FULTON, NY Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Executive Director of Catholic Charities of Oswego County, Mary-Margaret Pezzella-Pekow, has announced that Jonathan Gilmore has been named coordinator of the agencyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kinship Program.
The program, which is currently serving 27 families in Oswego County, provides support to kinship caregivers; people who, through a variety of circumstances, have taken on the responsibility of raising their relativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s children.
Gilmore, who had previously worked at ARISE as an Opts-Day Hab coordinator, is looking forward to the challenge of the new position and was drawn to the program through personal experience.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Having been raised by family I understand the love of other family members and can personally relate to many of the experiences these families are going through,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gilmore.
Families are referred to the program through the Department of Social Services.
Once in the Kinship Program, Gilmore works closely with these families to provide emotional support, recreational opportunities, and advocacy.
He meets with families monthly, or more often if need be, to assess their relationship and offer assistance with any issues the family may be experiencing.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“One of my responsibilities is to make sure that the families are aware of the support that is available to them. I educate them about, and refer them to, other programs, either at Catholic Charities or another human service agency, that can help them successfully address any specific challenges they may be dealing with. My goal is to make it a comfortable fit so that they can eventually function as a family unit without the need for any services,Ã¢â‚¬Â added Gilmore.
In addition to the professional support the program provides, families also benefit from peer support as the Kinship Program hosts monthly events, and encourages group meetings with other families.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is important to the families to know that they are not alone and that their family environment is not unique. Each month we invite all of the families in the program to come together for activities and informal chat sessions. I am looking forward to expanding the scope of our monthly events by bringing in guest speakers on pertinent subjects as well as members of other families who have been through the program and would like to share their success story with others. I also would like to increase the level of peer support that is available by encouraging the formation of local support groups in areas where we have families and by keeping families updated on our group activities and sharing the success stories of other families in our program,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Gilmore.
Another benefit of the program is that Gilmore works as an advocate for the families as he attends meetings with school officials, lawyers, and other service providers to ensure that the best interests of the families are being met.
He is passionate about the program and is happy to be helping families who are raising children of relatives become healthy and productive family units.
For more information on the Kinship Support Program, or to learn more about eligibility for the program, contact Gilmore at 598-3980.