Meeting Date: Thursday, November 5, 2015

Present:  Linda Aumick, Board President – Action Toward Independence

               Carl S. Berkowitz, President, RCLS Board of Trustees  

               Margaret McDowell, Gardiner Senior Resource Committee

               Matt Pfisterer, Director, Middletown Thrall Library

               Joann Hargabus, Director of Services – Action Toward Independence, (ATI)                          

               Mimi Vilord, President & CEO, Rockland County United Way

               Grace Riario, RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator

               Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair     

Absent:  Ashley Knox, President & CEO, Go Beyond Greatness, Inc.

               Terri Thal, NYS Perinatal Association & Not-for Profit Consultant

               Karrie Torres, Senior Librarian, Otisville Correctional Facility

               Josie Longstreet, Statewide Systems Advocate, Independent Living Inc.             

               Laura LaSusa, Employment Services Coordinator, OrangeWorks

Meeting location: Maddy’s Diner – Highland Ave & North St, Middletown, NY.

Chair Dan Hulse called the meeting to order at 10:17 am.  Introductions were made around the table. 

Margaret McDowell made a motion to accept the minutes of the May 27, 2015 meeting as submitted.  Mimi Vilord seconded.  Motion passed.

Announcements:  Margaret McDowell explained that her Gardiner Senior Resource Committee deals with the needs of and providing information for senior citizens in Ulster County.  There is no charge for their services.  The committee has ten volunteer members who are all retired schoolteachers, healthcare workers and educators.  They have been focusing on workshops about living wills, healthcare, financial planning and other programs of interest to seniors.  She said it is very rewarding to work with this group and that their number is growing.  All their meetings are held at the Gardiner Library.  Average attendance is 30 – 40 people per program held.  The majority of the programs are held in the afternoon.  Many have been about the Rail Trail as it runs right behind the library. The next program will be a Financial Forum.  Previous workshops held featured representatives from the Attorney General’s office. 

Mimi Vilord of United Way of Rockland County (UWRC) reported that their grant award cycle started on July 1, 2015.  For the first time ever, she has been re-invigorating their Volunteer Organizations Assisting with Disaster (VOAD).  This project has been very labor-intensive and UWRC is going to be focusing on this during the summer of 2015.

Mimi Vilord also explained that the United Way of Rockland County has started three high school extra-curricular clubs.  They collected used prom dresses, sports equipment and conducted a fall festival fundraiser.  National Philanthropy Day is Thursday and one of the high school students will be receiving an award at the big ceremony. 

Joanne Hargabus shared with the group that Action Toward Independence (ATI) has received for the first time, a grant to assist people with heating assistance (HEAP) this winter. 

ATI also has conducted a Parenting program that was funded by the Middletown Kiwanis Club.  This was an extremely successful program and the agency is looking for another civic group to sponsor this program in the future.

ATI also has temporary loan programs in Orange and Sullivan Counties.  These have been very beneficial to the consumers that take advantage of them.  Another new program ATI is conducting is a training program for service dogs for veterans and also persons with autism.  There is not enough funding for this program and ATI is looking for additional grants to help it continue. 

Mimi Vilord shared that Rockland County Meals on Wheels had to create a Pet Pantry to receive dog food because it was discovered that many seniors were giving their meals to their pets rather than for themselves.  They are not allowed to buy pet food with Food Stamps.    

Matt Pfisterer reported that he had attended a meeting recently, with government officials in attendance, concerning the Warming Station in Middletown.  There is a Winter Warming Station for the homeless in Middletown, located in the basement of St. Paul’s Methodist Church.  During the winter, it is open from 9 pm to 6 am.  They had a very good response for volunteers.  There is now discussion taking place about creating Warming Stations for Port Jervis and Monroe. 

Matt Pfisterer explained that many of the homeless that he sees in Middletown Thrall Library need telephone service in order to contact community services that they need.  Hygiene issues are an ongoing problem at the library.  It is hoped that the model that Middletown established can be used by other communities.  Social workers are sometimes coming into the library to meet with their clients, since some of the homeless are reluctant to use an office.  They tend to be bureaucratic-phobic.  The combination of homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues make this population very difficult to deal with.

Linda Aumick shared with the group that Literacy Orange has moved twice since the last COSAG meeting.  The present location is 11 Center Street in Middletown.  The Jay & Carol Anthony Foundation is the new landlord. 

Linda Aumick also reported that this past weekend, a Women’s Retreat Conference was held at the Mineral Springs Spa in New Jersey.  It was called S.O.A. R.

Carl Berkowitz shared that RCLS has a program in Orange County for unemployment and career guidance.  Job counselor Gregg Knowles of Warwick, has been very effective and this program has been a great success. 549 people in the last two years have been helped.  Grace Riario reported that there have also been job workshops in Ulster and Rockland Counties. Matt Pfisterer added that Gregg Knowles is very successful and popular.  He doesn’t have too many cancellations.  The majority of people that have taken advantage of these workshops are 45-54 years old.

Grace Riario distributed a report of Outcome Summaries of the programs that wre held from the 2015 Outreach Grants.  The recipients and awardees were the West Nyack Free Library and the New City Library in Rockland County; and the Pine Bush Library in Orange County.  Grace Riario passed around copies of the program folders of the winning libraries.

Mimi Vilord then reported on the three program applications received for the 2015-2016 Outreach Grant applications.  The first was a program using point & shoot cameras.  This was submitted by Haverstraw Kings’ Daughters Public Library and it was entitled, “Literacy through Photography.”  Next was Albert Wisner Public Library in Warwick, who proposed a program that would create a play, created and produced by senior citizens.  Linda Richman, an area psychologist would serve as the director.  New City Library submitted a grant application for Sensory Storytime for autistic children.  There have been 145 autistic children in the library’s service area that have been identified.  The consensus of the COSAG Committee members was that this year’s applicants did not truly follow the guidelines stated in the RFP.

The breakdown of the awards for 2015-2016 grant cycle are: $1,000 for New City and $500 for Haverstraw Kings’ Daughters Public Library.  Grace Riario stated that the remaining $1,500 will be returned to the Outreach Grant pool account.

Meeting adjourned at 11:48 am.

Next meeting date:  Monday, April 25, 2016 at RCLS in Middletown.

Minutes Author: Matt Pfisterer
Committee: COSAG