Oswego Salvation Army Graduates First Group In Bridging The Gap Program

OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Salvation Army graduated three students in the inaugural session of  the “Bridging the Gap Between Youth and Community Services” program developed by The Salvation Army.

It is also the first time the program has been offered in New York State.

The graduation ceremonies took place Thursday (Feb. 5), during the conclusion of the 12-week program.

“Bridging the Gap is an innovative program focusing on either prevention or intervention for court involved at-risk youth ages 16-19,” said Major Kathryn Purvis. “We are very excited to bring this program to Oswego. We’ve seen this program work when we were posted in Massachusetts and we were eager to start it here.”

Through the curriculum, Bridging the Gap Between Youth and Community Services offers a diversion program that approaches criminal behavior head-on among youthful offenders by providing specific and useful alternatives for unhealthy behavior.

The students attend classes three days a week at The Salvation Army.

Goals of the program are to:

• Remove the arrest from the juvenile’s criminal record;
• Lower recidivism rates;
• Have students graduate from high school or complete a GED and
• Improve student communications with parents, teachers and police.

Major Purvis noted that this program “continues our mission of working with the Oswego city and county community.”

The program serves to ‘bridge the gap’ between youth and community services by working cooperatively and effectively with the Oswego County District Attorney’s office, County Probation Department, local law enforcement, schools and health care organizations.

The Oswego Salvation Army received a three-year funding grant from the Army’s Eastern Territory Thomas Lyle Williams Fund to start the program.

The program has already seen notable results in Springfield, Mass., where it received the National “Outstanding Juvenile Program” award in 2010 by Project Safe Neighborhoods.

In the Massachusetts program, 89 percent of juveniles who have successfully completed the Bridging the Gap program do not reoffend.

For more information, contact Majors James and Kathryn Purvis at 343-6491.

About the Empire Division

The Empire State Division of The Salvation Army covers 48 counties in upstate New York and one city in Pennsylvania (Sayre, Pa.).  Our annual Red Kettle Campaign in November and December helps our 40 community and worship centers, service areas in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and 167 volunteer driven service units raise funds that remain in each community to help those in need.

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About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through the broadest array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.