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AmeriCorps Week puts focus on community service

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO News

Volunteers with Buffalo AmeriCorps kicked off AmeriCorps Week 2014 last Friday by mentoring pre-schoolers at the Belle Center. The service project places emphasis on the importance of early childhood learning.

Several AmeriCorps volunteers helped the 3 and 4-year olds paint pictures for St. Patrick's Day. Victoria Johns, a member of Buffalo AmeriCorps, says she hopes the experience is one that the young students never forget.

“I just feel like I’ve helped them in some sort of way. Maybe when they’re older they’ll think back to when they were in daycare and having fun with their teachers and, to me, it just benefits me to be around children,” Johns says.

AmeriCorps member Kayla Willams says working with the students not only helps them, but also provides her with self satisfaction.

“The smallest things like their favorite color makes them smile and start a whole conversation. Then you learn a little bit about their family and then you learn about their personality. It’s cool to see how kids start from one small thing and transition to something much larger,” Williams says.

The volunteers are celebrating the achievements of past and present members for the annual event. Marketing and Communications Director Callie Johnson says throughout the week, the group will celebrate through their regular mentoring, tutoring, food delivery and other service projects.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO News
AmeriCorps member Victoria Johns helps preschoolers paint St. Patrick's Day pictures.

“This is our main event. Just to raise awareness about AmeriCorps and the powerfulness of it and the impact on the community, which we have. So, just the impact of national service on western New York as a whole is very powerful and that’s what we’re here to raise awareness about throughout AmeriCorps week,” Johnson says.

AmeriCorps Week 2014 runs through Sunday, March 16.