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Three WC Students Present on Summer Experience Working in the Community

Cierra Bolender, Lily Williford and Jordan Snarr Engaged in Clinton County Fellows Program Wilmington College junior Cierra Bolender described her participation in the Clinton County Fellows program as "a summer experience like no other" when she and a trio of other college students detailed their summer work on behalf of the community at the Aug. 4 Economic Network Alliance (ENA) meeting. PICTURED: Cierra Bolender (LEFT) and Lily Williford are pictured following their presentation at the Aug. 4 Economic Network Alliance meeting. Jordan Snarr presented via video. ENA is an entity of the Chamber of Commerce and Regional Planning Commission. Bolender, along with WC junior Lily Williston and senior Jordan Snarr (and Ohio Wesleyan student Jenna Norman) spoke on the professional opportunities, opportunities for impact and how they established or re-established roots in the community through the 10 -week Clinton County Fellows program. This year marks the 12th class of Fellows, who when combined have provided 16,800 hours of service and 110 community projects. The Fellows program is co-sponsored by Energize Clinton County, the Chamber of Commerce and Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and is open to county residents and WC students. RPC Executive Director Taylor Stuckert described the endeavor as a "low cost, high impact" program. Stuckert, along with Dessie Rodgers, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, and Dr. Michael Snarr, Wilmington city councilman and professor of political science at WC, directed this year's Fellows program. Bolender, a junior majoring in English and education, spoke of her work with the Clinton County Workforce Collaborative, for which she researched and conducted surveys designed to determine any existing barriers to a successful workforce. The survey revealed the challenges many workers face from issues ranging from transportation (reliable vehicles and high fuel costs) to lack of affordable childcare options in the community. Bolender also created a photobank of local photography accessible to the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau and other community entities that could use it in their marketing projects. A subset of that was working with Main Street Wilmington in photographing a host of downtown businesses. Finally, she worked with Art House in researching a number of regional entities to determine what additional types of programming might be desirable locally. She also helped publicize Art House as a fun and educational opportunity for children's personal growth and enjoyment of the arts. Williford is a junior majoring in criminal justice with minors in psychology and political science whose primary projects dealt with homelessness in Clinton County. She worked with the County Coalition on Homelessness in creating a community guide for persons facing homelessness, which focuses on finding safe shelter. Williford also explored the Tiny Homes concept and worked with Hope House in making donations easy to make through an Amazon Wish List of needed items. Her summer experience, while personally rewarding, impressed upon her the massive problem of homelessness both nationally and locally. "Unfortunately, the work will never be done," she said. Snarr, who was in Costa Rica, gave a video presentation of her summer work. She is a senior majoring in business administration/management with minors in economics and race, gender and ethnicity. She explored how AmeriCorps could become a part of the community and which among its many programs might be most feasible for Clinton County. She worked on details that could be used in an AmeriCorps grant application. Also, Snarr worked on a Community Development Block Grant that will be submitted in 2023. It will feature improvements to public infrastructure and facilities in the area of Grant, Douglas, Clark and Wall streets in Wilmington. "This experience has given me a deeper understanding of operations in Wilmington and the county," she said. "Also, it's been an opportunity to share Wilmington with outside organizations."