FULTON, NY – Thanks to a five-year federal grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Oswego County Opportunities has recently expanded its OPTIONS program.
Designed to prepare pregnant and parenting teens to be successful in life, OPTIONS provides counseling and education in the areas of pregnancy, pre and post-natal care, labor and delivery, parenting, nutrition, mental health, family planning, job preparation, continuing education support, tutoring, mental health counseling, nutrition, decision making and life skills, and a DADS program.
As part of the expansion OCO has added an Adolescent Family Life OPTIONS coordinator, who oversees the expansion, and four case specialists.
The expanded staff makes it possible to triple the number of youth that receive services through the program.
Additionally, OPTIONS will be better able to assist the pregnant teen’s family by collaborating with community partners in the areas of health, education, and workforce development in an effort to connect each family with services that will further support the teen and her child.
New AFL OPTIONS coordinator, Linda Eagan, of Fulton, brings a lifetime of working with youth and 18 years’ of teen pregnancy prevention services to the expanded OPTIONS Program.
Through her leadership in the Oswego BOCES Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention and Services project, the teen pregnancy rate in Oswego County was reduced by more than half and for those youth that became pregnant they entered early prenatal care and continued with school, creating a pathway for success.
Eagan is excited to be part of the expanded OPTIONS program and looks forward to the successes it is sure to bring.
OPTIONS program manager, Christine Piscitelli, works part-time for OPTIONS, also manages OCO’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Program.
She is excited about the changes this expansion brings to the OPTIONS program.
A graduate of SUNY Oswego, Piscitelli holds a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in counseling through Mercy College.
“I am happy that we will be able to serve more youth. This is a very vital program as we offer pregnant and parenting youth the tools they need to succeed as a parent,” said Piscitelli. “It’s more than just teaching them parenting skills. We offer monthly group meetings where they have the opportunity to meet other parenting teens and their children, discuss parenting issues with peers, learn educational and life skills, and learn valuable information on a number of pertinent topics from a variety of guest speakers.”
New case specialists include: Cali Sawyer, of Minetto. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from SUNY Oswego. She held a prior position with OCO as a counselor for the Transitional Living Program and brings that knowledge with her to her new position with the OPTIONS program.
Stephanie Meeker has spent the last 14 months working with OCO at Horizon House. Having achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in education and a Master’s Degree in psychology, in addition to her past experience, she is well prepared for her new role as case specialist with the OPTIONS program.
Mexico native, Alyse Fleming, became familiar with OCO when she served as a mentor with the agency’s Fulton Mentoring Program while earning her Bachelor’s Degree in human development at SUNY Oswego. Her prior experience and educational background makes her a welcome addition to the OPTIONS program.
Aimee Goulette, of Baldwinsville, brings with her prior experience as a case specialist for OPTIONS. While attending Castleton State College in Vermont, she acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology with a concentrate in anthropology. Her experience in the program and education will provide a great resource to the OPTIONS expansion.
Erica Laubhan comes to the OPTIONS program after finishing her Bachelor’s Degree at Buffalo State specializing in women and family studies. A native of Oswego County, Laubhan brings with her a strong knowledge of the service provider system to the OPTIONS expansion.
Melissa Lamb will continue as a part of the OPTIONS case specialist staff and is excited about the expansion.
Kathleen Knopp, serves as the OCO enhancement coordinator.
Together the new OPTIONS team brings more than 80 years’ of youth service experience to this program.
With the expansion of the OPTIONS program, Eagan said that the program is currently accepting new referrals.
All pregnant and parenting youth up to 21 years of age are eligible, with priority given to pregnant youth 18 and under.
To refer someone, or for self-referrals, call 315-342-7532 or toll free at 1-877-342-7618.
For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org.