Bright Smiles from Bright Lights!

The holiday season is off to an early start on the Elmcrest campus with a dazzling light display. Cottage 7 shines with hundreds of lights outlining the roof and landscaping around the residence. And this is a gift that has delighted the children and everyone within sight. Jennifer Klestinez, the owner of SHINE! – is […]

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Thanks for the win on Giving Tuesday

We did it as a team. Together, in just one day, we surpassed our $6,000 Giving Tuesday goal. Thanks to you, our 60 residential children will learn court skills and life skills through a 10-week basketball program this winter. Whether you made a financial gift or you shared our Giving Tuesday messages, you were an […]

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Gratitude Project 2021

Because fall is a time for giving thanks, we asked our children to write down what makes them grateful. Their responses are humbling. They highlight what matters most: family, friends, community. We're sharing their handwritten messages here and on our social media pages, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all November long to spread the joy of gratitude. To jumpstart […]

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Spreading More Gratitude

All during the month of November, Elmcrest highlighted expressions of gratitude from our boys and girls. Behind the scenes, the staff at Elmcrest was engaged in their own expressions of gratitude. Everyone was busy gathering food items for the annual Food Drive for Elmcrest families. Kelly Robinson, Elmcrest’s Director of Disability Services, with help from […]

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Different Doors

Halloween weekend brought two different celebrations. The children in Cottage 9 held a “Gala” on Friday. All dressed up as Hollywood stars, they went through the Stage Door to the Oscars. Girls in ballroom dresses, boys in dress slacks and ties. They had Hollywood stars with their names on them and were presented with Oscar […]

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More than Meets the Eye

The teenagers at work here are learning more than landscaping. They are part of Elmcrest’s EPIC program (Education/Exploration, Preparation, Involvement, Community). EPIC teaches the children how to operate in the world of employment. They learn how to apply for jobs, act professionally in a work environment, and develop problem-solving skills. Employability skills exceed the actual […]

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The Best of Fall

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The Real Winners

On a recent Saturday in October, the Syracuse University’s football team made a valiant showing against Wake Forest. The 40-37 final score was not in favor of the Orange. However three boys from Elmcrest walked away from the Dome with big smiles on their faces. Currently in residence at the boy’s Elmcrest cottage, none had […]

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Berkshire Bank gift helps more teens prepare for employment

With a $7,500 gift to Elmcrest Children’s Center, Berkshire Bank is strengthening children by helping them learn critical employment skills. Elmcrest's EPIC (Education, Preparation, Involvement, Community) program helps children facing major life challenges develop the skills they need to find and maintain meaningful employment. EPIC provides employment services to all children age 14 and older […]

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A is for Advocate

Her day begins with little voices waking up in Cottage 7 on the Elmcrest campus. Alexis Jackson arrives at 7:00 AM to help these seven-to-ten-year-old boys and girls get ready for the day. Brushing teeth and combing hair need only reminders, as these children are engaged in the Boys Town merit program. They know they […]

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Back to School

The boys and girls in Elmcrest's community-based programs are ready to greet the new school year with backpacks full of necessary supplies. Book bags, notebooks, folders, post-it notes, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, tissues, snacks, and sanitizing wipes are packed and ready for school. These are children in Elmcrest’s Home and Community Based Services […]

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IT’S EPIC

On the fast track to employment success, two Elmcrest youth earned more than wages from their summer job. Their experience brought them a SAFESERV Food Handling Certificate, a very valuable certification that lasts for three years. This will be an impressive assist to finding future job opportunities in the food service industry. Congratulations to all […]

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Dog Days of Summer

Summer school at Elmcrest held a special session outdoors when two four-legged police deputies came for a visit. Jarda and Halk, two dogs from the Syracuse Police K-9 unit, were led by Officers Brainerd and Nye through amazing demonstrations on the Elmcrest campus. The children witnessed how well the dogs listened and obeyed different commands. […]

