It's reaching the end of the autumn season. The leaves have fallen and homeowners are pulling out their leaf blowers and rakes. But for hundreds of senior citizens in Oneida County, yard work is an impossible chore to do. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us how hundreds of kids and young adults stepped up to help the elderly.
ONEIDA COUNTY--James Service takes a lot of pride in his home, making sure the house is maintained and the yard is well kept. But health problems have begun to keep him from doing the physical labor he once enjoyed.
He said, "I couldn't do it and it bothered me. That's why I called because it just bothered me because the rest of the people, you can see they take care of their property and I like to keep up with my neighbors."
This weekend, a group of MVCC Honor Students came to lend Service a helping hand. They raked his yard and cleaned out his garden.
"A lot of what we do for Phi Theta Kappa is service back to our community and this happens to be our favorite one because it's so hands on and it's so rewarding because you can see in the people's faces that they really appreciate that we're here and it's just a nice way to give back," says MVCC's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter President, Keari Little.
Like Service, hundreds of senior citizens in Oneida County need that extra help and youth volunteers ranging from 6th grade to college students were eager to provide it. For the fifth year in a row the county's Youth Bureau teamed up with the Office for the Aging for their Annual Intergenerational Fall Cleanup.
Bob Roth, Oneida County's Youth Bureau Director, said, "It allows a senior to stay in their home more independently for a longer period of time and allows them to interact with the youth. I think they get an appreciation for the youth and the youth get an appreciation for the seniors as well."
Each year the initiative continues to grow. This year they have about 40 volunteer groups adding up to more than 500 youth volunteers.
Whitesboro resident, Carol Green, said, "Just that these students are volunteering to do this I think speaks just so well of the youth of today and I truly truly appreciate it because there's no way I could rake all this lawn."
In only two days, more than 110 yards were raked, putting smiles and pride back into the homes of dozens of Oneida County senior citizens.
This cleanup initiative doesn't only take place during the fall. Volunteers also come out to do yard work one weekend during the spring.