FULTON, NY – Karrie Damm, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, has announced that Rachel Carbonaro and Katie Ogden have been accepted as interns at the CAC.
Carbonaro, who holds an associates degree in Humanities and Social Sciences from Onondaga Community College and Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, is currently seeking her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at SUNY Oswego.
Ogden, also pursuing her Master’s Degree at SUNY Oswego, earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice at Shenandoah University in Virginia.
Their desire to help others and their fondness for working with children made the CAC the perfect environment for their internship.
“I’ve always enjoyed being around children and working with them at various levels. I’ve served as a volunteer for many children’s events and even worked as an usher for the Auburn Doubledays baseball club where I worked with children for the teams on-field promotions,” said Carbonaro.
With her father being a sheriff, growing up Carbonaro often heard of the types of abuse that children can be subjected to.
It was her compassion for these children that provided the impetus for her career path.
“Hearing some of the stories of what these endured really made me want to work with survivors of traumatic events. I want to advocate for them and be that voice for that will help them get though the trauma and begin the healing process,” explained Carbonaro.
With her internship under way, Carbonaro is enjoying her work with the CAC.
“It’s a great experience for me. Working closely with the CAC counselors and having them share their experience and knowledge with me is wonderful. The support I’ve received from the entire staff is amazing. It’s like we are small family here and it makes for a very productive and enjoyable work atmosphere,” said Carbonaro.
While Carbonaro said that hearing the children stories and seeing what they go through may be the toughest thing she’s ever done she has realized that it is also the most rewarding thing she’s ever done.
“It’s very satisfying to know that helping children begin the healing process and helping the parents understand what their child is going through is creating a better environment for all involved,” added Carbonaro.
For Ogden, it was her experiences in college that inspired her to work with children.
“Through my studies and my volunteer work at a day center for underprivileged children I realized how relatively easy I had it growing up compared to some others. I learned of some of their stories I knew I wanted to help and give back to my community and those that are in need. I enjoyed working with the children at the day care and knowing that when I was supervising them they were in a safe environment,” explained Ogden.
In addition to her experiences at the day care Ogden served her practicum at Timber Ridge School in Virginia where she shadowed counselors that worked with troubled teens; many of which experience trauma and grew up in very troubled households.
“It was quite a learning experience that made me want to focus on teens. When I introduced to the possibility of an internship with the CAC I was eager to do so as the CAC serves young children and teens,” said Ogden.
Like Carbonaro, Ogden said that her internship duties at the CAC are not without challenges.
“It can be difficult to gain the child’s trust and have them open up to you but it’s very rewarding when it finally happens. It’s nice to know I am making a difference,” Ogden said.
As interns at the CAC, Carbonaro and Ogden are involved with intakes and will be working closely with children, siblings and their parents as they assist in providing therapeutic intervention regarding all types of child abuse and their effects, safety and prevention education, and support to children during their recovery from the experience.
The opportunity to work with entire family unit is as an aspect of the CAC that greatly appealed both of them.
“The model used at the CAC, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is excellent. It teaches coping skills and realizing techniques that allow children and parents to help process their thoughts and feelings related to traumatic life events; manage and resolve distressing thoughts and feelings; and enhance safety, growth, parenting skills, and family communication. The flexibility of the model also allows the counselors to incorporate their own unique styles. The CAC is a great organization and I am proud to be able to work with them,” said Carbonaro.
Ogden was eager to echo that sentiment.
“The CAC is awesome. It’s amazing to be a part of this and see first hand the positive impact that the staff of the CAC and the services they provide have on lives of children that have been abused,” she said.
“We are happy that Rachel and Katie will be serving their internship with us. Their past experiences, their willingness to learn, and the compassion they have for the children and families we work with will serve them well,” said Damm.
Located at 301 Beech St. in Fulton, the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County provides a wide range of free services to children who have been physically or sexually abused and provides a safe, child-friendly site for the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.
The agency also operates a satellite office at 4822 Salina St. in Pulaski.
For more information on the CAC, call 315-592-4453, visit www.oswegocac.org or follow them on Facebook.