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Land Bank thanks volunteers

Submitted Photo. Pictured are Miranda Strek Greco (left) and Amanda Mick, AmeriCorps volunteers who are currently working with the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp.

Many volunteers do what they do simply because they love to do it; they see a need, and they rush to help.

That is the case for AmeriCorps volunteers Miranda Strek Greco and Amanda Mick, who are helping the Chautauqua County Land Bank improve efficiency and better connect with the community.

Today is the 2017 Mayors and County Day of Recognition for National Service, which, as Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan explained in this week’s Monday Morning Memo, “highlight(s) the impact of national service and thank(s) individual volunteers.”

Horrigan highlighted the Chautauqua County Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the Foster Grandparent Program, which are sponsored locally through Lutheran, but Gina Paradis, executive director of the Chautauqua County Lank Bank Corp, wanted to share the gratitude she feels for Strek Greco and Mick, women she calls “valuable members of the (CCLBC) team.”

Paradis told the OBSERVER that Strek Greco and Mick began working with the land bank in December, and will remain on staff full time until October.

“They’re overseeing our Office of the Attorney General grant,” said Paradis. “They also oversee the zombie property grant in the city of Dunkirk.”

The relationship between the land bank and these AmeriCorps volunteers began with an introduction (and essential funding) from the Local Initiative Support Corporation, or LISC.

“They provide the program and the funding,” said Paradis, “and we recruited locally. We selected Miranda for the program assistant position and Amanda for our community outreach position.”

Strek Greco and Mick receive a small stipend, and once they complete their hours, they are eligible for a tuition assistance award.

Strek Greco is a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia with her sights set on graduate school, while Mick graduated from Jamestown Community College and plans to continue her education, as well.

When asked why she joined AmeriCorps, Strek Greco said, “I applied for the AmeriCorps position with the Chautauqua County Land Bank in order to help our distressed and blighted neighborhoods. My goal was to help make a difference in my community.”

Mink added, “I also joined AmeriCorps to help eliminate blight and make a difference in my community. Through my community outreach, I also hope to help low- to moderate-income families access other local programs to become homeowners.”

Paradis said she and her other team members were more than happy to welcome Strek Greco and Mick to the CCLBC family.

“Miranda is doing a variety of things,” she said. “She’s working on the data analytics and geo-spacial marketing project with Orbitist.com, and helping develop our Standard Operating Procedures manual. She’s helping to tighten up our procedures to improve our program efficiency. Amanda is working on outreach, looking for ways to engage community members. She is working with neighborhood groups in Dunkirk and Jamestown, and assisting with a housing survey in Dunkirk. She’s also handling our social media.”

And both women have earned the corporation’s appreciation.

“They’re doing a very good job,” said Paradis. “They’re such a pleasure to work with, and a valuable addition to our team. We really are lucky to have them working with us on these projects.”

Horrigan invites everyone today to join him in “recognizing the positive impact of national service in our county and thanking all of those who serve and give back to our communities.”

To find out more about AmeriCorps, visit www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/join-americorps; for RSVP information, call 366-8070 or 665-3038; for more on the Foster Grandparent Program, call 665-5354; and to get the latest CCLBC news, visit www.chautauqualandbank.org. Information about LISC can be found at www.lisc.org.

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