Amtrak Station First Stop for Goodwill’s GoodDeeds Club

June 24, 2014, By Kelly Urban, Johnstown Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN, PA — A new mentoring program is geared at bettering the community.

Goodwill of the Southern Alleghenies recently started its GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program’s GoodDeeds Club with the goal of encouraging young people to volunteer on area projects.

The first one on the calendar involves cleaning up the Johnstown Amtrak Station, located on Walnut Street in downtown Johnstown.

Cleanup days have been scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. July 2 and 3. The hope is to have the train station ready for Fourth of July festivities.

GoodGuides youth will be joined by their mentors and other community groups to clean up the station and redevelop the garden area outside the parking lot.

“The kids here started telling me they wanted to volunteer. This will be driven by youth,” said Heidi Niebauer, a GoodGuides mentoring specialist. “They want to be a positive voice in the community and take pride in Johnstown.”

Upcoming projects involve volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul’s Family Kitchen and helping to maintain community gardens around town.

Phyllis Bandstra, Goodwill’s president and CEO, said they are always looking for projects that will provide engaging, hands-on experiences for youth. “Participating and investing time into a community landmark, such as the train station, creates pro-social involvement and brings positive skills and experiences into the lives of our young people.”

Organizers have been receiving requests from youth and their parents and area residents who are looking for opportunities to engage in service and volunteerism.

“We have people who want to volunteer for projects in the community,” said Cindy O’Connor, GoodGuides program manager. “This is a great opportunity for mentors, youth and anybody to meet a real community need.”

The GoodGuides program is partnering with Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Discover Downtown Partnership with volunteers from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center and Laurel Asphalt to work on the train station project.

Those wishing to volunteer, donate materials or suggest GoodDeeds projects can contact Niebauer at 536-3536, ext. 305 or O’Connor at 536-3536, ext. 304.

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