Meeting Date: Thursday, October 24, 2013

Present:  Linda Aumick, Board President, Action Toward Independence & Literacy Partners of        Orange County, NY

               Allison Johannessen, RSVP Coordinator, Orange County Office for the Aging

               Teri Thal, Not-for-Profit Consultant

               Carl S. Berkowitz, RCLS Board of Trustees & Action Toward Independence

               Robert Hubsher, Executive Director, RCLS

               Mimi Vilord, President & CEO, Rockland County United Way

               Dan Hulse, RCLS Development Officer & COSAG Chair

               Grace Riario, RCLS Public Services Consultant & Outreach Coordinator

Absent:  Tracy Allen, Adult Services Librarian – Finkelstein Memorial Library

              Janet Dymond, Senior Librarian – Eastern Correctional Facility

              Jordan Jenkus, Self-Advocacy Association of NYS

              Joann Hargabus, Director of Services, Action Toward Independence

              Josie Longstreet, Statewide Systems Advocate, Independent Living Inc.

              Regina Cieslak, Orange/Ulster BOCES Team Lead/Youth Program

              Margaret McDowell, Hudson Valley Chapter NYS Health Care Providers

              Laura LaSusa, Employment Services Coordinator, OrangeWorks

              Bill Langham – Director, Orangeburg Library – Chair of RCLS Directors’ Association

              System Services Committee

              Florence Butler, Board Member, Rockland County Hard of Hearing Association

Chair Dan Hulse called the meeting to order at 1:47 pm.  Mimi Vilord made a motion to accept the minutes of the October 25, 2012 meeting as submitted.  Linda Aumick seconded.  Motion passed.

Issues & Concerns: Introductions were made around the table.  Mimi Vilord explained that United Way of Rockland County has become a community impact-based agency.  A countywide Needs Assessment survey was conducted there recently.  From this survey, grants will be distributed to eligible and worthy agencies that coordinate and carry out a project that needs to be performed through to completion.

     Mimi Vilord also shared that there are approximately 2,200 non-profit agencies in Rockland County. She explained that United Way of Rockland County now holds two Days of Caring per year with over 300 volunteers showing up.  These Days of Caring have become very popular with participants and are successful overall.

    Most of United Way of Rockland County’s fundraising is done through employee payroll-deduction contributions.

    Carl S. Berkowitz shared with the group that Eagle Scout candidates’ projects in the Boy Scouts are done to benefit the community as a whole; not just for the Eagle Scout’s local troop or community.  He encouraged COSAG members to contact the Hudson Valley Boy Scout Council when they have a special project at their agency that needs completion.  Carl S. Berkowitz feels that an Eagle Scout candidate and other scouts could assist in helping to meets the needs of the project. 

    Linda Aumick announced that she is the President of the Board of Action Toward Independence, the Independent Living Center serving persons with disabilities in Orange and Sullivan Counties. She gave an overview of the agency and what peer services it provides to the community. 

     Linda Aumick then shared about her involvement with Literacy Orange. She said that funding is getting more difficult to acquire, while there is still a great need for adult literacy training.  This is a huge problem nationwide. Janet Dymond agreed, saying that there is a great need for literacy training in prisons right now.  Linda Aumick would like to see more groups directed to the local literacy agency, rather than having the government create a new agency. 

     Janet Dymond shared that she works with incarcerated persons with many issues that include mental health, illiteracy and substance abuse addictions.  Janet Dymond would like to see more done for those inmates who are near the end of serving their sentences and about to be released from prison.  These individuals need to be better prepared for re-entry into society.  One example of this need is special training on computers, since they have not had any contact with technology while incarcerated.  These former inmates need assistance with job searching and applying for Social Services benefits.

    Grace Riario explained that RCLS will be conducting a series of workshops on job seeking and resume writing. 

     She also shared that there is not as much Outreach funding available as she would like.  For the next few years, there will only be $9,000 available to be divided up for Outreach Services among libraries in four counties.  One of the programs Grace Riario is developing is training for the front-line staff of member libraries on how to deal effectively with individuals living with mental health issues. 

     Grace Riario announced to the group that Westchester County Literacy Director will be coming to RCLS tomorrow to speak with the area correctional facilities librarians at a corrections workshop being hosted here.

     Robert Hubsher announced to the COSAG council that the Adult Literacy Grant has been approved by the state. This is good news for RCLS.  This will be a three year grant.

     He then explained about the JobsNow database that is available through many member libraries’ websites.  From 11 am – 2 pm, there will be someone available to conduct a live chat with a job counselor.  RCLS has decided to provide the JobsNow database for one more year. 

     Robert Hubsher shared with the groups that RCLS would really like to engage this group, (COSAG), in the best way possible to maximize the best use of funds that are available. 

     Grace Riario explained that she is working with area libraries to assist them in working with and helping the Spanish-speaking population.  She is helping member libraries translate their library cards and card applications into Spanish.  Grace Riario is going to purchase e-books in Spanish through the Outreach funding that RCLS receives.  Only a small amount of money will be spent for this. To make this program successful, the member libraries need to publicize this program to the Spanish-speaking populations in their communities. 

     Grace Riario is in the process of writing a proposal to present to the RCLS Board of Trustees, asking them if she could create a grant for member libraries that would benefit one of the COSAG target groups. Member libraries would submit essays that would serve as applications.  The COSAG council would select the winning application submission.  She shared that the first target group she would like to see benefit from this grant would be the hearing-impaired. 

Announcements from the Council:  Linda Aumick announced that there is going to be a SOAR 2013 Women’s Conference held on September 20-21 at the Minerals Resorts & Spa, in Vernon, New Jersey to benefit Literacy Orange. She encouraged all to attend. 

Meeting adjourned at 3:25 pm.

Minutes Author: Grace Riario
Committee: COSAG