Energy Express wraps up successful summer
The AmeriCorp summer reading program, Energy Express, ended the 2012 year on July 27. Thirty-nine children were enrolled in the program which is designed to keep reading skills on track. Through the Backpack Program and donations from the community, five AmeriCorps members and the site supervisor were able to distribute 40 backpacks to give the children a head start on the school year. This was made possible with the support of the Lions Club, the Lobelia Odd-fellows, Mitchell Chevrolet, State Farm Insurance, Mike Doss, J. L. Clifton, First Tracts, Margaret Worth, Sara Wilkins, Shirley Wilkins, Marvin and Lois Ann Beverage, Burn's Motor Freight, Pocahontas Pharmacy, City National Bank, First Citizens Bank, Amedisys, the Flower Garden and others who donated at the supply drives held at Foodland. Along with the backpacks, a total of 184 books were sent home with the children.
Also at the Energy Express site, a total of 195 weekend food packs were sent home with the children. These packs were distributed each Friday at the end of the program day. Donating food for this project were John and Karen Bowers and Brain Kreider, of Vinton, Virginia. In addition, Energy Express provided 1,786 meals for the children with an additional 870 served to site members, volunteers and walk-ins.
There was a total of 28 volunteers in the community - nine adults, and 19 youth. Volunteers logged 660 hours, with 623 hours being contributed by volunteers between the ages of 11 and 17. Out of that total, 317 hours were dedicated to reading and other activities involving the children at Energy Express. Seventy of the youth volunteer hours were dedicated to community service projects. Adrienne Cedarleaf worked with the youth in the gardens around Marlinton Elementary School. The teens also crafted potted plants for residents at Pocahontas Center with supplies donated by Southern States, Fas-Chek and Buckeye Country Mart.
Energy Express hosted an Open House on July 18 to share the children's accomplishments with parents, friends and community members. The children presented plays at that time, as well. Energy Express also hosted a Thank You Picnic on July 25, to show appreciation to all those who attended, contributed, donated and were in any way affiliated with the program. Games were played, and a good time was had by all. Shirley Wilkins, Connie Burns, Marvin and Lois Ann Beverage, Heather Simmons and Ron Hall worked hard to make these events happen.
Some of the special visitors to the Energy Express site included the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department and Greg Hamons from the WVU Extension Office.
It was a wonderful, successful summer at Energy Express.
AmeriCorps Energy Express is a program under the leadership of WVU Extension Service's 4-H Youth Development program. This AmeriCorps program is funded, in part, by grants from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and Volunteer West Virginia.