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Two Together

“Two are better than one,” is an ancient verse that rings true at Elmcrest. The “little” boys and girls are linked with “older” boys and girls in a Peer Mentoring Program. Similar to the “Big Brother, Big Sister” model, two residents are paired to foster relationship building and teamwork. Regina Deckman, Director of Elmcrest’s Model […]

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Catching Memories

On a hot Wednesday summer afternoon, four boys from Elmcrest’s Cottage 8 boarded Brewster Sears’ Windjammer, joined by their supervisors Pam and Daniel. They were headed for a fishing expedition on Skaneateles Lake. Settled in with lifejackets, they were welcomed by Captain Sears, and his son Colton, first mate and also a captain. Brew explained […]

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Elmcrest receives CARF Accreditation

Elmcrest has received a three-year accreditation from the International Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This is official recognition that Elmcrest is guided by internationally recognized service standards and best practices. This achievement is the result of an 18-month in-depth on-site review that opened all Elmcrest’s services and business practices to outside scrutiny. Ultimately […]

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Punt Return

Last winter, COVID kept the boys in Cottage 11 in their own “bubble” on the Elmcrest campus. All the cottages were under quarantine and interaction between the residents was limited due to these restrictions. These major precautions kept the staff and students safe during the pandemic. Noting that the children at Elmcrest were under such […]

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Tournament brings smiles to golfers, kids

The 30th annual Kimber's Invitational Golf Tournament raised more than $64,000 in support of the children served by Elmcrest Children’s Center. More than 160 golfers enjoyed friendly competition with good food and ideal weather June 10 at Rogues Roost in Bridgeport. (Photo gallery.) The tournament's lead sponsors were: Jammers/Strada Mia/United Auto Supply, People’s United Bank, […]

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Puppies Project

The sounds of tiny yips and children’s laughter could be heard from Elmcrest’s employment building last April and May. Several boys and girls volunteered to help a mother rescue dog raise five new puppies. The animals came from Helping Hounds Dog Rescue through arrangements made by Elmcrest’s Director of Residential Education and Employment, Shereen Webb. […]

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High Marks for Gratitude

The thanks stretched out for seven days, when the students at Elmcrest celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week earlier in May. The boys and girls got A’s for creativity, with handmade gifts for all 16 Syracuse City teachers who staff our campus school. Cottage #1 used Scrabble tiles to make nameplates. Cottage #7 painted corks to add […]

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Onondaga Community College awards honorary degree to Elmcrest Executive Director

Joseph J. Geglia, Executive Director of Elmcrest Children’s Center, received an honorary degree from Onondaga Community College (OCC) on Saturday, May 15th.  Joe has held the position of Executive Director since 2010.   “One of our primary initiatives at Elmcrest is the education of the children in our care. We have our own K-12 school and […]

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Ray Kneer: A Life in Motion

Ray Kneer came to Elmcrest in 1943 as an infant. He left in 1961 as an adult. Today, at 79, he can look back on a lifetime of achievements, but none is more important than this: He’s found hope. Hope is embodied in the maxim Ray lives by: “If you can move it an inch, […]

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Pond at Elmcrest

The Science of Spring

The pond behind the school at Elmcrest's main campus is a pleasant surprise on a nature walk. More than just a bit of nature, this little pond is a treasure trove of science lessons. The children in the campus school often come here in class to explore the ecosystem. Elmcrest’s science teacher organized a spring […]

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With One Clear Voice…

The staff at Elmcrest recently completed the first phase of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) process led by Gwen, Inc. Gwen Webber McLeod’s leadership development team conducted 17 virtual informational sessions that were made available to all Elmcrest employees. The senior staff followed up by identifying strategic priorities and presenting these to the DEI […]

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Long-Term Loyalty

Jim Breuer joined the Elmcrest board in 1986 and continues to play a significant role in strategic planning for Elmcrest. Currently, he is part of the leadership team on our community campaign. Whenever expansions were needed to accommodate new programs for the children, Jim’s expertise proved invaluable. As president of Hueber- Breuer Construction, Jim’s experience […]

