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Sarah Short
Sarah Short
Sarah Short's Blog
NCCC in Ohio May - June.png

ServeOhio Welcomes 3 NCCC Teams to Ohio

ServeOhio is excited to welcome 3 AmeriCorps NCCC teams to Ohio!

The North Central Region of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a program of AmeriCorps, will have three projects taking place in Ohio during our Round 2 of Class 28A. AmeriCorps NCCC teams will be serving in Mansfield, Toledo, and South Bloomingville with summaries of the projects as follows:


Mary McLeod Bethune Intervention & Enrichment Center, Mansfield, OH

Expand and Enhance A Community Distribution Center

AmeriCorps team Hackberry 1 will serve on this project from May 5 – June 21, 2022. The Mary McCleod Bethune Intervention and Enrichment Center (MBIE) is a nonprofit organization committed to improving the quality of life for elderly, socially disadvantaged, low income and developmentally delayed people living in the Mansfield and Richland County area. A goal of the MBIE is to develop the skills and talents of the census tract 31- neighborhood in Richland County and to rid the neighborhood of unsafe, dilapidated and vacant properties through urban development projects. There is a need to improve the overall economic viability of the Mansfield area. This includes a need to increase services to the low and moderate income individuals in our community while also addressing blight. AmeriCorps members of the NCCC program, led by Hackberry 1 team leader Christopher Perez, will assist with improving properties managed by MBIE that will be converted into program spaces for community services. Members will contribute to the goals of the project by rehabilitating a warehouse into a community pantry and distribution center, by making updates and renovations to the MBIE offices, and converting a newly acquired property into a Community Center. Tasks will include replacing flooring, installing new shelving and storage, upgrading bathrooms, and deep cleaning and reorganizing. Members will learn about the impact of blight on the overall economic viability of the Mansfield area while gaining skills in basic construction and property renovation.

Toledo GROWs in partnership with Erie Shores Council, Boy Scouts of America, Toledo, OH

Increase Food Security and Facilitate Healthy Programming to Campers

AmeriCorps team Cedar 2 will serve on this project from May 5 – June 21. Toledo GROWs educates the community about the value of local nutritious food through an active urban farm and support for community gardens. Erie Shores Council, Boy Scouts of America, focuses on local youth and their families to develop character, leadership, citizenship, and personal fitness. AmeriCorps NCCC has partnered with these two organizations to assist community members in providing fresh fruits and vegetables for themselves and their families, provide gardens and outdoor space where residents can enjoy the beauty of nature, and educate households on how to start their own gardens. AmeriCorps members of the NCCC program, led by Cedar 2 team leader Molly Tephra, will contribute to the goals of the project by performing activities such as preparing, planting, and tending vegetable garden beds, assisting with plant distribution to community gardeners, beautifying and creating new outdoor activity spaces, and teaching gardening skills and plant science to local youth. The project is expected to benefit 500 or more individuals in the community by providing increased access to healthy food, increase access to outdoor spaces where community members are encouraged to enjoy the beauty of nature and a more active lifestyle, and educate 200 households to begin their own gardens at home. Members will gain significant gardening and plant identification knowledge on this project, as well as gaining exposure to community and urban gardening techniques. Members will also improve youth activity facilitation techniques.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio at Camp Oty'Okwa, South Bloomingville, OH

Facilitate Outdoor Education to School Groups and Summer Programs

AmeriCorps team Hackberry 2 will serve on this project from May 5 – June 21. Founded in 1942, Camp Oty’Okwa mission is to build children’s self-esteem, capacity for empathy, and provide them with positive, healthy adult role models. Camp Oty'Okwa provides year-round programming, serving the community in three major areas: Environmental Education, Adventure Camp, and Life Skills Camp. The Environmental Education program serves children from Columbus and Southeastern Ohio schools as well as supplements the summer camp experience. Adventure Camp and Life Skills Camp provide summer and weekend camp experiences focused on serving underprivileged youth ages 6 to 21, preparing them to grow into confident, caring, and educated adults. The vast majority of summer/weekend and life skills camp participants are fully sponsored to attend at no charge through fundraising and grants, such as funds from Ohio’s Victims of Crime Act funds, focused on serving young people who have been exposed to crime and trauma. Camp Oty’Okwa is owned by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio and features 700+ acres of varied native vegetation and cliffs, deep gorges, rock shelters, and waterfalls formed by Black Hand Sandstone. This unique 3 landscape allows for both adventure and outdoor classroom environments. Learning becomes a fun-filled adventure.

AmeriCorps NCCC has partnered with Camp Oty’Okwa to provide experiential outdoor education opportunities to local youth in elementary through high school and to facilitate weekend and summer camp experiences with children from around Ohio. AmeriCorps Members of the AmeriCorps NCCC program, led by Hackberry 2 team leader Miriam Zouhri, will contribute to the goals of the project by performing activities such as leading educational hikes at Camp Oty’Okwa in topics such as stream ecology, forest ecology, geology, cultural history, wildlife study, and orienteering. The AmeriCorps members may also visit local schools to provide onsite hands-on learning experiences, such as facilitating team-building initiatives, or leading a talk with an education animal ambassador. Hackberry 2 will also assist with the beginning of the summer camp program, including assisting in activities, educational experiences, hikes and outdoor exploration. When not working with youth, the AmeriCorps NCCC team will assist with protecting native species around camp. The project is expected to benefit Columbus and Southeastern Ohio communities by meeting a need for high quality, supplemental educational experiences for local youth. Being at camp provides children with many growth opportunities as they navigate new experiences. Many children who attend camp have spent little time in a forest or away from home, and at camp children expand their comfort level and practice their social skills while overcoming obstacles with their peers. In addition to facilitating learning opportunities, AmeriCorps Members will serve as role models and expose local youth to people from outside the region, which will expand their view of the world. Members will participate in training to develop competency in inquiry-based teaching methods, child development, social emotional learning, and behavior management. Additional skills will be developed in identifying plant species.


Learn more about AmeriCorps here.


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