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OCO Rural After School Program Engaging Youth

Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Oswego County students participating in Oswego County Opportunities’ Rural After School Program (RASP) and discovering that the program offers much more than just than spending time with their friends after school.

Rachel Hayes (left) and Allyson Donaldson rehearse for the Hannibal Middle School Talent Show.  Featuring students in Oswego County Opportunities’ Rural After School Program (RASP) the talent show that will be held March 22 from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. at the Hannibal Middle School.
Rachel Hayes (left) and Allyson Donaldson rehearse for the Hannibal Middle School Talent Show. Featuring students in Oswego County Opportunities’ Rural After School Program (RASP) the talent show that will be held March 22 from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. at the Hannibal Middle School.

OCO’s Rural After School Program, which is currently offered in the Fulton Junior High School, APW Middle School, and Hannibal Middle School, allows students the opportunity to build healthy relationships with other students and adults in a more social setting than the school day.  The smaller groups and informal settings of the program offer the students a chance to succeed academically and personally.

While these benefits are significant, After School Program Coordinator with OCO Education Services, Laura Licatese said that it is the activities and the sense of empowerment that the students receive that are perhaps the most important elements of the Rural After School Program.

“Research has shown that students involved in After School Programs do better both academically and socially as they achieve higher grades, better attendance records and experience overall educational success.  Students participating in OCO’s Rural After School Programs are engaged in a number of educational, recreational and enrichment activities, as well as community service activities that allow them to give back to, and feel connected to, their community in a positive way,” said Licatese.

One of these activities is the upcoming Parent Nutrition Night at APW Junior/Senior High School.

On March 21 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. students and their families working together side by side as they make healthy snacks and learning the best way to use coupons when shopping for healthy foods on a tight budget.  Participants will also learn the best way to plan a weekly nutritious meal schedule to fit their budget.

“It’s a great opportunity for families to come together to learn the importance of healthy eating and how they can enjoy nutritious meals that will fit any budget,” said Licatese.

Students in Oswego County Opportunities’ Rural After School Program display some of the holiday ornaments and personal letters that they sent to the Army Recruiting Center in Syracuse for distribution to soldiers serving overseas. Kneeling from left are: Mark Hoyt Jr., Jordan Hagan, Elizabeth Miller and Keirsten Papin. Standing from left are: Kayla Vandish, Olivia Abrams, Arthur Lincoln IV, Zackariah Russell and Karina Whitten.
Students in Oswego County Opportunities’ Rural After School Program display some of the holiday ornaments and personal letters that they sent to the Army Recruiting Center in Syracuse for distribution to soldiers serving overseas. Kneeling from left are: Mark Hoyt Jr., Jordan Hagan, Elizabeth Miller and Keirsten Papin. Standing from left are: Kayla Vandish, Olivia Abrams, Arthur Lincoln IV, Zackariah Russell and Karina Whitten.

Additionally, a Student Talent Show will be held at the Hannibal Middle School on March 22 from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m.

“We have some very talented youth in our Rural After School Programs and the Hannibal students are excited to have the chance to entertain community members by showcasing their talents.  They have been practicing very diligently and have put together an entertaining show that will feature singing, dancing, acting, comedy and magic!” added Licatese.

The Talent Show is just one of the many community based activities that students participating in the Rural After School Program are involved with.  Licatese said that during the holidays RASP students, at Fulton Junior High School, made holiday ornaments, cards and wrote letters that were sent to the Army Recruiting Center in Syracuse for distribution to soldiers overseas; participated in a school food drive; and made dog treats for pet owners involved with OCO Senior Nutrition Services.

“The students truly enjoy being part of RASP and pride themselves in knowing that they are helping to enhance the quality of life in their community,” said Licatese.

A private, non-profit agency, OCO touches the lives of more than 30,000 people each year through more than 50 programs operating in more than 80 locations throughout Oswego County. The agency, which is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member, employs more than 650 people and has over 1200 highly valued volunteers. For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org