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Mischief Maker No More

Last month’s writing contest called for imagining the deeds of a mischievous leprechaun who wreaked havoc at Elmcrest. Stories were judged by 18 staff persons and six board members. The winner actually encountered the leprechaun who regretted her earlier misdeeds, apologized, and became the good leprechaun, “Lady Green.” In fact, she was so welcome that […]

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Elmcrest, Spirit of Hope Challenge

Students and staff at Elmcrest are engaged in making origami paper cranes. According to Japanese tradition, folding 1000 cranes may make one special wish come true. Cranes are said to live 1000 years, and a group of 1000 is known as a Senbazuru. They often are strung in rows along the ceiling. These colorful paper […]

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Goodbye Winter…

Students at Elmcrest entered an art contest during March and this melting snowman says it all. With warmer weather finally appearing, the boys and girls are looking forward to more outside activity. School remains in session with COVID restrictions, but recess might be everyone’s favorite class. Snow is melting on the basketball court and the […]

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Mischief Maker

The children at Elmcrest are engaged in a writing contest hosted by the campus Literacy Center.  Apparently a mischievous leprechaun paid a visit to Elmcrest and caused all kinds of silly trouble. The children have been challenged to write a story that tells of the mischievous night the leprechaun had. What did he do? Where […]

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The “Ideas” of March

Character building is immersed in the care plan of each child who comes to Elmcrest. Every month, a few new character traits are encouraged in every aspect of their day-to-day living, even as part of the school curriculum. This month, the emphasis is on these four strengths: Enthusiasm, Social Intelligence, Love of Learning, and Humor. […]

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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Elmcrest

The Board and Staff at Elmcrest are engaged in a process to ensure that all stakeholders are heard, valued, and equally represented in every aspect of the Agency.   Elmcrest has engaged the services of Gwen Inc., leadership development consultants, to help guide this process. Gwen Webber-McLeod and associates work with Elmcrest teams facilitating the discussions […]

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Celebrating Black History

No wax figures emerged on the Elmcrest campus this past month, but a “living museum” was brought to life by 30 children in residence and four in a community based program. To celebrate Black History Month, the students in the campus school were challenged to choose and research information on a black person in history, […]

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From the Heart

February is Heart Month, and the children at Elmcrest dedicated their talents to that theme. They created these colorful stained-glass pieces of art that brightened many a window in the cottages on campus. To add to their Valentine enjoyment, they each received a goodie bag filled with candy, Pokémon trading cards, pencils, and a Valentine […]

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Ready…Set…Go!

More snow was welcome for winter break fun at Elmcrest. This perfect sledding weather sent these boys and girls to their favorite hill behind the school. The children in temporary residences at Elmcrest attend this K through 12 grade school on campus. Daily routines are designed to help them achieve educational goals, cultivate personal values, […]

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Honors at Elmcrest

Students at Elmcrest’s elementary, middle school, and high school were honored this past week for their scholastic achievements. In a virtual ceremony, 18 boys and girls were recognized for attaining honor roll and 14 were acknowledged for merit roll designations. In addition to being credited for their academic excellence, these children represent the values taught […]

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Snow Show

When the snow piled up, the boys and girls at Elmcrest found it perfect packing for a snowman contest. Or maybe a snow woman? They took up the challenge and created some clever wintry characters. Cold weather didn’t freeze the creative inspiration of these children. Four finalists emerged from the snowy ground and the winners […]

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Casey's Place...it takes a village

Last March, Casey’s Place had to limit the number of children who came daily or weekly to this welcome place of respite. These are families whose children have severe developmental disabilities and complex medical issues.  “In the beginning there was so much we didn’t know…even about wearing masks. This was a learning process for us […]

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Building Future Leaders

Everyone at Elmcrest is excited to support our first Youth Council. Representatives from each cottage have been chosen to be youth leaders. The Youth Council will meet with the Director of Model Fidelity once a month to support events happening throughout campus, volunteer, and learn specific leadership skills. This is an exciting opportunity for students […]

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Elmcrest children thank Elmcrest Elves

