The Belle Center

Service with a Smile: Buffalo AmeriCorps...

Service with a Smile: Buffalo AmeriCorps...

Service with a Smile: Buffalo AmeriCorps Awarded A New $400,000 Grant

Buffalo, New York – December 31, 2012 –Could you imagine taking an oath to serve your community for a full year? Thanks to a $400,000 NYS Commission on National and Community Service grant, 46 Members of the Buffalo AmeriCorps program at The Belle Center will be sworn-in for a new year of service to the Buffalo & WNY community.

Mayor Byron Brown will swear-in 46 new Buffalo AmeriCorps members for a brand new year of service at 11:00 a.m. January 3, 2013 at The Belle Center located at 104 Maryland Street Buffalo, NY. During the ceremony AmeriCorps members will get the opportunity to reflect on the importance of their oath of service while learning about the past accomplishments of the program. The Mayor will also close the ceremony by dismissing the members to their sites for service.

"It's my pleasure to welcome Buffalo's newest class of AmeriCorps members who will definitely make a difference in our city by using their skills and talents to help others," said Mayor Byron Brown. "Buffalo is fortunate to have a great number of service-oriented young men and woman who are committed to making our city even more livable. When they go into a school or neighborhood, they become part of that community. I am confident that Buffalo will be proud of what they accomplish in 2013."

Every day in the United States millions of volunteers of all nationalities and abilities spring into action to assist those that are in need of a helping hand. According to the Federal Agency for Service and Volunteering, in 2011, 64.3 million Americans volunteered for an organization totaling nearly 8 billion hours and equating to an economic value of $171 billion.

Volunteerism has a significant impact on our economy at both the national and local levels. From the most distressed cries of those that are in need of help – Buffalo AmeriCorps members respond. Since its inception in 2007, the Buffalo AmeriCorps program has awarded over $700,000 in education awards and over one million dollars in stipends. Members have tutored over 5,000 school-aged children in kindergarten through grade 12, eradicated over 26 miles of graffiti, shoveled snow for 800 senior and disabled citizens and have recruited over 35,000 volunteers to work in low income communities.

The Buffalo AmeriCorps program is vital to the progression of Buffalo as members will help build capacity, while embedded in over 20 local schools and organizations. "Service is a lifestyle for us," said Pamela James, Buffalo AmeriCorps Director. "We’ve accomplished so much and are seeing the positive changes in our community, but there is still so much more work to be done. In order to see true change, our contribution to the revitalization of our City rests in making viable partnerships such as the ones we have with the City of Buffalo-Mayor’s Impact Team, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood (BPN) and the West Buffalo Charter School; Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Perry Choice Neighborhoods (PCN) and University of Buffalo, ECMC, Houghton College, Go Bike Buffalo and others."

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About The Belle Center:
The Belle Center is a diverse non-profit community center that bridges the gaps to success for youth and families. The 56,000 sq. ft. facility is located on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, NY and has over three decades of service to the community. With over 15 premier services, The Belle Center serves infants through senior citizens and operates on a cradle to college model. Youth and young adults are offered pathways to success and are encouraged to complete higher education, a trade and/or the military. To learn more visit www.thebellecenter.org.

About Buffalo AmeriCorps:
Buffalo AmeriCorps is service program of the Corporation for National and Community Service based at The Belle Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The program unites persons ages 17 and above in a year of full-time rigorous service during which they work in diverse teams to address societal needs, particularly in schools and neighborhoods. While putting their idealism into action these community leaders work as tutors and mentors to school children, reclaim public spaces, organize after-school programs, build capacity in organizations and create civic engagement programs for elementary, middle school and high school students. Buffalo AmeriCorps is unaffiliated with other AmeriCorps programs in Buffalo and is its own entity based at The Belle Center. To learn more visit www.thebellecenter.org/americorps.