Oswego County 4-H, Oswego County Opportunities, J.C. Penney Partner to Offer After School Program at Mexico Middle School

Debbie Holliday, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County Program Educator, assists a sixth grade Mexico Middle School student during a Rural After School Program (RASP) session at the school. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s 4-H Program has secured funding for the third consecutive year from a J.C. Penney grant to help provide after school programs in our community. This year, the J.C. Penney grant will help supplement funding for the Rural After School Program (RASP) at the Mexico Middle School.

MEXICO, New York – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s 4-H Program has once again secured funding from a J.C. Penney grant to help provide after school programs in our community.

This is the third consecutive year that the Oswego County 4-H Program has partnered with J.C. Penney.

The partnership will allow for Cornell Cooperative Extension and the 4-H Program to also continue their relationship with Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) to run the after school program, and provide students the opportunity to see what 4-H has to offer.

“We were thrilled to have once again received the funding through the J.C. Penney grant,” said Oswego County 4-H Team Coordinator Linda Brosch. “From what I understand it is unique to receive this funding three consecutive years, so we’re very pleased to be recognized as having a program that is showing results.”

The partnership with J.C. Penney helped build the after-school programs at the Hannibal Middle School in 2007, and the Mexico Middle School last year.

This year, the J.C. Penney grant will help supplement funding for the Rural After School Program (RASP) at the Mexico Middle School.

OCO’s involvement also came in 2007, when Oswego County 4-H was seeking involvement in an established after-school program in the area, and realized that at the time OCO was in danger of losing funding for their program at Hannibal Middle School.

OCO is a local community action agency providing a wide variety of services to Oswego County.

“Our involvement in 2007 bridged the gap for funding at Hannibal Middle School, and last year we were able to expand the after-school programs in Mexico,” Brosch said. “Through 4-H involvement, we have been able to work with the after school kids and run different learning activities like wind powered airboats, water bottle rockets, and biofuel blast during the program.”

OCO After School Coordinator Deborah Daby is pleased that funding through    4-H has been awarded for a third year.

“This continues to be a wonderful partnership for OCO and 4-H,” Daby said. “We continue vital after-school programs, and 4-H can participate without having to run the day-to-day needs of the program.”

The J.C. Penney After School Fund is a not-for-profit organization set up through J. C. Penney retail stores to raise money specifically available to after school programs through organizations like 4-H. Their organization has been funding after-school programs nationwide for several years. Funding from the program comes from special in-store merchandise sales and other programs like the “Take an NFL Player to Lunch” program.

Oswego J. C. Penney Manager Jeff Bame was pleased with the news that the program was once again being funded in this county.

“It’s wonderful to see JC Penney’s outreach benefit our own community,” Bame said. “There is so much need for these enrichment programs in our schools, and the results are being shown in Hannibal and Mexico, as a result of the previous funding.”

Bame estimates that several thousand dollars was raised for the program at the local Oswego store.

“It really comes down to our customers supporting these types of fundraisers,” he said. “With this local award, they can see how their support is helping their own community.”

Brosch said the program has been a great way to connect with students that may not have known about 4-H previously and extend the mission of the program.

“These grants ensure that all young people have access to safe and enriching after-school programs, regardless of their circumstance,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and chief executive officer.

4-H is an informal educational program for youth ages 5-19 built on subject matter projects developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension and by the National 4-H Council. The program information is used by interested adults who serve as volunteer leaders. Oswego County’s 4-H program is operated through Oswego County Cornell Cooperative Extension in Mexico and funded by a joint effort of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Cornell University’s New York State Land Grant College, and the Oswego County Legislature.

If you would like to learn more about Oswego County 4-H or Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, call (315) 963-7286, or visit http://thatscooperativeextension.org.

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