Catholic Charities hosts picnic for family services program

Participants in Catholic Charities’ Family Education, Family Support Services and Relatives Raising Relatives programs were recently treated to a group picnic at Scriba Town Park.

Twenty-nine families gathered for a day of fun and networking.

“It was a great day,” said Jonathan Gilmore, program supervisor for the Relatives Raising Relatives program.

“The children enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and playing outside while family members and caregivers had the chance to get to know each other,” he said. “It was a excellent way for them to share their experiences, realize that they are not alone and develop a support system for themselves.”

Catholic Charities’ family services programs offer information, resources and education that allow parents, caregivers and family members to develop the skills necessary to build strong family relationships and effectively meet challenges.

Gail Cooper, supervisor for the Family Education and Partnership program, said that while these programs focus on reducing the stress on families by supporting and empowering parents, caregivers and families, they offer much more than information and access to resources.

“The personal touch that our family services programs provide is what makes them so effective,” Cooper said.

Cooper said the Family Education Partnership’s combination of family activity nights and group meetings offer parents, caregivers and siblings the opportunity to meet other families who share the same concerns and discuss their experiences.

“It’s an important part of the program as it may be the only chance that families with children or adolescents with a mental health or emotionally disturbed diagnosis have to network with each other,” said Cooper.

Working primarily in the home with whole family units, Catholic Charities’ Family Support Services strives to improve families living environment by strengthening family relationships and assisting in the development of an outside support system.

Education groups that utilize a strength-based approach to provide parents and caregivers with the tools they need to function as a healthy family unit compliment the program.

Catholic Charities’ Relatives Raising Relatives program serves caregivers who have taken on the responsibility of raising their relative’s children.

Through educational groups and recreational outings, the program provides participating families with the support they need to strengthen their family bond and provides them with the opportunity to interact with and share their experiences with other families.

“It’s an effective program that has seen continued growth and provided positive results for the participating families,” said Jonathan Gilmore, supervisor for the Relatives Raising Relatives program.

“These programs are an invaluable resource to dozens of families. The support and knowledge that they provide is helping to develop stronger and healthier families throughout Oswego County,” added Cooper.

For information the programs, contact Catholic Charities at 598-3980 or visit

Catholic Charities serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation. Primary funding sources for local programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.

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