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Free Tax Preparation Offered by VITA
January 30, 2017

Have an IRS-certified volunteer prepare your taxes at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site. For information on eligibility, site locations, toll-free helpline and more, download the VITA flyer (PDF). United Way also offers online free tax preparation at www.unitedway.org/myfreetaxes (click on orange link on left "File for Free").



Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
September 27, 2016

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps low-income people pay the cost of heating their homes. If you are eligible, you may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year and could also be eligible for emergency HEAP benefits if you are in danger of running out of fuel or having your utility service shut off. Questions regarding the HEAP program should be directed to your local department of social services (PDF).



Farmers Market Season in Full Swing
July 1, 2016

Everyone eats

The growing season is here and our Farmers Markets are open!

  • Canton – at the village park, Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 to 2:00
  • Gouverneur – at the village park every Thursday from 9:00 to 2:00
  • Hammond – at the Hammond Museum every Wednesday from 3:00 to 6:00
  • Massena – at Danforth Place, Sundays 10:00 to 2:00 and Thursdays 10:00 to 5:00
  • Potsdam – at Ives Park every Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00

What might you find at a Farmers Market in July?
Beans, beets, berries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, honey, leeks, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard, tomatoes, and turnips, are all likely. In addition, the markets frequently have other food, such as maple syrup and baked goods, and also local wine and craft vendors.

Remember that debit cards and SNAP EBT cards are welcome at all the Farmers Markets in St. Lawrence County.



OASIS Classes & the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
June 13, 2016

OASIS offers summer classes in the arts, humanities, wellness, technology and more; view the summer catalog (PDF). OASIS also offers a Chronic Disease Self-Management Program designed to enhance a person’s ability to manage their health and increase their activities.



F.O.C.U.S. Shaping an Age-Friendly CNY
June 13, 2016

F.O.C.U.S. F.O.C.U.S. Greater Syracuse seeks to provide innovative and proactive planning to retain and engage aging boomers as part of our community.

Visit the F.O.C.U.S. website
Download the F.O.C.U.S. age-friendly CNY study (PDF)



Help with Home Heating Costs for Seniors
January 4, 2016

The Office for Aging will be holding community outreach sessions at a variety of locations throughout the city and county to help seniors age 60, or older, and income eligible, apply for HEAP benefits. Appointments are not needed, and if you are not able to attend any of the outreach sessions, you may call (315) 435-2362 and request that an application be mailed. Assistance will be offered at the locations, dates and times listed on the 2nd page of the 2016 HEAP flyer (PDF).



2015-2016 Peace of Mind Booklet – Essential Forms for Future Planning
December 10, 2015

The Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, Office for Aging is distributing their 2015-2016 Peace of Mind Booklet, Essential Forms for Future Planning. The booklet includes a blank Living Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy.

2015-2016 Peace of Mind Booklet (42-page PDF)

The booklet was designed to be printed as a two-sided document and they suggest using a small binder clip, instead of a staple, so you will be able to use the forms you need without having to remove staple.



Annual Turkey Giveaway, November 21
October 29, 2015

The River of Life Church will be giving away turkeys on a first come, first served basis on November 21. The giveaway starts at 9 am at 750 James Street and ends when supplies run out. No documentation is needed.



American Red Cross offers FREE Smoke Alarm Installation and Home Fire Safety Education
July 20, 2015
Printable flyer

The American Red Cross is offering FREE smoke alarm installation and home fire safety education.

  1. Schedule an appointment at 315-234-2299.
  2. Volunteers/Staff will come to homes with smoke alarms and batteries and will test current smoke alarms and install new ones if needed.
  3. During installation a fire escape plan, and a yearly fire drill plan, will be developed.
In 2014 the Campaign installed 31, 300 smoke alarms and prepared 19,500 households.

Servicing Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cortland and Cayuga Counties.



Medicare Seminar, "New to Medicare", July 15
Posted June 22, 2015
Printable flyer

Are you new to Medicare or soon to be on Medicare?
Are you confused about your options?

The Onondaga County Office for Aging is pleased to announce a FREE "New to Medicare" Seminar (open to the public). This program will provide an overview of Medicare for people becoming eligible for the insurance program.

Free seminar:
Wednesday July 15, 7-9 pm
Jewish Community Center
5655 Thompson Road, Dewitt
Topics Include:

  • Medicare Parts A & B
  • Medicare Advantage plans (Part C)
  • Medicare Prescription Drug plans (Part D)
  • Medigap Supplemental plans
  • EPIC (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program)
  • Subsidy Assistance
  • and more

Space is limited
Please register by Friday, July 10th by calling 435-2362

Presented by HIICAP, Health insurance Information Counseling Assistance Program
Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services, Office for Aging



Summer Camps and Programs


General Summer Camps & Programs

  • Cornell University Summer Sports Camps
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence
  • Bristol Hills Music Camp
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence
  • Signature Band & Choir Camp
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence
  • Camp Fire USA of CNY
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence
  • Pople Ridge Farm Summer Day Camp
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence
  • Ballet and Dance of Upstate New York Intensive Summer Program
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence

Youth Bureaus (for information on local Programs)

  • Jefferson County Youth Bureau
    In Jefferson
  • Lewis County Youth Bureau
    In Lewis
  • Onondaga County Youth Bureau
    In Onondaga
  • Oswego City-County Youth Bureau
    In Oswego
  • St. Lawrence Youth Bureau
    In St. Lawrence

