Local Agencies to Host Youth Program Forum

September 22nd, 2014.

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Oswego, NY – Representatives from a number of Oswego County’s human services agencies will host an Oswego County Youth Program Forum on October 23 at the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Extension Site. Sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program starting promptly at 9:00 a.m.

Open to anyone interested in learning about the many services and programs that are available to youth in Oswego County, the Youth Program Forum will provide youth service providers with an opportunity to share information on their programs while learning about other youth programs that exist in Oswego County. “The Youth Forum is an excellent example of our human services agencies working together to help achieve a common good…helping our youth and their families. This kind of collaboration truly demonstrates the Live United concept that we are all connected,” said Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, Melanie Trexler.

Executive Director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, Brian Chetney, co-chairperson of the event’s planning committee, explained that the format of the forum would allow for participants to select from a series of workshops where agency representatives will present a synopsis of their program. The different workshops will touch on a number of the youth services that are available. Additionally, there will be an information area where attendees may learn more about many of the other youth services offered in Oswego County.

“The Oswego County Youth Program Forum is an excellent opportunity for youth agencies to come together and discuss the different services they offer to youth and families in Oswego County. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to network and ask questions,” added Chetney. For more information on the Oswego County Youth Program Forum you may contact Melanie Trexler at the United Way of Greater Oswego County 593-1900 ext.201 or at melanieunitedway@windstream.net.

Cut line for photo: Members of the planning committee for Oswego County Youth Program Forum meet to finalize details for the event. Scheduled for October 23 at the SUNY Oswego Phoenix Extension Site the informative program will highlight the many services and programs that are available to youth in Oswego County. Sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m. with the program starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. Seated from left are: Ali McGrath with United Way of Greater Oswego County; Helen Hoefer of Catholic Charities; Melanie Trexler, executive director, United Way of Oswego County; and Heather Tebidor, Employment Specialist Oswego County Workforce NY. Standing from left are Jennifer Losurdo, Oswego City County Youth Bureau; Brian Chetney, executive director, Oswego City County Youth Bureau; and Karen Meyer with the Department of Social Services Youth Service Unit. Absent from the photo are committee members, Linda Brosch, Cornell Cooperative Extension and Kelly Otis, Oswego County.

United Way Helping Children and Youth Succeed

September 19th, 2014.

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Fulton, NY – United Way has touched the lives of countless families and individuals throughout Oswego County. Whether working to stop hunger, improving a community’s health and well-being, or helping children and youth succeed, the positive impact provided by United Way has made difference in lives of many.

While much of that impact is immediate and can easily be seen there are some United Way programs that offer services that provide a positive impact that lasts a lifetime. For one Fulton resident it all began with a trip to Catholic Charities’ CYO Program.

When Mike Curtis was nine years old he learned from his friends that there was a place where he could go to have fun, meet new friends and best of all play basketball. The place, the Fulton CYO, soon became a favorite spot for him. He was soon going to CYO after school, evenings and Saturday mornings. The opportunity to play basketball and partake in the many other youth activities CYO offered was too much to pass up. “I really looked forward to going to CYO. It was a big part of my life. I was still stopping in to play basketball some Saturday mornings when I was in my early 20s,” said Curtis.

In addition to basketball and the other activities, Curtis said that the all-night sleepovers were one of his fondest memories. “They were great, especially around the holidays as there would be special holiday themed activities. No really ever slept…we were having too much fun!”

While CYO provided Curtis with hours of fun it also offered life lessons that would help shape his future. “CYO taught me about discipline and responsibility. I remember having to stop at the front desk to sign in and CYO Director Jim Smiley explaining the proper conduct we were to display while we were at CYO. It was a privilege to be at CYO and he reminded us of that. It also taught me the value of hard work. I have vivid memories of painting those blue stairs that led to CYO when I was involved its summer work program. More importantly, it taught me how to build relationships. Life lessons like discipline and responsibility are only valuable when they can be passed on through strong relationships with family, friends and others, which is what I did,” explained Curtis.

As a 13-year member of the Fulton City Police Department, currently in the criminal investigation unit, Curtis has seen that the impact CYO had on his life is continuing to shape the lives of youth that visit CYO today.

“For many youth CYO is a respite from turmoil. It’s an alternative that offers healthy activities in a safe setting for those families that may not have the financial means to participate other wise. The impact that CYO has on our community is invaluable. It has the ability to intervene in the life of high-risk youth and offers a chance to help break the cycle of generational struggles and negative behavior. CYO teaches youth how to build relationships in a stable environment that are predicated on positive behaviors. The results of which benefit the community as a whole now and in the future,” said Curtis.

Curtis’ reflections on his experience with CYO is just one of the many stories that could be shared by the thousands of youth and adults that have experienced all that CYO has to offer. It paints a clear picture of how United Way and the programs it supports impact a community.

“Every experience in your life has a role in shaping you as a person, said Curtis. “CYO is a big part of why I am the person I am. I’ve heard people say why should I give to United Way. The answer is simple…results! We have a responsibility to support each other in our community. We need to give of our time, talent and finances if possible. One never knows when the tide may turn and it will be you in need of help, encouragement or even a life lesson. The impact that United Way has produces positive results that can help end hunger, assist our children and youth in succeeding, and improve the health and well-being of our county. For me the results are in the numbers; 42 years in the community, 21 years of marriage, 13 years with the Fulton City Police Department, 3 beautiful children, and one lovely wife,” added Curtis.