Dozens of people donated hundreds of gifts so that the children who live and learn at Elmcrest Children's Center could have a happy holiday season. Gifts from Elmcrest Elves filled several rooms and overflowed into the halls of our administration building before we delivered them to the children we serve. The gifts put smiles on […]

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Elmcrest hires Director of Philanthropy

Elmcrest welcomes Chris Iven as its new director of philanthropy. He has served as executive director of the East Area Family YMCA and director of fund development for the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County. “Chris comes to Elmcrest with the experience and skills we need to grow our resources,” said Joseph Geglia, executive director. […]

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Ready for the future: Youth thanks Elmcrest, staff

The following was written by D.S., 18, a resident of our Euclid Avenue boarding home in Syracuse. D.S. has overcome many life challenges while at Elmcrest. He is especially grateful to staff members Brandon McInerney, Kyle Pooler, Jeff Bonicky and Mike Begay. D.S. is graduating early so he can begin the next chapter of his […]

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Always caring for children: Angela Pratt

“Angela Pratt is amazing!” says Diane Nappa, director of Casey’s Place, where Angela works as training coordinator. “She is versatile, resilient, wonderful with the children, and thoughtful of the staff.”  Angela began her career as a teacher’s aide but saw Elmcrest as her path to a future of doing what she loves. Now in her […]

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Tigers, dancing and college plans: One youth's handwritten story

The youth residents at Elmcrest face challenges not of their own making. With help from our staff and family of supporters, they are overcoming their challenges, building a path to a brighter future. This is the handwritten story of one 14-year-old girl, along with her self portrait.

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Dedicated to the Cause: Gary Bobbett

Gary Bobbett doesn’t need to search for a reason for his life-long commitment to Elmcrest. It started about 30 years ago, when he was invited to take a tour of Elmcrest’s main campus. “I was amazed at how the staff could maintain such a calm routine with all these children,” Gary said. “They were happy […]

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Elmcrest looks ahead to 2021 - a message from our executive director

As 2020 comes to an end, I am grateful. In spite of the all the difficulties we’ve faced this year, Elmcrest has continued to deliver on our cause every single day. That would not have been possible without our family of supporters, especially our Board, our staff and our donors. Your dedication, sacrifice and generosity […]

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Where I belong: working at Elmcrest

“I have had a lot of jobs -- did everything I can name -- but I have never been happier than where I am now.” De’Ondray Tape speaks with pride of his work at Elmcrest Children’s Center. As interim program supervisor at Cottage 3, he leads a staff team providing round-the-clock care to nine boys, […]

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Making spirits bright at Elmcrest

Many of the youth residents at Elmcrest come from homes where life was a challenge every day, but especially during the darkest days each year. That's one reason why Elmcrest staff do all they can to spread holiday cheer on campus. Most years, that includes a large tree-lighting ceremony, door-to-door caroling, and a book fair, […]

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Elmcrest Elves deliver for youth in need

We did it! Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of Central New Yorkers, the children and families Elmcrest serves had gifts under their trees this year. Dozens of individuals and businesses became "Elmcrest Elves." They provided hundreds of gifts for residential children at Elmcrest and children served by our Early Education program. In addition, volunteers […]

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The gift of reading

Holiday Book Fair returns Elmcrest’s Holiday Book Fair is usually a festive occasion: Youth residents sip hot cocoa while browsing shelves of books. They get to keep the two books that interest them most. “They like the holiday decorations and music, and they like just looking through the books until they find the ones they […]

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One youth's hand-written story

At Elmcrest, we help youth overcome challenges that no child should have to face. Along the way, they cry and they laugh. They stumble and get back up. They create, learn, and grow. The following writings, penned by a 15-year-old boy in our care, show the pain and hope that comes with building a path […]

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Elmcrest Gratitude Month

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” – Anonymous. All of the difficulties we’ve faced this year have made us cherish the most important things – our health, our home, our family, our community. But not everybody has even these necessities. Because fall is a time for giving thanks, we asked the children served by […]

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Feel the joy of giving: Become an Elmcrest Elf!

