Meeting Date: Friday, October 6, 2017

Present:  Deborah Worden, Assistant Director, Action Toward Independence

               Carl S. Berkowitz, Immediate Past President, RCLS Board of Trustees  

               Matt Pfisterer, Director, Middletown Thrall Library

               Karrie Williamson, Senior Librarian, Otisville Correctional Facility

               Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair

               Grace Riario, RCLS Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator

               Linda Aumick, Board President – Action Toward Independence

               Jennifer Memon, Program Coordinator, OC office for the Aging

               Margaret McDowell, Gardiner Senior Resource Committee

Absent:  Regina Cieslak, Prevention Coordinator, Catholic Charities, Newburgh

              Maureen Jagos, Director, Chester Public Library

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

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

              Josie Longstreet, Statewide Systems Advocate, Independent Living Inc.             

              Laura LaSusa, Employment Services Coordinator, OrangeWorks- (now retired)

Meeting location: Ramapo Catskill Library System headquarters in Middletown. 

Chair Dan Hulse called the meeting to order at 10:06 am.  Introductions of those present were made around the table. 

Grace Riario made a motion to accept the minutes of the May 12, 2017 meeting as submitted.  Linda Aumick seconded.  Motion passed.

Announcements & Reports from Council Members:  

Deborah Worden –  reported that Action Toward Independence (ATI) was awarded a new $90,000 grant from Wounded Warriors for a service dog training program to help connect veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with these service animals. 

     Action Toward Independence also operates a Drop-in Center in Middletown on the grounds of the former state psychiatric center.  30 – 40 persons stop by each day that it is open. 

     Once again, this coming winter, ATI will serve as an alternative HEAP application site as well as a daytime Warming Station.  The agency has also been instrumental in helping previously homeless people who are now in their own apartments.

      Karrie Williamson has been donating yarn and crochet hooks to ATI for their consumers to use while attending programs.

     Deborah Worden shared an anecdote about the 55+ Resource Guide, which is produced by RCLS.  Deborah was able to help a woman who was in a domestic abuse situation.  The woman learned about contacting Deborah from seeing the ATI listing in the 55+ Resource Guide.  The women were able to meet at the safe location of the Mamakating Library in Wurtsboro.  Deborah Worden is very grateful for the contacts generated through the COSAG and for the 55+ Resource Guide.

Margaret McDowell – reported that she is still with the Gardiner Senior Resource Group.  This group held a Resource Fair at Town Hall in Gardiner during the spring of 2017.  The event was very popular and well-attended. 

     In November 2017, the group will be offering a hands-only CPR training at the Gardiner Library for senior citizens.

     Margaret McDowell shared that her group is creating a Resource Guide for Seniors in cooperation with the Town of Gardiner.  This will be printed in November 2017 and then sent out to 750 individuals in the area.  

Linda Aumick – reported that Literacy Partners of Orange County (formerly Literacy Orange) is in the process of being corporately dissolved.  Linda Aumick shared the history of the program with the group and the events that led up to this decision to dissolve on December 31, 2017, after 35 years in operation.  Now, Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley, an agency that reaches into five counties, will take over the Centre Street office in Middletown.  Marisol Rodriguez is the Executive Director of Literacy Connections. 

     Discussion took place around the table about the frustrations that are created by government regulations with funding for literacy programs.  It is very discouraging to everyone involved.

Regina Cieslak – reported that her employer, Catholic Charities, has partnered with the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, CVS Pharmacy and the Newburgh City Police Department to create a dropbox at the police department for unused prescription drugs. 

      Regina Cieslak shared handouts with the group showing many of the programs Catholic Charities provides in the City of Newburgh.  Catholic Charities has created information cards for residents to have with telephone numbers for tiplines and mental health services.  Also information cards on prescription drugs and opioid abuse. 

     She also shared that Catholic Charities is partnering with Adelphi University for their Masters in Social Work program.  It is very successful.

     Regina Cieslak announced that her daughter is a nutrition educator who is working for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and is available to speak at any library that would like for her to hold a nutrition workshop.

Karrie Williamson – reported that the prisons have been going through many audits this year (financial, program, Federal).

     The John Jay College Program, Prison to College Pipeline, which gets inmates interested in college, is operating at the NY State Correctional Facility at Otisville.  There are 50 inmates in this program; they would like to increase participation to 200 inmates. 

     Karrie had nothing but praise for Drew Berkowitz, who is conducting lectures and workshops on graphic novels at the facility.

     She also reported that this summer’s reading program for the inmates was a success.  856 books were read and reviewed.  The winning inmate unit receives an ice cream party. 

     In community volunteer work, the inmates just finished stuffing 80,000 envelopes for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley’s fall solicitation mailing.

    Karrie Williamson reported that she will be attending the New York Library Association’s annual conference in Saratoga Springs in November.

Jennifer Memon – reported that yesterday was the Orange County Office for the Aging’s Senior Luncheon held at Kuhl’s Highland House in Middletown.  There were 234 people in attendance.

     The Office for the Aging is collaborating with Middletown’s Mulberry House Senior Center for workshop trainings in their Aging Mastery Program, to improve the quality of life for seniors.

     Jennifer Memon shared that a Senior Forum was held in August at SUNY Orange in Middletown.  It was very successful.  Regina Cieslak announced that she will be attending next year’s Senior Forum. 

     The Senior Tax-Aid Program is looking for volunteers.  Anyone that knows of someone who might be interested in serving as a tax preparer should contact the Orange County Office for the Aging. 

     Jennifer Memon announced that holiday baskets will be provided this year for needy seniors.  If anyone knows of an area senior citizen that would benefit from a holiday basket, please contact Sherry Zambrzycki or Jennifer Memon at the Orange County Office for the Aging. 

Matt Pfisterer – reported that English as a Second Language (ESL) families are using the Homework Help program that Middletown Thrall Library offers on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4 – 7 pm.  Approximately 20 – 30 people attend each session with three to five volunteers helping out.

     He also announced that the Middletown Warming Station (for 35 people) will open on or about November 15 this year.  Matt explained that many of these individuals leave the warming station in the morning, then go to St. Margaret’s Soup Kitchen (across the street from library) for the free breakfast, and lastly to Middletown Thrall Library for the heat and shelter.

     Matt Pfisterer reported that the number of opioid overdose interventions at the library has gone down in the past year.

Meeting adjourned at 12:12 pm.

Next COSAG meeting:  Grace Riario will send out a Doodle scheduling request in the spring to the council with multiple dates for members to select the day that is best for their schedule.