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COOP • Community Outreach
and Opportunity Project

Amy James, Director
(315) 859-4016
(315) 859-4041 (fax)

Profiles of COOP Service Interns

COOP Service Interns 2013-2014

Ian Lunn '17

Site: Upstate Cerebral Palsy Tradewinds Program

I am working with Upstate Cerebral Palsy Tradewinds Education Center at the Chadwicks location under Letty Umidi, the head of curriculum development. As I am a third party in the eyes of the students, I am able to provide a unique perspective. I relay my observations to Mrs. Umidi, and we discuss what course of action will best prepare the students for life after graduation.

Chris Wallace '17

Site: United Way

I work at the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, aiding the director of community investment. My internship is very similar to a business internship in that I have my own cubicle with my own computer and desk. At the office I do a lot work on the computer, researching grant-writing software, making spreadsheets on Microsoft Excel, reading and analyzing statistics about the demographics of the people in the area and interpreting data about the local organizations that the United Way funds. I feel this internship will open doors for me in the business world because I get to sit in on important board meetings and meet the directors of other nongovernmental organizations from all over the state of New York.

COOP Service Interns 2012-2013

Emily Goldberg '16

Site: Hope House

As an intern at Hope House Utica, I have an array of responsibilities, mostly administrative.  Hope House, a meal site for struggling individuals and families in the greater Utica area, served 95,376 meals in 2011 and continues to provide desperately needed relief on a daily basis.  I have gained much insight into how soup kitchens run through my work at Hope House.  Currently, my main projects are organizing all Hope House documents from the past ten years into a compact, user-friendly online system and creating a community resource guide detailing various resources in Utica for Hope House clients.


Sarah Graves '16

As an intern at the Presbyterian Home I help to transport residents to activities, facilitate daily activities like fitness and coffee hours, conduct animal visits so that residents can spend time with the building's dog and bunny, and visit with residents. I have particularly spent a lot of time working with a new program called "Music and Memory" in which specified residents have access to an iPod Shuffle and whatever music they like to evoke fond memories of the past and avoid restlessness.

Max Newman '16

Site: Kirkland Arts Center

I intern at the Kirkland Art Center (KAC) in Clinton. This year I am organizing a student film festival for high school students in the Mohawk Valley. Students will submit short films that are less than 10 minutes long. On April 3rd we will all gather at the KAC and show the movies on the big screen. There will be live judging, with awards given out at the end. The purpose of the event is to provide an outlet for artistic creativity that is not currently present in the area. The event will bring the community together to celebrate film and give students the chance to see their hard work on the big screen.

COOP Service Interns 2010-2011

Sarah Andrews '14

Site: YWCA

"As co-facilitator of the Y-Girls program, I'm working in the education department of the YWCA of Mohawk Valley. Y-Girls is an after-school support group for middle- and high-school-aged girls that follows the Girls Circle guide and curriculum. We just started a new program at Oriskany Middle School, in addition to the ones we have in Utica and New Hartford, and I have had the chance not only to work with the girls, but I've also gotten insight into what it takes to get a new program running."

The YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural organization in the world. The YWCA program focuses on eliminating racism, empowering women, and providing services to victims of rape, domestic violence, or times of crisis. The YWCA Mohawk Valley provides a wide spectrum of resources and programs throughout the area.

Hannah Kloeckner '14

Site: Utica Public LIbrary

I am initiating an affiliate branch of the Next Chapter Book Club at the Utica Public Library. This Book Club is for adults and adolescents with learning disabilities, and the aim of the club is to promote social inclusion, literacy, and social connectedness. At the library, I work to recruit volunteers and participants to spread awareness about the nonprofit programs. 

Jacob Hard '14

Site: Habitat For Humanity

"Working with Habitat for Humanity through the COOP has been a blast. I feel lucky to be able to work with a group of individuals so kind and devoted to the cause of helping out others."

Habitat For Humanity is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing people in need with a safe and affordable place to live. The organization thrives on volunteer participation and support from the local communities.

David Beauboeuf '14

Site: Rescue Mission

Nicholas Solano '14

Site: Catholic Charities

Jason Driscoll '14

Site: Clinton Schools

"The COOP's Community Service Internship (CSI) program has been a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot about the importance of community service and the extent to which it truly makes a difference. I am grateful for this amazing opportunity to further my own leadership skills in the context of helping others."

"The CSI  program gives students the opportunity to work with different organizations near Hamilton. From working with the homeless to organizing community enrichment programs, the CSI program allows Hamilton College to form important bonds while at the same time giving back to the community."

Sean Sullivan '14

Site: Kirkland Arts Center

COOP Service Interns: 2009-10

Kevin Alexander '13

Site: Hope House

Established in 1992, Hope House has served 80,246 (up 5,307 from 2005). The hungry and homeless of the inner-city Utica area have come to rely upon at least one daily meal at Hope House. We have also provided countless hours of safe haven from the streets for the people who are our guests, many of whom feel that they come to Hope House to be with "Family." In many instances, we constitue their only stable and caring environment.

