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B'ville: In their time of need

Kindness from a stranger can be priceless.

That's why members of Maureen's Hope Youth Club spread the gesture throughout the Baldwinsville and Liverpool communities.

Consisting of students in 10th through 12th grades, the club's primary focus is to directly help families in the community that are facing challenges. The club is a branch of Maureen's Hope Foundation, a local not for profit whose mission is to offer support and assistance to people facing the challenges of cancer and other life threatening illness.

"There are many needs that patients have when faced with a life altering disease that can not be met by the medical community and Maureen's Hope and the youth club hope to fulfill some of those needs," said Susan Bertrand, founder of Maureen's Hope.

Maureen's Hope caters to the personal needs of individuals facing these challenges by providing gift baskets and services that offer comfort and strength as well as helping to improve their quality of life.

After spending three to four years being involved with the original cause, a group of teens decided to start the youth club to get more kids involved in serving the needs of the community.

"The students are learning how a not for profit functions by being involved in all aspects of the planning, book keeping, fundraising as well as deciding how all money raised will be distributed," Susan Bertrand said.

There are currently two groups, one in Baldwinsville that consists of about 30 students, and a Liverpool group that consists of about 20 students. The two groups do many of the projects together, but sometimes work separately depending on the amount of volunteers needed.

Lending a helping hand

Since their formation in September, they conducted a fall clean up for two families, one who was a fellow student that lost both parents last year. Members spent a day raking and cleaning the yards, helping out where needed. For a holiday project, the students made trays of cookies and delivered them to families of individuals who were battling cancer in an effort to brighten their holidays with a small token of kindness. The groups also assemble the signature beaded Hope Bracelets that Maureen's Hope Foundation puts in their baskets for cancer patients.

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