OCO PATH Program Doing Good Things for Youth

FULTON, NY – Oswego County Opportunities, Inc. staff continues to make a difference.  OCO’s PATH Program (Program to Assist Teenage Homeless) is making an impact on the lives of young people who come from throughout Oswego County.

PATH is a transitional living program for homeless young people, ages 16 – 21 that provides the opportunity to learn independent living skills, complete educational goals and to become a responsible member of the community. PATH has provided services to youth since 1991.

There is an extensive interview process to enter PATH that identifies an applicant’s needs as well as looks at the strengths and issues of the applicant.  According to Larry Fisher, PATH Program manager, “The needs, strengths and issues of an applicant are taken into consideration when determining program eligibility.”

Once a youth enters PATH, they have contact with staff seven days a week and are required to have a daily activity that may include education, volunteering or employment.

The maximum length a participant is able to be in PATH is 18 months.  The program is voluntary and youth may leave the program when they choose. There are limited apartments and the program is often at capacity.  Fisher reported that PATH served 26 young people in 2011.

Recently, a note was received from a former PATH participant.  This young person was thanking staff for the support provided while in PATH.  The young person now has a full-time job, owns a car and was enrolling into college to start the next semester.

This young person reports going to appointments and being able to budget money now, thanks to skills developed during time in PATH.  The young person stated that the program staff “really helped in a big way to change my life for the better.”

The PATH staff team, lead by Fisher, was recently recognized by OCO’s Crisis & Development Services, based in part on this acknowledgement from the former participant, and for the support they provide to homeless young people.

OCO’s PATH receives funding from US Health & Human Services, NYS Office of Children & Family Services, NYS Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and United Way.

For more information on OCO’s PATH program, contact 315-342-7532.

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.