Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – For young adults looking for accurate information on sexual health, Oswego County Opportunities (OCO) has the answer. Earlier this month, OCO opened the doors of its new Drop In Center. Located inside the Fulton Health Center, OCO’s Drop In Center offers not only medically accurate sexual heath information but also testing, education, health and safety supplies, and other services regarding STI / HIV.
The first of its kind in the area, OCO’s Drop In Center is the result of a community assessment. “Our assessment clearly indicated that there was a demand for this kind of service,” said Ellen Lazarek, Collaboration Manager – Health Education with OCO Crisis and Development Services. “Once we established the need we were able to procure funding through the NYS Department of Health and begin making our Drop In Center a reality.”
Part of OCO’s Health Education program and an extension of an initiative to bring medically accurate sexual health information to students and other community members through presentations and outreach, OCO’s Drop in Center offers education groups on positive adolescent sexual health and on-site testing.
“One of the goals we are looking to achieve with our Drop In Center is to increase the number of young people receiving STI / HIV education and testing services. It’s important that we physically connect young people to a health center so that they may access ongoing services in other health areas,” explained Lazarek.
Working in collaboration with OCO’s Fulton Health Center, the staff of the Drop-In Center, which includes health educators and peer specialists, also provides referrals and follow through to ensure that their consumers are receiving the services they need.
“The health educators and providers that staff the Drop In Center bring with them a wealth of experience and are well suited to serve this population. Our peer specialists help to make other youth comfortable and often lead informational sessions,” said Lazarek.
Located at 522 S. Fourth St., inside OCO’s Fulton Health Center, the Drop In Center is open Mondays, from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
For more information, call Lazarek at 315-592-0810.
OCO, Inc is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. As OCO celebrates its 45th anniversary it continues to improve the quality of life in Oswego County by touching the lives of more than 28,000 people each year. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County member agency, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 80 separate locations.
For more information, visit www.oco.org