Holiday gifts for children in need - This holiday season, you can make spirits bright by becoming an Elmcrest Elf. You'll be providing gifts for children who are overcoming major obstacles in life. They've made their lists and checked them twice. Now YOU get to feel the joy of making their wishes come true. Please […]

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We're voting at Elmcrest

Elmcrest Children's Center has been supporting the foundations of a strong community in Central New York since 1845. Today and for the last few years years, that support has included hosting one of the the area's many voting places. Carole Fisher, poll site manager, said she has been very impressed with the voting location - Elmcrest's […]

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Candy chutes and ghoul juice at Elmcrest

For a few evening hours Oct. 30, masked and costumed creatures visited the cottages of Elmcrest, playing games, braving the haunted outdoor pavilion and trying to catch candy falling from the sky. All of Elmcrest’s youth residents got a chance to dress up and participate in activities at each cottage they visited. Staff members got […]

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Pumpkin Patch Hayride returns to Elmcrest

Autumn traditions – pumpkins, apple cider, donuts and horse-drawn hayrides – returned to Elmcrest this fall. “Just watching kids run to find the pumpkin that’s perfect for them is the best,” said Janene Bartell, who has organized Elmcrest’s annual Pumpkin Patch Hayride for more than 20 years. Each child gets one pumpkin. (Video: Elmcrest children run […]

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Berkshire Bank grant provides Summer Learning Kits

Elmcrest Early Education Center was able to create Summer Learning Kits through the generosity of Berkshire Bank.  The grant coupled with a book give away reached 130 families in Onondaga County who receive services through Elmcrest's Early Education Center, ESM (East Syracuse Minoa) Park Hill and Northside Early Education Center.  Hundreds of children will benefit […]

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News Channel 9 story on how Elmcrest supports children amidst Covid-19

At Elmcrest, children work to build a path to a brighter future. In the face of the global pandemic, Elmcrest staff are adapting to safeguard the children in their care. See full interview:

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Elmcrest Proposes Supportive Housing for Young Mothers

Elmcrest Children’s Center is dedicated to building on the promise of children and families through early intervention. That's why Elmcrest is partnering with Christopher Community, Inc. to address the issues of poverty and housing vulnerability among young mothers in Syracuse. The two nonprofits have worked together to propose a development for mothers aged 18-25 who have […]

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Building on the Promise of...

This winter, Elmcrest gave a glimpse in to the lives of the children and families that we work with throughout the year. As we approach 2019 and look forward to our 175th anniversary in 2020, we are taking the time to reflect on our past with gratitude and embrace our future with enthusiasm. We know […]

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Berkshire Bank Supports Elmcrest Programming

Elmcrest has been awarded a grant in the amount of $5,500 from Berkshire Bank. This grant will support two important initiatives: The BB  R.I.G.H.T (Respect, Integrity, Guts, Having Fun & Teamwork) Girls Leadership Program and Meatball Madness. The BB R.I.G.H.T Girls Leadership Program is a five-week leadership course aimed at young ladies in Elmcrest’s residential […]

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Fostering Leadership

Elmcrest relies on the generosity of our community businesses for the success of our programs and services. Each year, several companies join our Fostering Leadership Program by contributing $10,000 annually to partner with Elmcrest in caring for the more than 2500 children and families we serve each year. We recognize these companies at all of […]

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Elmcrest is tackling the issue of youth unemployment (Your letters)

As seen on www.syracuse.com To the Editor: According to the federal government's most recent report, youth unemployment remains high — 11.5 percent of young people aged 16-24 could not find work. And the problem can grow even more severe when youth face additional obstacles. For example, young people with disabilities are often put at a […]

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Elmcrest Expands it's Family Support Services Program Upon Request of Cortland County

The Family Support Center (FSC) in Syracuse is a transitional residence for children entering and moving through the foster care system in Onondaga County. It is a collaborative effort between Onondaga County Department of Social Services and Elmcrest. Children are expected to stay at FSC for 14 days. FSC serves up to 14 males and […]

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