BEND, Ore. -

Heart of Oregon Corps hosted an Achievement Celebration on Thursday at the Bend Parks and Recreation Office to honor the accomplishments of 23 young people who completed service in one of three Heart of Oregon programs:  AmeriCorps, Stewardship, and Clean Energy Service Corps. 

The ceremony highlighted the achievements of the young people, ages 16-27 who earned a combined $152,501 in stipends and wages $51,627 in college scholarships, and gave 21,755 hours of volunteer service to communities across Central Oregon over the past 6 months.

Laura Handy, Executive Director shared, "The young people we're honoring today have discovered themselves to be leaders and valuable members of our community.  We're very proud of their hard work and dedication to helping make Central Oregon a better place while forging new paths for themselves."

Program participants completed a combined total of 21,755 hours of volunteer service dedicated to projects including natural resource conservation; fire-fuels reduction; county landfill maintenance; landscaping and weatherization of low-income housing. 

Throughout their terms of service, participants earned stipends or wages and with successful program completion, most earned a college scholarship.  Combined, the group was awarded over $50,000 in college scholarships and paid over $150,000.

Keynote speaker and long-time Heart of Oregon Corps supporter, Kathleen Klein, Ochoco National Forest Supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service, addressed the honorees, saying, "Your experience has prepared you to be the next generation of land stewards and bring about positive change in your communities.  This is a special day for each corps member; you should be proud of your achievements."

She commented on the program, "Heart of Oregon Corps provides an unparalleled opportunity to empower youth to create healthier wild lands and stronger communities.  The agency should be viewed as a model for training the next generation of caretakers of our public lands."

About Heart of Oregon Corps

Heart of Oregon Corps was founded in 2000 with a mission to inspire and empower positive change in the lives of young people through jobs, education and stewardship.  The agency operates six job skills training and education completion programs across five Central Oregon counties.