES AmeriCorps hosted 3 agency-sponsored projects hosted in Knox, Oil City, and Girard, PA. Other members served at a variety of sites throughout Mercer and Erie Counties.

Knox Day of Service, Clarion County

Forty-one AmeriCorps staff members and a volunteer from Mustard Seed Ministry came together to prepare for Agriculture Safety Days that will be held in May. Kits were put together for different learning modules which will be used to teach children all about Environmental/ Farm Safety. Over 5,565 kits were put together which included items for sun safety, first aid, gardening, hearing, stress, and Lyme disease. When finished staff and members from Knox and Oil City gathered at Foxburg Pizza Shop to fellowship and to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King JR.

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Oil City Day of Service, Venango County

MLK Day of Service in Oil City took two days to complete. The House of Trades, AmeriCorps team came together with the staff and members from the Weed and Seed program in Oil City to help establish their new Hope21 service site.

It started by moving all of the racks, clothing, and supplies from storage to the new location at Grace United Methodist Church in Oil City. Ten AmeriCorps members and staff worked together to assemble clothing racks, sort clothing, and hang everything up.

Hope21 is a non-profit clothing boutique that offers free clothing to anyone in the community who is in need with no questions asked. The grand re-opening was Monday, February 5th.

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Trailer Skirting, Venango County

The House of Trades team partnered with Mustard Seed Ministries in Franklin, PA, to help a single mom fix up her trailer. The team put skirting around the trailer to help hold the heat in and to protect pipes from freezing. This involved digging a trench, placing the plywood skirting, and filling in with gravel.

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Wheelchair Ramp, Clarion County

The team recently finished building a ramp in Knox for an elderly couple, who are Vietnam Veterans. They will be able to go in and out of their home without assistance. Members had to plan, build, and assemble the ramp along with digging holes for the posts so the ramp could be assembled and the grounds cleaned before the freezing temperature arrived.

The couple were very appreciative and very happy with their new ramp.

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Food Distribution, Venango County

Once a month the House of Trades assists Chapel on the Hill Church in Emlenton in distributing food to local families who are in need. This month they served 80 families in 3 counties (Butler, Venango, and Clarion). Fifteen volunteers, Seven AmeriCorps members, and three staff worked together to assemble boxes of food and distribute them to the families.

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Santa Baskets

Bags filled with food for Christmas dinner along with breakfast and snack food were assembled by AmeriCorps and staff members from Knox and Oil City. The baskets were delivered to 97 Clarion County families and 26 families in Venango County.

This project couldn’t be done without the donations of local businesses and organizations. A special thanks to the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints for their collaboration with this year’s service project.

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Senior Breakfast/BINGO

Eight seniors braved the single-digit temperatures to attend the Senior Brunch. Money collected from playing BINGO is donated to support the local Horsethief committee in Knox. AmeriCorps members and staff helped to set up tables, prepare the meal, and serve.

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Americorps Awareness Week

AmeriCorps members and staff will be traveling to Pittsburgh on March 13th to celebrate AmeriCorps Awareness Week. They will be joined by AmeriCorps members from across the state of Pennsylvania. This will be a day filled with workshops and celebrating AmeriCorps members and the services that they provide.

Agriculture Safety Days

The upcoming dates for Ag Safety are:
Clarion County – Tuesday, May 14th
Venango County – Tuesday, May 21st

Please mark these dates on your calendar to help them teach second graders in three counties all about environmental/farm safety and ways to stay safe. It is estimated that 836 children will participate in public and private schools in Clarion, Forest, and Venango Counties.

Keystone SMILES CLC, Inc., a 501C (3) relies on donations to sponsor the event.

If you would like to help, please email jwile@smilesamericorps.org.

Summer Recruitment

Be on the lookout for AmeriCorps summer recruitment to begin. If you or anyone you know would like to join the Keystone SMILES AmeriCorps program for a summer full of service please direct them to: www.keystonesmiles.org.

Positions for summer will include programs in the following counties: Erie, Clarion, Mercer, and Venango.

Applications will be open beginning Friday, February 16th.

For more information, visit https://www.keystonesmiles.org/.


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