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September 21, 2018

Catholic Charities’ Mentoring Program Offering Youth Some Positive Changes


FULTON, NY – Youth involved with Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s mentoring program, the Amigo Project, will notice some positive changes to the program as it begins for another school year.

The most noticeable change is the name of the program; the Amigo Project is now the CYO Mentoring Program.

Elementary students in the CYO Mentoring Program receive some tutoring help from mentors from G. Ray Bodley High School. In front from left are: Alejandro Patterson, Krystina Demm, Joshua Aldrich, Program Coordinator, Ken Dennison, Jenna Gardenier, Patricia Pryor, and Shelby O’Brien.

Elementary students in the CYO Mentoring Program receive some tutoring help from mentors from G. Ray Bodley High School. In front from left are: Alejandro Patterson, Krystina Demm, Joshua Aldrich, Program Coordinator, Ken Dennison, Jenna Gardenier, Patricia Pryor, and Shelby O’Brien.

The program is currently serving students in Fulton, while in Phoenix and Sandy Creek school districts the program is slated to start in mid to late October.

Under the direction of new coordinator Ken Dennison the program is collaborating with Catholic Charities’ popular CYO program to add more structure and a new feel the mentoring experience.

“We have some exciting changes planned that will benefit both the elementary and high school students who are involved with our mentoring program,” said Dennison. “This year students in the Fulton School District will meet at the CYO while students in Phoenix and Sandy Creek will meet at their schools weekly where they will be able to spend some productive, quality time together. We have also expanded the time of the sessions and have established a structured program that the students will enjoy.”

Made possible in part through grants from Entergy Nuclear, the NYS Office of Children and Families through the Oswego City / County Youth Bureau, the United Way of Greater Oswego County, and Oswego County Opportunities, Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s CYO Mentoring Program is offered to students in Fulton each week from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Students in Phoenix will meet on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and students in Sandy Creek will meet Tuesdays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Each session begins with tutoring time, followed by a group activity and free time where mentors and mentees will have the opportunity to play games together, talk and get to know each other better.

“The longer session will prove to be very beneficial to the students,” added Dennison. “The extra time allows us to place more emphasis on the tutoring aspect of the program and the additional free time gives the students a chance to bond with each other and develop their social skills.”

Designed specifically for the development and enhancement of healthy social skills and to improve the participants’ academic skills, the CYO Mentoring Program matches elementary school children with high school students and provides them with peer support and a positive role model. Mentors provide friendship, guidance, and support through one on one time and group activities.

Staff or AmeriCorps volunteers of the CYO Mentoring Program supervise all sessions.

The CYO Mentoring Program serves each of Fulton’s schools with students in Lanigan, Fairgrieve, Granby and Volney participating in the program, while students from G. Ray Bodley High School serve as mentors.

In addition, the program has added junior mentors, students in eighth grade who are working with the high school mentors and are looking forward to becoming mentors when they begin high school.

“Our mentoring program has been well received and supported by not only the students, but by the schools and the community as well. We have had several mentees who have gone on to become mentors and mentors who went on to work with our CYO Summer Program. We are appreciative of the support that this program receives from the school districts. Their involvement plays an important role in the success of the CYO Mentoring Program,” said Dennison.

Dennison added that the CYO Mentoring Program is currently accepting referrals for elementary students and is recruiting high school students for mentors in each of the school districts being served as they look to get more youth involved in the program.

Referrals are welcome from teachers, parents or guardians.

The CYO Mentoring Program is ideal for students who are academically or socially challenged as the program is designed to address those issues.

“We carefully screen every elementary and high school student to ensure that successful match based on shared interests and personality. A proper match benefits both the mentee and the mentor as the shared experience not only helps them develop their academic and social skills but also provides them with an opportunity to bond with and talk to a non-adult that they can easily relate to. Many of the high school students who serve as mentors have found it to be a very rewarding experience. One that provided them with the opportunity to: discover the importance of developing healthy relationships with others, gain a better sense of self-esteem, and learn how to be an effective team member along with them giving back to their community.  The work performed by the mentors will also prove to be a credible addition to their college resumes as well as their working resumes,” he said.

For more information on Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s CYO Mentoring Program, call 598-3980.

Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.

Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.

For more information on Catholic Charities and the many human services programs that it offers you may contact them at 598-3980.

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