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September 20, 2018

OCO Recognizes Kristin LaBarge


FULTON, NY – Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier has announced that Kristin LaBarge was recently honored with the agency’s prestigious Amelia Whelahan Leadership Award during OCO’s annual meeting held April 22 at Springside at Seneca Hill.

Kristin LaBarge was honored as the recipient of OCO’s prestigious Amelia Whelahan Leadership Award during the agency’s annual meeting held recently. The award is given annually to a staff member who has made outstanding contributions to OCO and the human services profession. From left are: OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, award nominee Cristy King, and award recipient Kristin LaBarge. Absent is award nominee Kathy Prairie.

Kristin LaBarge was honored as the recipient of OCO’s prestigious Amelia Whelahan Leadership Award during the agency’s annual meeting held recently. The award is given annually to a staff member who has made outstanding contributions to OCO and the human services profession. From left are: OCO Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier, award nominee Cristy King, and award recipient Kristin LaBarge. Absent is award nominee Kathy Prairie.

Presented annually and selected by the board of directors, OCO’s Amelia Whelahan Leadership Award recognizes a staff member who has made outstanding contributions to OCO and the Human Services profession.

The award is given in the memory of Amelia Whelahan, a dedicated and committed member of the Oswego County Opportunities’ family for many years.  She served on the agency’s board of directors, its Planning and Evaluation Committee, and as its president.

For her many contributions and accomplishments, the Board of Directors recognizes her memory by honoring a distinguished employee with this award each year.

LaBarge is OCO’s planning coordinator.

She started her employment with OCO in 1998 as an OPTIONS case specialist. She quickly was promoted to senior youth specialist and in 2001 was promoted to OCO youth enterprise coordinator.

She became the planning coordinator for OCO in 2009. Beyond her role as planning soordinator, Kristin is actively involved in many community efforts including leading the County’s Homeless Point-In-Time Count every year and the local chapter of Zonta International.

She also has completed the New York State Community Action Emerging Leaders program and has been approved to sit for her certification as a Certified Community Action Professional.

“We are fortunate to have Kristin as our planner and representative of OCO. I am proud to say that we had many outstanding nominees for this year’s award. While they were all worthy of the award, I am happy to honor Planning Coordinator Kristin LaBarge this year’s recipient of our Amelia Whelahan Leadership Award.  Kristin’s ability and experience are invaluable to our agency and those we serve,” Cooper-Currier said.

There were two other nominees for the Whelahan award.

Cristy King, intervention services coordinator, crisis and development services, began her employment with OCO in 2000 as the SAF House manager. She became the SAF support services coordinator in 2005 and most recently was promoted to intervention services coordinator in 2012 where she oversees many programs that focus on advocating for people in crisis.

“Cristy is a leader amongst her peers for staff development…she continues to promote a positive atmosphere with Intervention Services and can be counted on to independently solve problems and implement solutions,” Cooper-Currier said. “We are grateful for Cristy’s knowledge, ability and calm leadership.”

Kathy Prairie, lead nutritionist for WIC, has spent her entire career with OCO focused on health and nutrition for women, infants and children in the WIC Program since 1994.

She began as a nutritionist and was promoted to her current position in 1999.

“Kathy has proven herself to be an advocate for her consumers and it is noted that her demeanor makes it easy to establish rapport with those she works with. Kathy has a ‘just do it’ attitude which has contributed to her growth. Kathy respects participants for who they are and always provides the best service she can. She has a strong work ethic, is genuine and hew qualities are valued by staff and participants alike. We appreciate the work that Kathy demonstrates on behalf of consumers, WIC and OCO!” Cooper-Currier said.

Congratulations to all our nominees for their hard work and dedication to those served by OCO.

And, it always difficult for the board to select one individual from such a deserving pool of candidates to receive the Whelahan Award.

A private, non-profit agency, OCO’s many programs touch the lives of more than 30,000 Oswego County residents each year.

One of Oswego County’s largest employers, OCO employs more than 650 people and boasts a volunteer force of 1,200.

OCO strives to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by helping people, supporting communities and changing lives.

For more information, visit www.oco.org

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