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Positive change continues at Johnson Park!

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Positive Change & Accomplishments Celebration was a Great Success!!

Friday, July 26th, 2013

OASAS Program

18th Year Week of Celebration JPC Headquarters Basketball Playground, 26 Johnson Park-Cornhill was held on Thursday, July 25, 2013

UTICA, July 26, 2013 --- Dignitaries, partners and community friends gathered under the tents on Johnson Park Center's basketball playground to celebrate 18 years of progress in the Cornhill Community and to highlight the new services and partnerships on the horizon for Johnson Park Center (JPC) on Thursday July 25th.

"I tell you, it's so exciting to see what we've accomplished here so far," said JPC CEO/Founder Rev. Dr. Maria A. Scates, D.D. "It's even more exciting to see what's coming in the future and how many committed partners and supporters are going to help make it happen."

The event, the Mohawk Valley Housing and Homeless Coalition (MVHHC) Meeting and Luncheon, is part of JPC's 18 Year Week of Celebration. It also featured the Dedication of 19 Johnson Park Residential Facility receiving the New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Certification. JPC has been certified to operate the OASAS Johnson Park Apartments (JPA) Supportive Housing Living Services Program for mothers with substance abuse and mental health diagnosis along other co-occurring and have their children to reside with them. "It's the next step," JPC Public Relations Director Marques Phillips said. "It adds clinical on-site services that we can provide to families right at 19 Johnson Park OASAS Facility. This idea of addressing substance abuse & mental health issues in the home, with the children present, removes a lot of barriers to treatment and allows us to take our effectiveness and our reach to the next level."

OASAS Certificate
View larger OASAS certificate

This entire week, JPC has been mobilizing as many partners, community members and volunteers as can be reached to help meet the needs of the community, spread the message of positive change and, most of all, to celebrate the progress that has occurred over the last 18 years. On Monday, JPC had its annual Food Giveaway and on Wednesday it gave away more food along with home improvement materials for the community. JPC expects thousands of people to participate in Week of Celebration events.

Some of the Special Guests includes Mr. William McConnell, US Department of Housing & Urban Department (HUD) NYS Community Planning Development Field Director; Ms. Millie Figueroa-Zabawsky Assistant Director NYS Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services Bureau of Housing Services and Ms. Sharon Frisbie, NYS Office of Mental Health Central Field Office. Some of Dignitaries included State Senator Joseph Griffo, representatives from the offices of State Rep. Anthony Brindisi, U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as well as NYS Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, Oneida County (OC) Department of Social Services Commissioner Lucille Soldato and Mrs. Taralyn Costello, Director of Substance Abuse & Dual Recovery Services representing OC Commissioner Mental Health Linda Nelson, Ms. Laura Campion, Esq City of Utica HOME Program Director & representing Mayor Robert M. Palmieri, the with philanthropic agencies such as Ms. Robin Robinson, Director of Community Investment, United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica, Ms. Cassaundra Baber, Marketing & Communications Office of Herkimer & Oneida Counties and MVHHC members throughout the Mohawk Valley.

As always, the stars of the show were the children. JPC's Youth Voice Initiative opened and closed the luncheon with thanking the sponsors of JPC's Kicking In New Dreams (KIND) Kickball Tournament as well as reminding the community what the purpose of the Youth Voice Initiative is.

"The purpose of the Youth Voice is to speak up, be a leader and to learn to be a positive role model," Tatyana Boyd, 11, of Utica, a JPC Youth Voice member, said.

About Johnson Park Center

Johnson Park Center (JPC) is located in the Johnson Park-Cornhill community of Utica. In 1995, JPC CEO/Founder Rev. Dr. Maria A. Scates, D.D., a formerly homeless veteran, came to Utica and went to the worst area in the inner-city: Cornhill. It was known for drugs, crime, violence, gangs, murder and full of trash, garbage and debris.

Through vision, dedication, commitment and hard work and with our community development strategies anchored in affordable low-income safe and supportive housing, we've seen the revitalization of the Johnson Park-Cornhill Community. Today Johnson Park is a beautiful, clean and safe and place where the homeless, the poor and the needy can come get help.

Through supportive housing and our various programs we teach our program participants the ABC's: to be A-accountable for your actions, B-set boundaries in your life; C-be committed to positive change and we recently added D-make a decision to do it. It's about changing people lives, attitudes and the community. Though supportive housing, people like Rev. Dr. Scates, who were once considered a community liability, are now considered and able to serve as community assets.

To date, JPC has receive over $10 million dollars for our capital projects & operations funds which has created a total of 31 safe & supportive housing low-income permanent housing for homeless mothers, children and single females. We also provide emergency housing services for traditional and non-traditional families and women. Our strategies for community development includes recreation/education/ positive socialization for children and their families, a food pantry, a community garden and a nutritious meal feeding program as well as mentoring/advocacy and life coaching.

This Story was written Mr. Marques Phillips, JPC Public Relations Coordinator
If you would like to have more information please contact:
Mr. Phillips at (315) 235-5766 or e-mail at

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