AmeriCorps service program members clean park, help community cope post-flooding.

Last updated: May 11. 2013 11:40PM - 3962 Views

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WEST PITTSTON — An overnight rainfall made pulling weeds a little easier for the 10 AmeriCorps volunteers who gathered at Morris Park on Saturday morning.

The group of college-aged men and women, who came from points all across the country, has been in the Wyoming Valley area since March helping communities affected by the 2011 flooding.

“We’re stationed at the Sunshine Market staging center and working with FEMA to focus on long-term recovery,” said Abigail Miskowiec, 23, of West Virginia. This weekend they focused on beautifying a park.

Miskowiec and her fellow community relations team members will graduate in June from an intensive 10-month AmeriCorps service program. Based in Vinton, Iowa, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) is a team-based residential program for young adults who carry out projects in public safety, the environment, youth development, and disaster relief and preparedness.

“We travel all over,” said Miskowiec. Before arriving in Luzerne County, the team was in New Jersey helping Hurricane Sandy victims. “We’re doing social media (for the communities) in the event of an emergency, so people can get their information quickly,” she said.

The group will participate in a disaster preparedness forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center, Plains Township. The event will include speakers from the American Red Cross and members of Valley United, a group led by Plains Township Emergency Management Agency coordinator Charles Krommes.

“We’re trying to get community leaders to attend so they can bring back information to their communities on how to be prepared in the event of an emergency,” said 23-year-old Donald Hawkins II, of Virginia, a team leader for AmeriCorps.

“We want to get the word out to communities on how to be prepared before, during and after an emergency,” he said, “so when AmeriCorps and FEMA is gone, they can sustain themselves.”

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