Cut line for photo: Investigator Michael Curtis with the Fulton City Police Department shared his story of the positive impact that the Fulton CYO Program had, and continues to have, on his life. CYO is one of the 27 programs that received funding as result of the United Way’s Annual Campaign. Pictured above from left with Curtis are CYO participants Kiera Purdy, Alexa Halstead, Avery Nunez, Blake Tyler and Kamrin Ledger.

Bill Crist Leads United Way Board

September 2nd, 2014.

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Fulton, NY – Executive Director of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, Melanie Trexler has announced that Bill Crist, superintendent of Schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, will officially take over the reins as President of the agency’s Board of Directors at the United Way’s 2014 / 2015 Kick-Off Breakfast, September 10 at the American Foundry in Oswego.

Crist follows out-going United Way Board President, Kathy Fenlon. He praised her for work with United Way and the support she has offered him. “Kathy’s leadership over last two years has been remarkable. She has served as committee member, board member, executive board member, and president. I am especially grateful to her for extending her tenure and assisting me during my transition back to central New York this past spring. It has truly been a pleasure and honor to work with Kathy over the years in the spirit of helping Oswego County. She is one of a kind!” said Crist.

Crist, the former superintendent of the Oswego City School District, has been actively involved with United Way for more than a decade serving as a board member since 2003, and playing a major role in several sub committees including By-Laws, Campaign, Golf, and Strategic Planning. Additionally, Crist was a member of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce from 2003 to 2013 where he served as a member of the executive board of directors, the Government Relations committee, and represented the Oswego City School district.

A dedicated supporter of United Way, Crist is committed to increasing the impact of United Way. “I feel very strongly about the positive impact that United Way has on Oswego County. My affiliation with United Way has allowed me to see first hand how great the need is in our community and the remarkable way in which United Way utilizes donors’ dollars to support programs that produce measurable results by providing services that offer comfort, support and empowerment to those in need,” said Crist.

According to Trexler, Crist’s vast experience made him the perfect choice for United Way board President. “We are very fortunate to have Bill as our board president. His skills set, leadership abilities and thorough knowledge of United Way and Oswego County is invaluable. I am confident that he is the right leader at the right time and will successfully lead United Way into the future and continue our mission of improving the quality of life in Oswego County by ensuring positive results from United Way funded programs and creating stronger, healthier communities,” said Trexler.

In his new role as board president, Crist is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead. “As we look to the future it is important for us to find innovative ways to reach our goals and convey our message to the community. We wish to assure our supporters that with United Way, it’s all about results. We are focused on educating the public and reminding them of the tremendous impact that their dollars have on the lives of those in need and the effect they have on Oswego County and our goals of ending hunger, helping children and youth succeed, and improving the health and well-being of our community,” said Crist.

One of Crist’s first duties as United Way Board President will be his active role in the Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast. He will share his vision for the future of the United Way as well as introduce events guest speakers: Executive Director of Farnham Family Services and Investigator Michael Curtis of the Fulton Police Department.

Unger will share video excerpts from Senator Ritchie’s recent forum on Heroin and Opioid Addiction as well as a recent video from the Oswego County legislature focusing on heroin locally. According to Unger these videos, which include addicts speaking about their experiences, family members who have been affected by an addict, and perspectives from law enforcement and elected officials, will put into perspective the devastating effects that heroin.

“The success of the United Way’s Annual Campaign will have a tremendous impact on our efforts to combat heroin abuse in Oswego County. The funding that it provides Farnham Family Services assists us with both our treatment programs and our preventative work,” said Unger. “United Way funding allows us to expand our preventative work in our schools and the community in general. Additionally, as a result of United Way funding we are able to procure additional dollars that make United Way’s investment even more beneficial.”

Curtis, a native of Fulton, will share his experiences with Catholic Charities’ CYO Program. From attending as a youth to witnessing the positive effect CYO has on today’s youth, Curtis puts a face on the impact that CYO has on youth and the community.

According to Trexler, Jeanne’s and Mike’s stories are excellent examples of the results that United Way helps produce for Oswego County. “United Way funding is all about results. Donations to the United Way Community Fund benefit a myriad of programs that serve community members of all ages and address the issues of hunger, the success of our child and youth, and the overall health and well-being of our communities. These programs produce measurable results that have a tremendous impact on not only those they serve, but on the community as a whole. There is no better way to make a positive impact on Oswego County than supporting United Way. Donations to the United Way Community Fund make a difference by providing solutions and increasing the quality of life throughout Oswego County.

United Way’s Annual Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast, which is open to the public, will be held September 10 from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. at the American Foundry, 246 West Seneca St. (behind Fajita Grill on Route 104 West) in Oswego. The cost to attend the United Way Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast is $15.00. Deadline for reservations is September 5. For more information, or to make reservations to attend the United Way Campaign Kick-Off Breakfast, contact Resource Development Director, Lois Luber at your United Way office, 315-593-1900 or via e-mail at loisunitedway@windstream.net.