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Catholic Charities Welcomes Parent Educators

FULTON, NY – Program supervisor Andrea Burritt announced that Sarah Tyron, Jessica Duschen and Ellen Donovan have joined the staff of Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

The three will serve as parent educators with the agency’s Parent Education Program.

Supervisor of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Parent Education Program, Andrea Burritt, standing, welcomes new parent educators, Sarah Tryon (left), Jessica Duschen (center) and Ellen Donovan to the program.
Supervisor of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Parent Education Program, Andrea Burritt, standing, welcomes new parent educators, Sarah Tryon (left), Jessica Duschen (center) and Ellen Donovan to the program.

Currently serving more than 50 families throughout Oswego County, Catholic Charities’ Parent Education Program provides in-home supportive outreach for families who are at risk of losing their children to foster care or are attempting to reunite with their children.

Donovan, who holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from SUNY Oswego, previously worked at the SUNY Oswego Day Care Center.

Her interest in the field of human services and her love of helping others made the position of parent educator very appealing.

As a parent educator, Donovan will be working closely with families to reach specific goals, established by the family’s caseworker, that will help the them function effectively as a family unit.

“I realize the importance of being able work with the families in their own home. I am able to witness first hand the dynamics of the family and how the parents and children interact with each other. I also enjoy the challenge of educating parents on why I am there and the importance of them reaching their goals as parents,” said Donovan.

Duschen previously worked at Little Lukes in Oswego as a one-on-one aide and at Oswego County BOCES as both a job coach and a one-one aide with youth and younger children.

No stranger to parenting, Duschen, who has twins, enjoys working the families, meeting their children and working with them to achieve their unique goals.

“I have worked with children for many years. I appreciate the opportunity to continue to help children by educating their parents and helping them develop successful parenting skills. As a mother of twins and raising a son who is on the autism spectrum with a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, I can relate to some of the issues they are dealing with. It’s nice to work the parents and watch them succeed by learning effective parenting skills such as positive discipline, appropriate activities for the children, housekeeping and other skills that will benefit the family. As a parent educator I model how to do the right things and help them integrate them into their own lives,” said Duschen.

Tryon, who is also in her junior year at Columbia College at Hancock Field in Syracuse, has been a stay at home mom for the past seven years.

Her passion for child and family development and her love of children made the position of parent educator a natural fit.

While initially gaining the parents trust and acceptance is a challenge, Tryon said that being a parent educator is very satisfying.

“You have to have a strong heart and let the parents know that you are there to help their family stay together and help them become more effective parents. I make sure I don’t overstep my boundaries. I am there to help them and work with them, not to lecture to them or pass judgment on them,” said Tryon.

As parent educators, the three also serve as advocates for the families they work with as they provide information on, and help them access, other programs offered through Catholic Charities or other human service agencies that offer programs that will be beneficial in helping the families reach their unique goals.

“Our focus is to help parents meet their family’s specific needs and provide them with the tools they need to successfully relate to and deal with their children,” added Tryon.

In addition to their one-on-work with families, the three will also serve as facilitators for the many family workshops that are offered through Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

These informative workshops address a number of pertinent topics related to raising children from newborn through their teenage years.

Specifically designed for parenting children based on their ages, the workshops, which are offered free of charge, provide parents with useful information that will benefit them regardless of the current parenting skills.

Duschen, Donovan and Tryon all agree that one of the biggest benefits of the parent education program is that it offers parents and their children a different perspective on the issues that they are dealing with.

“From time to time every parent needs help with their parenting skills. The information that we provide is useful regardless of their current relationship with their children,” added Tryon.

Burritt is happy to welcome the new staff members and is impressed with the enthusiasm they have for the program.

“Our Parent Education Program provides a vital service for our community. Ellen, Jessica and Sarah are excited to be part the Parent Education Program and are looking forward to serving as many families as possible as they teach parents the skills they need to develop stronger, healthier relationships,” said Burritt.

For more information, call Burritt at 598-3980.