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OCO’s Family Care Program provides much more than a home

OCO’s Family Care Program provides much more than a home

When Mary became a participant in the OCO Family Care Program she had two dreams: to become part of a caring family so that she can stay active in her community, and learn to play piano. The first of those two dreams came true when Diane Zeller opened her heart and home provided a comfortable living environment and the opportunity to be involved with and interact with others in the community.

Thanks to the Diane’s encouragement Mary has seen another dream come true.  “Mary told me she wanted to play piano but doubted she could learn,” said Zeller.  “However under the tutelage of Larry Rapshaw, Mary began taking lessons at our home. She not only realized her dream of playing the piano, she has performed recitals with other piano students. Mary, pictured here at the piano, practices every day and enjoys playing her favorite Christmas songs.”

Zeller is proud of Mary’s accomplishments and happy to have Mary with her. “The Family Care Program is wonderful. The support I receive from Family Care Specialist Penny Foster-Pratt is amazing.  She is supportive of Mary’s needs and helped Mary achieve many of her goals.” Zeller provides Mary with her own living space and three meals a day.  She also ensures that Mary receives her medications as needed and offers support and guidance with her daily schedule. 

“We appreciate our host home providers,” said Foster-Pratt. “We offer them the training and support on issues such as effective communication, special diet and medications, psychiatric disorders, CPR, first aid, 24- hour staff support, and semi-annual respite. Residents also enjoy a high level of case management and support.” This photo shows Diane and Mary relaxing outside their home.

“Penny is great,” added Zeller. “She helps with doctor appointments, transportation, and is understanding when it comes to managing schedules. She also assists with paperwork, ensures that guidelines are met, and offers emotional and financial support.”

To ensure a positive experience for both the resident and the home provider participants are screened and matched with a suitable home provider. Additionally, home providers are certified through the NYS Office of Mental Health. “From the location of the home to the unique personalities of those involved, we see to it that it is a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Foster-Pratt.    

A certified residential program for adults recovering from a mental illness, OCO’s Family Care program provides these individuals the opportunity to live and interact in their community. This

independence helps Mary lead an active lifestyle. She often takes the bus for shopping and other outings including the day program Seneca Hill. This photo shows Diane and Mary relaxing outside their home.

Home providers have found the Family Care Program to be a rewarding experience. Residents are good company and they feel good knowing they are helping their community and are appreciated by their residents.

Due to the program’s success OCO is accepting references for residents and host homes in the Oswego, Fulton, Mexico, Phoenix, Hannibal and Pulaski areas. 

Host home providers may either own or rent their homes and receive $822.48/month and $150 quarterly per resident. 

Interested in becoming a Family Care host home, or to refer someone as a resident? Contact Penny Foster-Pratt at 315-402-2661 or visit www.oco.org.

OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966. A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations. Did you know? It’s OCO!

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