Catholic Charities’ Kinship Program To Offer Youth Groups

FULTON, NY – Coordinator of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Kinship Program, Jonathan Gilmore has announced that the program will soon be offering Youth Groups for those involved with the program.

The Youth Groups, which are tentatively scheduled to begin in February, will be held twice a month at various locations throughout Oswego County.

Gilmore, who is currently planning the format for the Youth Groups, is excited to be adding this feature to the Kinship Program.

“We have identified a real need for the youth in this program to have a forum in which they can share their feelings with their peers who are also in similar situations. It’s important that they realize they are not alone in their situation, said Gilmore.

Catholic Charities’ Kinship Program provides support to kinship caregivers; people who, through a variety of circumstances, have taken on the responsibility of raising their relative’s children.

Gilmore explained that he meets with families once a month, working closely with them to provide emotional support, recreational opportunities, and advocacy.

He meets with families monthly, or more often if need be, to assess their relationship and offer assistance with any issues the family may be experiencing.

“My goal is to assess their relationship so that I can offer assistance with any issues the family may be having, make it a comfortable fit, and help them eventually function as a happy and productive family unit,” added Gilmore.

With the addition of the Youth Groups, Gilmore is looking to get more input and involvement from the youth.

In an effort to make the groups appealing Gilmore said that each meeting would be broken into two sessions, one hour for an activity and snack time and the other hour for a discussion session.

To accommodate the range of youth involved in the program the sessions will also be divided into two age groups, 6 to 11 year olds and 12 to 18 year olds.

“The discussion sessions will be very beneficial to the youth,” said Gilmore.  “Since the youth in this program do not have a diagnosis they do not have access to formal counseling. The discussion sessions we provide offers them an opportunity to openly share their feelings with their peers while they are not in the presence of any family members.”

According to Gilmore issues to be discussed at the Youth Groups include, but are not limited to:

Communication with caregivers, Feelings of abandonment, Feelings about the family structure, Connecting with peers, Struggles they are experiencing such as parental involvement in their lives, Their relationship with their siblings, parents’ significant others, and extended family, Developing positive self-esteem, Their feelings on drugs and alcohol, and Their feelings on being involved in activities outside the home.

“My hope is that these Youth Groups will provide a bit of respite for both the youth and the caregiver and help youth learn ways in which to feel more comfortable with their living situation at home as well as at school,” added Gilmore.

Catholic Charities’ Kinship Program Youth Groups will be offered two nights a month from 6 – 8 p.m. beginning in February.

To accommodate the families in the program Youth Groups will be held at various locations throughout Oswego County.  Dates and locations will be announced in the near future.

For more information on the Kinship Support Program, a schedule for the Youth Groups, or to learn more about eligibility for the program, call Gilmore at 598-3980.