Galia Slayen '13

Site: Johnson Park Center

"As an intern, I am working to create a short film about the organization to highlight the incredible work that has been done over the past 15 years and continues today. JPC is an extremely multi-faceted organization and has made an immense impact in the Cornhill community. Through this film I hope that the organization receives the recognition and understanding of their mission that is deserved."

JCTOD Outreach, Inc. dba Johnson Park Center (JPC) is a faith-based non-profit organization that promotes positive change, revitalization, and community development in the heart of Cornhill, the poorest neighborhood in the City of Utica, New York. We provide emergency and supportive housing for women, children, and families, as well as a range of community-based support services in the areas of nutrition, recreation, mentoring, and advocacy. Our programs build hope and empowerment, and help individuals become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community.

Beril Esen '13

Site: Your Neighbors, Inc.

"As the assistant of the program director of YNI, I add the personal contact information of the volunteers, clients and the donations they make in two different databases. We organized a fundraiser last semester and are going to organize a garage sale this semester. The clients contact us when they need a helping hand in transportation, receiving meals, or shopping; we contact the volunteers to organize who helps whom at what time in which way. Our job is to make sure that everyone is bonded to each other in a close community as a family with every telephone call or friendly visit we make."

We're reaching out to neighbors in the greater Utica area. Trained, dedicated volunteers are at the heart of the program. The program director receives a referral from an agency or individual, determines needs and matches a volunteer with a neighbor. A bond is formed as the relationship develops: one-to-one contact assures a quality response.

Ada Horne '13

Site: Rebuilding Together Mohawk Valley

"As an intern for Rebuilding Together Mohawk Valley, I have been working to promote knowledge of what RTMV can do for homeowners. I have been contacting other local non-profit organizations to find ways they can work with RTMV. I have also been working on social networking (Facebook), a TV commercial, and other forms of communication for RTMV. As an organization we are working on strengthening our community base so that RTMV can continue to grow and help more homeowners stay in their homes."

Rebuilding Together believes in a safe and healthy home for every person. This means that we believe disabled and aging homeowners should be able to remain in their homes for as long as possible. We believe that homeowners displaced by natural disaster will get back into safe housing with help from the community. We believe that our nation's veterans with disabilities deserve safe and accessible homes. Rebuilding Together believes we can preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities by providing free home modifications and repairs, making homes safer, more accessible, and more energy efficient.

Dan Brimberry '13

Site: Resource Center for Independent Living

"Currently I am assisting in legal and economics research to support the passage of the Integrated Services  Bill (ISB) in the New York State Legislature.  The ISB changes state law to establish an option for community-based care approach to individuals with disabilities, as opposed to the current institution-based care mandated by the current State law."

RCIL is a civil rights organization offering a wide range of independent living and advocacy services for and — most importantly — with people with disabilities. Our underlying assumption? That there should be "no limits" placed on people, regardless of disability. The basic human right of participating in society as a self-determining individual must extend to all citizens. Each of us has the capacity — and responsibility — to be a proud, contributing member of our society.

Aislinn Shea '13

Site: Upstate Cerebral Palsy

"I am working at Upstate Cerbral Palsy in the Community Development office as a volunteer coordinator. I help to recruit volunteers for different events and projects. I have also volunteered at one of the events organized by UCP, the American Girl Fashion Show fundraiser and I plan to help volunteer at the Autism walks. In addition, I am beginning to become familiar with grant writing and I help to find grants for UCP can apply."

Upstate Cerebral Palsy is the premier provider of direct-care services and programs for individuals who are physically, developmentally, or mentally challenged and their families. Upstate Cerebral Palsy currently employs over 1,900 full and part-time employees at 74 locations throughout central New York. As direct-care and education centers, these include medical, clinical and therapeutic personnel, teachers, social service staff, maintenance, clerical and general support staff.

Amy Soenksen '13

Site: Family Services

"At Family Services, I work directly with the Bill Payer Program. I completed a volunteer survey and used the information gained from the survey to create a volunteer database. In addition to the database, I have written a volunteer newsletter and am currently working on a newsletter for the organizations funding sources. When needed, I also write press releases and help with the program's grant writing."

Family Services of the Mohawk Valley, Inc. established in 1912, provides a broad variety of professional counseling, case management, school based social work programs, and related services to individuals, families, couples, children and seniors throughout Oneida and Herkimer County.

Hallie Brown '13

Site: House of the Good Shepherd

"At the House of the Good Shepherd, I work with the Communications and Development Office. We are working to internally promote a new model of trauma-based care called Sanctuary. I help develop teaching tools, including newsletters, posters, contests, and videos, all designed to highlight Sanctuary components. I also assist with grant-writing, advertising upcoming events, and recording donations. Currently, Hamilton students are painting a mural of the 7 main Sanctuary ideals."

The House of the Good Shepherd was founded in 1872 in Utica, New York to help meet the needs of local children and families. Since then, The House has evolved with the changing child welfare system. We have grown into a comprehensive human service agency providing treatment to more than 600 children and their families a year.

Cupola