OCO Services To Aid Families Receives Grant From Mary Kay Foundation

OSWEGO, NY – While domestic violence has experienced a boost in awareness due to recent events, women and children in Oswego County are in need of housing, resources and support programs as they flee abusive situations and work to rebuild their lives.

Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families Program in Oswego received a $20,000 grant from The Mary Kay Foundation as part of the organization’s annual Shelter Grant program to maintain critical services and programs.

The Mary Kay Foundation awarded a total of $3 million in funding to 150 domestic violence shelters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam in advance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.

“It’s been a bigger challenge than ever for shelters to keep their doors open and grants from The Mary Kay Foundation are a vital part in helping shelters move forward in their missions,” said Anne Crews, board member for The Mary Kay Foundation and Vice President of Public Affairs for Mary Kay Inc. “The shelter grants are a signature program of the Foundation and represent just one of the ways Mary Kay is committed to ending domestic violence. We are proud to support local shelters like the SAF House that are on the front lines of helping women and children who need shelter and support from abuse.”

SAF is the only licensed Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Oswego County. SAF provides both residential and non-residential services to all survivors, which includes all racial and ethnic groups. Advocates provide supportive individual and group counseling, advocacy, case management, outreach and children’s services for survivors of domestic violence.

Funding for residential programs has remained steady and actually decreased at times in the last few years while the number of bed nights provided at the SAF House and the cost associated with providing the services continues to increase. Grant funds will be used for operational expenses to maintain one staff person at their current level who provides direct services to children and victims.

The need for emergency shelter services for victims of domestic violence continues to increase in Oswego County.

“As of October 1, 2014, the SAF House has provided 2,093 bed nights in comparison to 1,915 in all of 2013,” said Intervention Services Coordinator, Cristy King.

“All of the staff at OCO Inc. – SAF Program are extremely thankful for this grant from the Mary Kay Foundation,” said Judy Egan, SAF House Manager.

Egan noted that the SAF program has been providing a safe haven for women who have fled abusive relationships for the past 28 years and this grant will assist in helping to serve the growing needs of Oswego County.

The OCO Inc. – SAF Program staff would like to send a special thanks to Mary Kay Beauty Consultants Penny Halstead, an OCO staff member, Dallas Kinney and Susan James, members of the community who have contributed through product donations and provided free demonstration to woman who have resided in the SAF House, and Julie Laird who sponsored a Mary Kay fundraiser with the proceeds going to Oswego County Opportunities, Inc.

Their support of SAF programming is very much appreciated.

For nearly 20 years, the Mary Kay Foundation has supported the prevention and elimination of domestic violence, an epidemic that touches one in every four women in her lifetime.

Through the Foundation’s annual shelter grant program, $37 million has been granted to domestic violence organizations since 2000.

Nearly 700 shelters requested funding this year.

For a full list of 2014 grant recipients, visit marykayfoundation.org for additional information.

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 more than 1,200 highly valued volunteers.

For more information, visit OCO’s website at www.oco.org

The Mary Kay Foundation was created in 1996.

Its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and to help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue.

Since the foundation’s inception, it has awarded more than $37 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence prevention and nearly $22 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States.

More than 97% of each donated dollar goes to the missions.

To learn more about The Mary Kay Foundation, visit marykayfoundation.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).