Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
Fulton, NY – Seven months ago Emily Bradshaw, a student at Oswego Middle School, began her mission to have a homeless shelter established in Oswego County.
Since that time she has done much to raise awareness of the homelessness that exists in Oswego County and enlist community members and area officials to join her in her mission.
On April 13, Emily’s mission will take a giant step forward as she serves as the honorary chairperson for Oswego County Opportunities’ ‘Lucky 13’ Bowl-A-Fun Tournament from noon to 6 p.m. at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton.
“It really means a lot to me to be a part of this event. I’m very happy that OCO is dedicating the event to homelessness and helping to raise awareness of mission,” said Bradshaw.
According to OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, proceeds from the OCO’s Lucky 13 Bowl-A-Fun will benefit services for the homeless, both now and in the future.
In addition to support for existing services, OCO will set aside a percentage of the Bowl-A-Fun proceeds to build financial resources for the future.
“Homelessness continues to be a problem throughout Oswego County, and it impacts consumers of every service we provide,” said Cooper-Currier. “There is a vision for a homeless shelter in Oswego County, and as the community action agency for Oswego County, we strongly support this vision because it aligns perfectly with OCO’s mission.”
At OCO’s ‘Lucky 13’ Bowl-A-Fun Emily will be addressing the crowd at the beginning of both the 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. flights. She will speak of the issue of homelessness in Oswego County and share the purpose of her mission and her vision of establishing a homeless shelter in the county. Additionally, Emily will be helping OCO accept donations of non-perishable food items and personal care products that participants are encouraged to bring.
To date, with the help of family, friends, classmates, and concerned community members, Emily has made more than 1,000 personal care bags filled with items such as soap, toothpaste, and shampoo.
More than 700 of the bags have been distributed through OCO’s homeless services.
Bradshaw added that she is still collecting personal care products.
“As well as collecting items at OCO’s ‘Lucky 13’ Bowl-A-Fun, I have a donation box at the Fulton Public Library, and I can be contacted through my Facebook page, Emily’s Mission, or by email: [email protected] for pickup,” said Bradshaw.
In addition to enlisting OCO in her mission, Emily has been working with Oswego County Social Services Commissioner Greg Heffner; COACH (County of Oswego Advocates Challenging Homelessness), a newly formed coalition to combat homelessness that includes representatives from Oswego County’s human service agencies, local elected officials, concerned community members and government officials; speaking to local clubs and organizations including, Fulton Sunrise Rotary, the Oswego High School National Honor Society, and the Children’s Board; and reaching out to elected officials throughout Oswego County, including Assemblyman Will Barclay, Assemblyman Bob Oaks’ office, and NYS Senator Patty Richie’s office.
“I’m willing to speak with any group or organization that would like learn more about my mission and welcome the opportunity to do so,” said Bradshaw.
Currently, Emily is reviewing statistics gathered by COACH during its Point In Time survey that compiles an approximate number of those who are homeless, or are housing vulnerable, in Oswego County.
The COACH committee is using these number as a tool to help determine what the shelter will be, and exactly who it will serve.
Once that is established issues such as state and local regulations, staffing, and how the shelter will be sustained will be addressed.
“It’s a slow process but we are starting to put a plan in place,” added Bradshaw.
“Emily has vowed to be the face and the voice of homeless people and to shine a light on this crisis. We are very excited to have Emily serve as our honorary chairperson for our ‘Lucky 13’ Bowl-A-Fun,” OCO’s Cooper-Currier said. “Emily has increased awareness about the growing problem of homelessness and the need for a shelter in Oswego County. A homeless shelter is desperately needed. There are hundreds of homeless people in the Oswego area alone.”
OCO’s ‘Lucky 13’ Bowl-A-Fun takes place at Lakeview Lanes in Fulton from noon – 6 p.m.
Registration is under way for five-person teams, with choice of flights: noon – 2:30 p.m. or 3 – 5:30 p.m.
Registration costs $75 per team; pledges over and above that amount are also being accepted.
For registration or sponsor information, or to donate a door prize, contact OCO at 598-4717 or visit the agency’s website at www.oco.org
A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 30,000 Oswego County residents each. One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200. OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.
For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org