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Catholic Charities Welcomes Parent Educators

FULTON, NY – Program supervisor Andrea Burritt has announced that Angela Smith and Ken Dennison will serve as parent educators with Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Parent Education Program.

Supervisor of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Parent Education Program, Andrea Burritt, standing, welcomes new parent educators, Ken Dennison and Angela Smith to the program.
Supervisor of Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s Parent Education Program, Andrea Burritt, standing, welcomes new parent educators, Ken Dennison and Angela Smith to the program.

Currently serving more than 70 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.

Smith, who has worked at Catholic Charities since 2001, previously worked in the agency’s Emergency Services Program and most recently served as coordinator for the Nutrition Education and Outreach Program that is administered through Catholic Charities of Oswego County.

She is well aware of the many services the agency offers and is excited about being a part of the Parent Education Program.

“I enjoy working with people and helping others and while I did that extensively with the other programs I was involved with, being a parent educator will give me the opportunity to use my people skills in a different way by helping to make families stronger,” said Smith.

Dennison, who most recently was the coordinator of Catholic Charities’ CYO Mentoring Program, is returning to the position he held when he joined the agency in 2005.

“I really enjoy being a parent educator.  It is very rewarding to work with these families and provide them with the tools they need to strengthen their bonds, whether it’s helping them improve their parenting skills so that they may keep their family together or achieve reunification with a child, it’s a good feeling to know that you had a part in that,” said Dennison.

As parent educators, the two will be working closely with families as they educate parents and help improve their level of parenting skills.

By working with the parents on a variety of issues, such as teaching them: age appropriate discipline techniques, How to appropriately maintain the home, basic infant and child care, proper nutrition and meal preparation and how to effectively budget household finances.

They help them reach specific goals that allow them to function effectively as a family unit.

“Having two children of my own, I understand many of the issues that the families I am working with are going through. By sharing my experiences I can demonstrate successful ways to cope with these issues and help them reach their family’s unique goals, ” added Smith.

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

These informative workshops address a number of safety and prevention issues related to raising children from newborn through their teenage years.

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

Dennison and Smith 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.

“Many of the families we work with feel that they are in a very desperate situation. However we show them that through education we can help improve their family environment and instill hope in them when they feel there is none,” said Dennison.

Burritt is happy to welcome the new staff members and is impressed with the experience they bring to the program.

“Our Parent Education Program provides a vital service for our community. Angela’s experience in dealing with clients in need and in crisis situations will help her better deal with, and empathize with, parents. Ken’s enthusiasm for the program and his desire to work one-on-one with the families has brought him back to this program. It’s also nice have a male parent educator to add gender diversity to the program and allow us to better serve the fathers in our program,” said Burritt.

For more information, call Burritt at 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’s programs are the County of Oswego, the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.