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Students talk about their hopes for Joseph Biden’s education talk at Syracuse University

September 9th, 2009

by John Mariani

More than an hour and a half before the forum was to begin, the line of spectators to see Vice President Joe Biden and his all-star education panel extended from the metal detector at the entrance of Goldstein Auditorium, through the lobby of Schine Student Center and out the door.

It included Grace Castaneda, a Syracuse University freshman from Corpus Christi, Texas. “My parents supported President Obama and Vice President Biden. It’s pretty cool to see something they were a part of,” Castaneda said.

It also would be cool if the panelists talked about how to help college students get their education, she said.

David Vermilya, co-director of the The Town Shop youth center in Camillus, was escorting several teenagers from the center. They got their tickets courtesy of Rep. Dan Maffei, whom Vermilya said wanted teens from his district to attend the forum. Dan Nolan, now a Maffei aide, is a Town Shop alumnus, Vermilya said.

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When a Career Finds You

March 19th, 2009

by Jeanne Albanese

Without the Town Shop, my life was a dull gray. Now it shines with beautiful colors.

Shannon Bower-Portal, former Town Shop participant

Thank you for all the opportunities to view the world outside the box, giving the kids a broader view and a calm place to be themselves.

Susanne and Bob Gemmill, parents of current participant, Sarah

I cannot fully express the esteem I hold for David and Cheryl Vermilya. Even though running the Town Shop is their job, I feel it is more their calling. Their enthusiasm and selfless dedication to the town’s youth is immeasurable. They have contributed to the personal growth of my son by introducing him to the importance of community service and being a part of the community. My son has become a confident and socially conscious individual due to their influence.

Susan M. Czerwinski, parent of former participant

These words – and thousands more like them – sustain Cheryl Vermilya.

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Camillus Youth Recognized For ‘Selfless Service’

January 27th, 2009

by Ami Olson

Dave Vermilya, Town Shop co-director, speaks in recognition of the volunteer spirit displayed by Town Shop teens at the third Seva Recognition Dinner last week. Recognizing and celebrating the volunteer spirit of local youth was the message of Wednesday evening’s Seva Recognition Dinner, held at the Camillus Methodist Church in the village.

The Camillus Town Shop joined with church members last week in honor of the nearly 70 Town Shop participants who have attended a seva (selfless service) program at least once since June 1, 2008. The word “seva” is used at the Town Shop to portray the act of selfless service, for which the volunteer receives nothing. Through the Town Shop, teens could display the seva spirit by volunteering on Wednesdays at the Samaritan Center, or Saturdays at the Sunshine Horse Rescue, without gaining community service hours or school credit for their time.

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Camillus Man Creates Town Shop Website

June 30th, 2007

by Jennifer Graham

Some people sit back and watch television for hours upon hours, dreaming and wishing for certain parts of their life to just happen before their eyes. Some, perhaps, wish to become great mathematicians yet fail to study their craft, while others dream of becoming the next American Idol but never practice a single chord of an audition piece. However, some people believe in following their goals and dreams. Rob Wolf is one of those accomplished dreamers.

“When I began web design, I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” said 23-year-old Rob Wolf, a West Genesee High School graduate who is currently enrolled at Onondaga Community College where he studies graphic design. Like many other students and graduates of Camillus area schools, Wolf is a volunteer at the Camillus Town Shop and has been for quite some time. He has recently designed a remarkably appealing web site designated for the Town Shop and those who are interested in the local teen hangout.

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Dave & Cheryl: Positive influences

May 25th, 2007

by Zachary V. Zagger

Cheryl Vermilya sat at the dining room table on the third floor of the Town Shop Youth Center cutting cloves of garlic for a future meal or cooking lesson. She was still indignant.

Only recently a man getting coffee next door accused her of “cooking the books” for the Town Shop, which she and her husband have run for the past 36 years. She was infuriated by the accusations, but tried to stay calm. She told of the volunteer work the teens do around the village of Camillus, at places like the St. Paul’s Samaritan Center, the Sunshine Horse Rescue and soup kitchens in Syracuse.

But she said the man was not appeased. At the next village board meeting, he stood up and said Cheryl had approached him, angry and yelling. She was not at all happy how he portrayed her to the community.

“Where does this depth of hatred come from?” she asked. “I don’t know.”

Teens Not A “Problem”

Since the Town Shop opened in 1971, the Vermilyas have understood that some dislike the Town Shop because it sits on the main street. But the Town Shop has been at its current location for almost its entire 36-year history, and Dave and Cheryl think the teens are not the problem some portray them as.

“They’re nice kids but they are not the athletes or the national honor society students for the most part,” Dave said. “But they are still good kids, kids who in other places are under served.”

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