OCO Health Services seeks Community Involvement

Fulton, NY – Oswego County Opportunities’ Health Education Program invites Oswego County youth and adults to play an important role in forming partnerships to assess the resources available to youth & families regarding adolescent sexual health by serving on one of the agency’s Health Education Advisory Boards.

In 2010 OCO procured funding that allowed the agency the opportunity to implement two new programs; Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (CAPP) and Youth 4 Youth.During the first phase of the programs the focus was on recruitment and training for youth leaders in the community.

The time has now come to include adults on the advisory boards for each of these programs, Ellen Lazarek, OCO Health Services collaboration manager, said.

“We are looking to increase adult involvement in these programs.  The mission of these programs is to support young people throughout Oswego County in identifying and participating in meaningful roles in their respective communities and to share in the decision making process with adult partners.  Adult members of our advisory boards will work together to create opportunities for youth involvement and engagement and youth leadership that further promote awareness and knowledge of STI/HIV and positive sexual health for young people throughout Oswego County,” said Lazarek.

According to Lazarek, these advisory councils will play a vital role in the adult / youth partnership.

“The CAPP and Youth 4 Youth programs have collaborated with each other, as well as concerned individuals and organizations throughout Oswego County to bring about positive change in the their communities.  We are looking to expand those collaborations by establishing these advisory councils and reaching out to area adults and youth and encourage them to guide us in our mission,” said Lazarek.

Shannon Endsley, senior health educator with OCO Health Services, said that mission is to increase youth knowledge of healthy sexual behaviors and reduce the practice of risky sexual behavior.  The CAPP program also strives to increase knowledge about how to access necessary sexual health and family planning services and increase pregnant and parenting teens’ knowledge about healthy parent-child communication.

In an effort to recruit members for the Youth 4 Youth and CAPP advisory boards, OCO’s Health Services invites organizations and individuals interested in helping Oswego County youth to attend a joint meeting of the Youth 4 Youth and CAPP programs on March 27 from 3 to 5 p.m. at OCO’s main office, 239 Oneida St.

The Youth 4 Youth program will meet from 3 – 4 p.m. and the CAPP program will meet from 4 to 5 p.m.  Those interested may attend either or both of the meetings.

Lazarek added that the focus of the meetings will be establishing a more defined mission and deciding what needs to be done to achieve that mission.

“We are looking for a cross section of people, both youth and adult, who would each bring with them their own perspective in regards to assessing our communities, which is the first goal for the advisory councils,” she said.

“We also wish to expand our partnerships with other agencies and organizations offering similar programs so that we may strengthen these programs through collaboration and serve even more young people. Currently we have the Fulton City School District and the Fulton YMCA as partners with the Youth 4 Youth program.  Additionally, we will welcome those who would like to join a sub-committee that is planning events in May surrounding National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month such as resource fairs, health fairs in Oswego County school districts, and a YouTube video contest,” Lazarek added.

Those interested in attending the meetings, or interested in learning more about the Youth 4 Youth program and the CAPP program, may contact OCO Health Services at 315-592-0810 or Lazarek at [email protected] or Shannon Endsley at [email protected]

OCO Health Education works in collaboration with Oswego County school districts, the Fulton YMCA, and OCO Family Planning Health Centers. OCO Health Education is funded through the New York State Department of Health.

One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO provides more than 50 human service programs that touch the lives of more than 30,000 county residents each year.  OCO’s mission is to build partnerships that improve the quality of life and create successful communities.  Visit OCO on the web at www.oco.org. Oswego County Opportunities is a member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County.