OSWEGO, New York – Computer literacy, financial budgeting and job interviewing are skills some Oswego residents may take for granted. However, those who never learned these skills, but would like to, will soon get a hand from the Oswego Salvation Army.
Entergy Nuclear recently awarded a $10,000 grant to the non-profit organization for the development of client programming specifically designed for the Life Skills Center within its Salvation Army Citadel on West Second Street, which is currently under renovation.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like to be able to offer more than just a meal,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Salvation Army Capt. Kenneth Hayes, adding opportunity for life skills instruction will likely coincide with meal times to maximize visitorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time in the facility.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re offering special programs, right after meal time, while they are still in the building that will help them deal better with day to day living.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Life Skills Center is perfectly timed during an economy when Ã¢â‚¬Å“people are struggling and there are people who want to get ahead, but just canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t catch a break,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Tammy Holden, Entergy Communications Specialist and chair of the SHARE (Spreading Hope and Resources Everywhere) Committee, which oversees the distribution of Entergy grants.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“What an opportunity to teach them what they need to do to get that new job, get a better job, and/or be able to provide for their families,Ã¢â‚¬Â Holden said.
EntergyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s commitment to community service is a reflection of individual employeesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ priorities, according to Holden.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“A lot of our employees are out in the community constantly, whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Little League, the local camps, schools,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We try to look at what programs and organizations they are passionate about and provide them with opportunities to volunteer and get involved. Besides our Open Grant program the community benefits from our Community Connectors program, which is a volunteer initiative designed to reward, recognize and foster the spirit of volunteerism. It informs employees and retirees about volunteer opportunities that address causes that matter most to them. They can then earn cash grants for nonprofit organizations of their choice in exchange for hours of volunteer work. Entergy is just a strong believer in giving back to the community where our employees live and in which it serves – it’s the right thing to do.”
In 2009, Entergy Nuclear SHARE Committee awarded approximately $300,000 to organizations in five key areas: community improvement and enrichment; healthy families; education and literacy; arts and culture, and the environment. Holden pointed out that the Salvation ArmyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mission touches on several of these areas, as do many other organizations with which Salvation Army has partnered over the years.
When touring the new facility on West Second Street, for instance, Holden was impressed to notice a familiar parenting resource guidebook, Children Do Come With Directions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This was a book we sponsored and worked on with Success by Six, an agency with United Way,Ã¢â‚¬Â Holden said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of neat how we can help one organization but it winds up falling into the realm of another organization.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Christine Rottenberk, manager of information technology and founding member of the SHARE Committee, also considered the Salvation Army headquarters tour an eye-opening experience.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I knew they helped the homeless but they do so much more than I even realized. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know they had an after-school program and sewing classes. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really fascinating,Ã¢â‚¬Â she said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We sit in a conference room and make these decisions, but when you go to the site and actually get to talk to the people Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this is what theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re living and you see their passion. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impressive. They seem to have a really good plan.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.
For more information on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“I BelieveÃ¢â‚¬Â campaign or to make a contribution please call (315) 216-4161. Anyone interested in information about programs or serving as a volunteer at the Oswego Salvation Army can please call (315) 343-6491.