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Catholic Charities’ Kinship Serving Area Youth

FULTON, NY – When Jonathan Gilmore, coordinator of the Kinship Support Project at Catholic Charities of Oswego County sought to establish youth groups to enhance the program he hoped that it would get youth in the program more involved and encourage more input from them.  After just a few short weeks, Gilmore is pleased to see that the youth groups are accomplishing that goal.

Children in Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Kinship Support Project enjoy some time together at a recent Youth Group meeting. From left are Steven, Alexus, and Alex.
Children in Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Kinship Support Project enjoy some time together at a recent Youth Group meeting. From left are Steven, Alexus, and Alex.

“The youth are as enthused about attending the youth groups as I am,” said Gilmore.  “I have already heard from a number of youth how they really enjoy meeting new friends and sharing their mutual experiences of living with relatives.  They are a able to openly share their feelings with their peers and are looking forward to the topics that we will be discussing at future youth group meetings.”

Currently the youth groups are being held two nights a month from 6 to 8 p.m.

To accommodate the families in the program, the youth groups are held at various locations throughout Oswego County.

“We have been fortunate that a number of churches have come forward and offered to host our youth groups. To date we have met at the Fulton United Methodist Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oswego, the Lighthouse Church of God in Mexico, and the Central Square Community Church. Thanks to their generosity and support, our youth groups have been a success,” he said.

Gilmore added that he is still working on confirming meeting dates and locations for future youth groups and is anticipating attendance to increase as well.

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 to assess their relationship, offer assistance with any issues the family may be experiencing and work closely with them to provide emotional support, recreational opportunities, and advocacy.

“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.

Gilmore invites any adults who are raising a relatives’ child to feel free to contact either himself or, Kinship support clerk Judi Flisakowski at 598- 3980 to inquire about eligibility for services available through the Kinship Support Project or to have the children they are raising attend one of the youth groups.