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2021 ACCORD Youth Service Award Recipient Announced

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BELMONT, NY] – ACCORD Corporation is pleased to announce Claire Volk of Alfred Station, New York as the recipient of the 2021 ACCORD Youth Service Award.  This annual award, honors an eleventh or twelfth grade student in the Allegany County School District that has demonstrated exemplary leadership in the war against poverty; and who has shown a commitment to ACCORD’s mission, vision and core values.  Claire was honored at an outdoor ceremony in Belmont on June 17th by ACCORD Executive Director, Lesley Gooch-Christman, ACCORD Board of Directors Planning Committee Chair, Joseph Damiano and Executive Operations Manager, Melissa Biddle.  

Claire is the daughter of Corey Fecteau and Daniel Volk of Alfred Station.  Claire started volunteering at the Alfred Farmer’s Market from 10:00am-4:00pm every Sunday in the Summer of 2019 providing free childcare assistance for vendors and patrons of the market.  In the Summer of 2020, Claire became the assistant to the Market Manager, Mary Gardner-Ruch, aiding with administrative duties, logistics and implementation of health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19 protocols.  Claire also processed SNAP payments for individuals and families, welcomed and assisted vendors and ensured the market ran smoothly each Sunday.  Claire also became an active member of the Alfred Farmer’s Market Board of Directors in 2020 providing a voice for local youth.  More recently, Claire has taken on the role of Volunteer Coordinator for the Alfred Farmer’s Market and has already recruited three new volunteers this year.

Claire and Mary Gardner Ruch, flanked by her parents

When asked what she has done to improve our community’s response to rural poverty, Claire explained, “The Alfred Farmers Market is an accessible and equitable place for community members to shop for grocery items, especially fresh produce and meat. While it may seem strange to talk about food deserts in rural farming communities, people living in small Allegany County towns don’t always have transportation or economic access to grocery stores in larger communities. Farmers markets in their towns, especially markets that accept SNAP payments, can provide local and affordable produce and meat. Ensuring that market patrons paying with SNAP feel welcome and have a smooth, seamless experience paying for their purchases furthers equity and food justice for Allegany County.”

In addition to Claire’s contributions to the Alfred Farmer’s Market, she has also been involved with Alfred University’s Annual Days of Service, Fundraising and Service Projects at A.E. Crandall Hook & Ladder Company, the Alfred Montessori School, the Baker’s Bridge Historical Society, and assists with trail maintenance and clean-up in Alfred area state forests.  This most recent school year, Claire worked hard to balance a full high school schedule with three AP classes, a college class at Alfred University, and extracurricular activities  including; writing tutor, Senior High Band, Varsity Cross Country and Track & the Prom Committee. 

Claire’s goal is to become a marine biologist to help the planet through marine science and research.  “As a certified SCUBA diver, I have seen the beauty of the underwater world, and understand how important our oceans and water systems are for the health of our planet. Environmental justice must include respect for and clean-up of our water systems.”

ACCORD will be looking for the 2022 Youth Service Award Recipient in the Spring of 2022.  Eleventh and Twelfth grade students in the Allegany County School District will be encouraged to apply for the award and scholarship.   

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