FULTON, NY – In this giving time of the year thoughts often turn to making the holiday season a little more enjoyable for those in need.
For the Oswego County Board of Realtors helping area homeless youth is its mission for the season.
Oswego County Opportunities’ PATH program was once again the benefactor of the Oswego County Board of Realtors annual fundraiser.
A transitional living program for homeless young people ages 16 – 21, PATH provides the opportunity for these young people to learn independent living skills, complete educational goals and become responsible members of the community.
According to PATH Coordinator Karen Merrill it has been a year of growth and exciting changes for both PATH and the Oswego County Board of Realtors.
In an effort to provide more support for chronically homeless youth ages 16 – 21. OCO’s PATH program opened a 24-hour supervised residence with a staff that has the ability to provide more enhanced support.
Additionally the Oswego County Board of Realtors merged with the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors to create a stronger organization that better servers its clients and its community.
“I am humbled to say that over the past 11 years the Oswego County Board of Realtors has raised a considerable amount of funds for our PATH program,” said Merrill. “Many young adults enter PATH with little to no possessions, including no winter coats and boots and few have fond memories of Christmas past. With the Oswego County Board of Realtors merging with Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors the results of the organization’s fundraiser was more successful than ever. Thanks to their generosity the young people in PATH that are trying to better their lives will now have a Christmas they can fondly remember.”
“For many, the presents we provide them with will be the only ones they receive,” Merrill added. “When their Christmas lists include items such as food, shoes and clothing it brings things into perspective. When many of these youth are asked to make a Christmas list, some of them have never been asked what they wanted for the holidays before and cannot recall many joyful memories concerning the holiday season. The homeless youth population continues to be a very misunderstood and many times, unjustly criticized population. The PATH program helps youth realize that they are members of the community and that their community supports them and acknowledges the positive things they are doing to better themselves many of our participants graduate from high school, attend college and obtain jobs.”
Established in 1991 PATH is entering its 26th year of providing services to young people in the community.
For Merrill it’s the support of caring individuals and organizations such as the Oswego County Board of Realtors that allows PATH to continue to offer services to homeless young people.
“The continued support of the Realtors has been vital in securing more funding for our program. We could not exist without donations from the community. These local funds count as a match for state and federal dollars, in essence, a dollar can potentially help the agency bring in two additional dollars from state and federal funding,” explained Merrill. “We are very thankful for the generous donation we received from the Oswego County Board of Realtors, and all the effort that goes into organizing their fundraiser.”
The OCO PATH program is funded by the United Way of Greater Oswego County, Oswego City/County Youth Bureau, NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance and the Department of Health and Human Services.
This article was supported by Grant Number 90CX6963 from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
Its contents are solely the responsibility of OCO and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.