Alec Staley and Sierra Wimett, two students involved with the Upward Bound program, scatter Easter eggs for area children to find at CVPH Medical Center’s annual Easter egg hunt.
PLATTSBURGH — They were the calm before the storm, spreading multi-colored eggs across the grass that were quickly swept up by a wave of eager children.
They volunteered for the task of laying out the Easter eggs, which took them much longer than it took the children to grab them up and stuff them in their buckets.
But they didn’t mind, because this was another opportunity to give something to the youth of the community.
“I love it,” said Angelica LaBombard, a local student and member of Plattsburgh State’s Upward Bound program.
The Upward Bound students converged on CVPH Medical Center April 7 for the hospital’s annual Easter egg hunt, which is sponsored by the Foundation of CVPH/Auxiliary. The free event was open to children in second grade and younger.
Starting in January, volunteers stuffed 10,001 plastic eggs with chocolate, which Upward Bound students and others spread on CVPH’s front lawn on Saturday morning.
“The kids do community outreach (projects), and this is one of them,” said Elizabeth Green, assistant director/counselor coordinator for Plattsburgh Upward Bound.
Upward Bound is a federally funded educational program that was launched in 1965 after the enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The year-round program is implemented and monitored by the United States Department of Education with a goal of providing certain categories of high school students with better opportunities for attending college. The program concentrates on students from modest income households and/or those whose parents are not college graduates.
The program works through individual grants and provides students with academic enrichment, counseling and leadership opportunities through high school graduation.
Upward Bound has operated locally since 1966, serving high school students in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
Besides college visits, workshops and a summer program, students participate in community outreach to develop lifelong skills to help others.
Upward Bound has relationships with regional organizations that utilize students for volunteer work. The CVPH Foundation, North Country Underground Railroad, Champlain Valley Transportation Museum, Plattsburgh Half Marathon, North Country Center for the Arts, Adopt-A-Highway, JCEO Food Shelf and Plattsburgh Community Garden are examples of places where students volunteer.
“We require that all of our students complete at least one outreach activity during the academic year, and all of our students participate every Monday afternoon during the summer program,” said Associate Director Brian Post. “By the time our students graduate, most have close to 40 hours of volunteer work.”
“It is giving back to the community, and that is important for them to learn,” Green said. “It gives them that awareness of helping others, and it is a wonderful opportunity to be part of something.”
Upward Bound wants to foster that spirit of community mindedness in the students with a hope they will continue to give as they age.
Shelby Rock has spent three years in the program.
It’s helping to prepare her for college and she has learned a lot. She also feels she has matured since she has been part of Upward Bound.
She enjoyed spending Saturday morning at CVPH.
“I think this is very important because it is giving back to the community.”
She has spent three years in the program, has met a lot of people and was able to shadow an attorney. That was a valuable experience because she is considering a career in law.
She loves the community service aspect of Upward Bound.
“This one is really fun, because we got to hide the eggs for the kids,” she said.
Kaitlyn Smith, in her second year of Upward Bound, has appreciated the help preparing for college. She wants to be a pediatrician.
She was excited for the children to gather the eggs up Saturday and was glad to help.
“It makes you feel good.”