PA L&I Secretary Celebrates Community Service During National AmeriCorps Week, Visits After School Program in Reading

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier visited the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Oakbrook on Tuesday afternoon, acknowledging the important work of dedicated AmeriCorps members as part of National Youth Week. ‘AmeriCorps.

The celebratory week, March 13-19, shines a light on the commitment of millions of Americans who have chosen to step up and serve their communities through a variety of diverse, audience-focused programs.

“Here at L&I, our PennSERVE staff work every day to support organizations that use service and volunteerism to address Pennsylvania’s most pressing challenges,” said Secretary Berrier.

“As a state service commission, PennSERVE helped hire more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members last year. These members served more than 32,000 children, provided job training to 450 Pennsylvanians, served more than 200 veterans and military families, treated 645 acres of public land, and provided essential support to communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Programs like the one we are visiting today truly show the power of serving your community and prove that by working together, a difference can be made.

Secretary Berrier was joined by PennSERVE Executive Director Maureen Eccleston for the tour, where they met with AmeriCorps Club members, staff and children from the Olivet Community Builders AmeriCorps program.

During the visit, Secretary Berrier and General Manager Eccleston observed and participated in reading enrichment activities with the children of the club and learned about the new ‘Hubs of Hope’ care closet, which was developed to meet emerging needs during the pandemic.

Each year, the Olivet Boys & Girls Club engages up to 68 AmeriCorps members who support the delivery of after-school and summer college initiatives, including homework assistance, high-performance learning activities , reading enrichment and STEM programming for K-8 club members in 10 clubs. sites in Reading, Robesonia and Shillington.

“AmeriCorps Week gives us an opportunity to remember the power of service to uplift communities,” said executive director Eccleston.

“Pennsylvania AmeriCorps members build literal homes and figurative bridges. They mentor and mentor youth, students, refugees, and immigrants. They battle the ongoing impacts of a global pandemic, while restoring our natural environment for the benefit of generations to come PennSERVE is proud to support 25 AmeriCorps programs as they engage Pennsylvanians to meet critical needs.

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Jill E. Washington