Tioga Opportunities, located at 9 Sheldon Guile Blvd. in Owego, N.Y., hosted a Partner Celebration and luncheon in honor of all of their partners on May 5. The occasion also allowed for networking of partner agencies and to better understand how agencies can continue to help each other.
Tioga Opportunities (TOI) is a not-for-profit, community action agency, which helps low-income people become more self-sufficient by connecting people to local service providers. TOI partners with organizations to better meet the needs of residents in Tioga County which includes energy services, housing, and family health and aging services, among others, as well as community needs such as food pantries. TOI is dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other, and recognizes that strong partnerships build strong communities.
Guest speakers at the event provided opening and closing remarks, including Executive Director Maureen Abbott, and two representatives from partner agencies presented details of their success during a partner spotlight segment.
President of the Board of Directors, Randy Kerr, commented, “It’s nice to be in a room full of people who believe in helping each other,” adding, “Let’s think about what more we can do to partner with each other.”
Shawn Yetter, commissioner of Social Services of Tioga County shared, “We cannot succeed without collaboration and cooperation,” and explained that the strong bond of partnerships has only strengthened those relationships.
Special guest, Senator Fred Akshar, added, “SD52 is different than other senate districts, so having strong partnerships, and sharing resources and brain power, is incredibly important.”
One agency in the partner spotlight was the Anti-Hunger Task Force, a group that works to reduce hunger by increasing access and promoting participation at free summer meal sites. Meals are critical for children during the summer months when school is not in session.
Nancy Eckstrom shared a goal of the Anti-Hunger Task Force, “Our goal is to double our reach this year with twenty open meal sites.”
Since partnering with Tioga Opportunities, another partner in the spotlight, Inspire S-VE, has been able to improve its programs. From life-long learning projects to enhancing health and vitality to senior services, along with educational programs for students along with many more efforts, Inspire S-VE works to help those living in and around the Spencer-Van Etten community.
Doug Thornton, vice-president of Inspire S-VE, gave a nod to TOI and its partner agencies, “We finally connected since partnering with Tioga Opportunities.”
Closing remarks included a video message from Denise Harlow, Community Action Partnership CEO, and Bob Turley from Group Mission Trips. Andrew Hafer, director of Community Services for Tioga Opportunities, announced that youth campers, all high school or early college age young adults, would return to Tioga County this summer for a week of work camps, with focus on helping restore communities through home repair.
For more information about Tioga Opportunities, visit their website, tiogaopp.org.