PA L&I Secretary celebrates community service during National AmeriCorps Week, visits after school program in Reading

Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier visited the Olivet Boys and Girls Club in Oakbrook Tuesday afternoon, recognizing the important work of dedicated AmeriCorps members as part of national AmeriCorps Week.

The week of celebration, from March 13 through March 19, highlights the commitment of millions of Americans who have chosen to step up and serve their communities through a variety of diverse, public-focused programs.

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

“As the state service commission, PennSERVE helped to engage more than 1,000 AmeriCorps members last year. Those members served more 32,000 kids, provided job training to 450 Pennsylvanians, served more than 200 veterans and military families, treated 645 acres of public land, and provided essential supports to communities throughout the COVD-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 visit, where they meet AmeriCorps members, staff and club kids of the Olivet Community Builders AmeriCorps program.

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During the visit, Secretary Berrier and Executive Director Eccleston observed and participated in reading enrichment activities with club kids and learned about the new “Hubs of Hope” Care Closet, which was developed to respond to emergent needs during the pandemic.

Each year, the Olivet Boys & Girls Club engages up to 68 AmeriCorps members who support the delivery of afterschool and summer academic initiatives including homework help, high-yield learning activities, reading enrichment, and STEM programming for K-8 club members across 10 club locations in Reading, Robesonia, and Shillington.

“AmeriCorps Week gives us the opportunity to be reminded of the power of service to lift up communities,” said Executive Director Eccleston.

“Pennsylvania AmeriCorps members are building literal homes and figurative bridges. They are tutoring and mentoring youth, college students, refugees and immigrants. They are fighting the ongoing impacts of a global pandemic, while also restoring our natural environment for the benefit of generations to come. PennSERVE is proud to support 25 AmeriCorps programs as they engage Pennsylvanians in meeting critical needs.”

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