Developmental Disabilities Summer Camps & Programs

  • DPAO Summer Recreation Program (children w/any disability)
    In Jefferson
  • ARC Oneida-Lewis Kids’ Camp (children w/ DD & their siblings)
    In Lewis
  • DPAO Summer Recreation Program (children w/any disability)
    In Jefferson
  • ARISE at the Farm (all ages and abilities)
    In Onondaga, Oswego
  • St. Lawrence ARC Dodge Pond (adults & children w/DD)
    In St. Lawrence

Summer Reading Programs

  • Onondaga County Public Library Summer Reading Program
    In : Onondaga
  • North Country Library System Summer Reading Program
    In Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, St. Lawrence

Wellness Wednesdays, Free Classes

  • June 10-July 29, Clinton Square, Syracuse
    Free and open to everyone
    6:30am-7am – Sunrise Yoga
    12:15-12:45pm – Zumba
    5:30-6pm – Hula Fit
  • Sponsored by Syracuse Parks & Recreation, Metro Fitness, and the American Heart Association



North country connects with 2-1-1
April 14, 2015
NNY Business

Since 2000, residents of Georgia and Connecticut have been using 2-1-1, the nationally authorized phone number that connects callers to nonprofit and government services offered in their community.

Since 2007, residents of Plattsburgh and communities in all but 10 New York State counties have enjoyed the same service.

And finally in February, 2-1-1 came to Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.

This has been a 15-year vision of the United Way of New York State, which has been working with state and local governments to support and finance the system. And wherever 2-1-1 exists, the local citizenry can’t imagine living without it.

Everyone is familiar with 9-1-1, the number you call in an emergency. 2-1-1 is for information and resources. Are you new in town and not sure where food pantries or youth sports are located? Wondering if there is free tax preparation service for senior citizens? Have some time on your hands and would like to be a volunteer? The answers to all those questions can be found through 2-1-1.

Right now, north country nonprofits are submitting information to the 211CNY call center in Syracuse, which handles all calls made from our three Northern New York counties and Oswego and Onondaga counties.

Some of the benefits of 2-1-1 are apparent and others will eventually be revealed.

State government leaders like 2-1-1 because it allows them to refer most "constituent services" calls to 2-1-1.

Staffers operating 9-1-1 like it because it cuts down on the number of non-emergency calls they receive for information on food pantries and other services.

Fort Drum likes 2-1-1 because there is no way the post can give soldiers and their families in Gouverneur, Lowville, Adams, etc., information about what is available in every community.

And civil defense likes it because 2-1-1 can quickly be turned into the clearing house for all information during a disaster. The service was the key conduit for information during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and the massive snowstorm that hit the Buffalo area last November.

Additional funding was added to the state budget last year to bring 2-1-1 to our three counties, but continued state funding will be an annual concern for Sens. Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo, and Assemblymembers Ken Blankenbush and Addie Russell.

Right now, our three counties do not pay anything for the system to be here, but that is understandable. Why would any county government financially support 2-1-1 when there is no call volume data to make a judgment?

But the numbers are now coming in. 211CNY averaged 20 calls a week from our three counties the first three weeks after system availability was announced Feb. 11. As those numbers continue to rise, the United Way believes state and county leaders will see the value in ensuring 2-1-1 is here to stay.

Meanwhile, we invite you to review the 2-1-1 website at 211cny.com and see for yourself what the potential is for a one-stop shop of information and referral services for the north country.



More people call for help, info with addition of 211 hotline
April 9, 2015
Syracuse.com

More people call for help, info with addition of 211 hotline

A shorter, more easy to remember number has yielded a higher amount of calls from people seeking help in Central New York, according to 211 CNY.

211 CNY officially launched statewide on February 11. The hotline replaced Onondaga County’s Helpline, but it performs the same function and serves more counties that include Oswego, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence.

The five counties were some of the last in New York state to be served by the hotline, which serves over 90 percent of the United States

The local hotline, which operates out of Onondaga County, helps callers find a range of social services that include shelter, mental health services and food pantries in their area.

In July 2000, the Federal Communications Commission designated the 211 dialing code for community information and referral services. The number was meant to be easily remembered and widely recognized.

Cheryl Giarusso, director of Contact Community Services, has noticed an increase in the number of calls received since 211 CNY launched from previous years in which it operated as Helpline.

"In 2013, we were at 800 calls in March. [In] 2014, we were at 1,200. This last month, we’re at 1,550," she said.

Ann Hettinger has been a Helpline and now 211 CNY employee for three years. She said that the amount of calls can vary depending on shifts and that the subject can vary as well.

"There’s so many different requests they have. They’re basically looking for information about various kinds of human services," she said. "They need information about housing, local housing or food pantries."

Hettinger is one of the many 211 employees and volunteers who undergo 45 hours of active listening training, Giarusso said. They also have an additional eight to 10 hours of database instruction and suicide prevention training.

Giarusso said the intensive training has prepared 211 employees to deal with every type of call.

"[Callers] can expect to have a friendly voice on the other end of the line who is well-versed in searching for information and referral and who will actively listen to the caller's concerns," she said.

Those who don’t want to speak with someone for services can find the same resources on 211 CNY’s website.

211 CNY is funded through multiple partnerships that include the United Ways of Onondaga and Oswego, Onondaga County Department of Social Services and New York State 211.



Contact Community Services answers the 211CNY phone line
211CNY is answered by:
CONTACT COMMUNITY SERVICES, INC.
6311 Court Street Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057
www.contactsyracuse.org
Phone: (315) 251-1400
Fax: (315) 251-2218
211cny@contactsyracuse.org
United Way

United Way of Central New York
United Way of Greater Oswego County
United Way of Northern New York, Inc.


Help us keep our 211 database current by emailing suggested updates to 211cny@contactsyracuse.org
Visit 211CNY DISABILITY, Developmental Disabilities website. Inclusion policy.
Add 211 buttons to your website.
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