Friday, 03 March 2017 09:14

SUNY Oswego Student Using Her AmeriCorps Position to Change Oswego

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Stacy Baum Stacy Baum Submitted photo

Stacy Baum, a self-proclaimed “Lifelong Volunteer and Traveler,” is making a difference in the Oswego community through AmeriCorps.

As a Human Development major, Stacy Baum applies her academic studies to hands-on volunteer service in Oswego. She has dedicated herself to serving the community here through multiple programs and organizations which aid Oswego County schools, local nursing homes, and countless other areas of need. Baum has also become involved in other communities beyond Oswego: she has served the needs of communities in Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, and Alabama, to name a few.

To continue her impact, Baum has joined AmeriCorps as a volunteer for Oswego County Opportunities homeless services. AmeriCorps is a government-funded program that allows volunteers to aid nonprofit organizations, schools, communities, and other groups throughout the country, while gaining direct and all-inclusive experience in service.

Through Oswego County Opportunities (OCO), Baum and her outreach partner are devising a youth-focused program that “raises awareness about human trafficking, the risks involved in it, and OCO services that can help youth in need of support services,” according to Baum. To assist her human trafficking efforts, she is also working on combatting Oswego’s poverty and homelessness, since these are among the risk factors associated with human trafficking.

Baum did not go into this program planning empty-handed. While studying abroad in New Zealand this past 2016 semester, Baum served as an educator and project planner for human trafficking prevention, gaining first-hand experience living at poverty level through “Live Below The Line” in order to demonstrate how poverty and homelessness can lead to exploitation.

With this knowledge, she is building a great foundation for her program, yet is continuing to learn about human trafficking through extensive research at OCO. However, the other cornerstone of her work in the program doesn’t require as much learning.

“As a homeless student, myself, I am passionate about the cause I’m supporting – I know what it feels like to have no options or support.”

In the past month, Baum and her outreach partner have solidified their plan and are spending the next few months presenting at local schools in the county, SUNY Oswego clubs like Two And A Half, and special interest youth programs such as Bridge The Gap and Youth Court. These particular groups focus their work on improving the overall safety of young people and the culture that they grow up in today. They will also be teaming up with SUNY Oswego’s Mentor Scholar Program to speak to the youth in Oswego County, raising awareness about human trafficking, homelessness, and poverty.

“Ultimately, I want these kids to know that trafficking can happen to anybody – it’s a serious issue, and it’s prevalent all over the world right now,” Baum responded when asked what her goal is for this program. She especially wants to inform the youth about the resources available for poverty and homelessness through OCO. She emphasizes that “there are always options no matter what the circumstance.”

After her program reaches its end, Baum still aims to continue her service to causes all over the world, referring to her personal label as a “traveler.” Having already been to Israel and New Zealand, Baum hopes to travel as much as possible to spread her impact and outreach; one country she has kept in mind is Cambodia, since the “state of human trafficking there is quite serious,” she explained. Oswego is certainly thankful for the work that she is cultivating here, which we hope to see grow into a transformation of the community.

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