Coatesville Youth Initiative hosts 2nd annual open house

ServiceCorps leadership program creates positive work experience

By Lauren Parker- Gill, News Editor, The Times

Guests of CYI's open house were greeted by these friendly youth participants before walking on the "red carpet" that led inside.

Guests of CYI’s open house were greeted by these friendly youth participants before walking the red carpet that led inside.

COATESVILLE – The Coatesville Youth Initiative held its second annual open house last week as a thank you to the community of Coatesville for its support through out the year.

One thing that was obvious at the well-attended event, was the number of youth who were a part of CYI’s leadership program, known as ServiceCorps, which began in 2010 and is funded by grants from the United Way of Chester County, Patricia Kind Family Foundation, Transamerica Foundation, Vanguard Foundation, Wells Fargo, Stewart Huston Charitable Trust and the Brandywine Health Foundation with proceeds from the Strawberry Festival that was held in June.

ServiceCorps provides participants with the opportunity to gain work experience, develop life and leadership skills and earn a summer income. Originally beginning with 30 youth, the program now receives over 100 applications from students who live in the Coatesville Area School District each summer. This year, 65 were interviewed and 39 were officially hired for the eight-week program at various work sites through out the Coatesville area.

The members of ServiceCorps, ages 14 – 18, arrive each morning at the Brandywine Center, where they are served breakfast and receive positive quotes and words before beginning their workday. They are then transported to their work sites, which include the Art Partners Studio, Brandywine Health Foundation, Brandywine Hospital, Brandywine YMCA, Bridge Academy, Coatesville Kids to College, Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, The Graystone Society, Handi-crafters, Myrick Conservation Center, Regency Park Apartments and Waste Oil Recyclers.

State Representative Harry Lewis Jr. (R-74) attended the event and enjoyed speaking with youth members and CYI staff.

State Representative Harry Lewis Jr. (R-74) attended the event and enjoyed speaking with youth members and CYI staff.

Tasks at each work site include a broad range of responsibilities. Some of the youth are camp counselors for summer programs or work with medical supplies and sterile equipment in hospitals. Others are assigned to computer work and data entry and provide customer service. They also assist with archiving collections and give tours of the Coatesville Historic District while others work with youth and adults with mental and physical disabilities to complete contracted work for local businesses. Students also work on fundraising and administrative work and even raise garden beds and learn to prepare harvested items.

Students work Monday through Thursday from 8:30 – 4:30 at their assigned location, while Fridays are reserved as resource days. The youth in ServiceCorps is currently working on a service project to clean up Coatesville and helping clean up litter in the city.

City council realized many residents are misusing their recycling bins and receiving fines; as part of the service project, members of the ServiceCorps will also be going door-to-door throughout the city to educate residents on proper recycling practices to avoid these fines.

ServiceCorps participant, Katie Weiser, a senior at Avon Grove Charter School was assigned to the Brandywine Health Foundation where she preformed clerical work, made thank you calls to donors and helped design marketing materials for the Coatesville Youth Philanthropy program.

Weiser enthusiastically spoke of her experience with ServiceCorps this summer and says she learned a great deal about working in a professional environment and particularly enjoyed learning about nonprofit work.

“Everyone who lives in the Coatesville Area School District should apply to this program,” Weiser said in a phone call. “This is so much more than a full-time job…it has been such a positive experience.”

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