Safe Harbor Conference Targets Human Trafficking, Exploitation

OSWEGO – A Safe Harbor Conference, focusing on the issues of human trafficking and exploitation, is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 9 at Lake Ontario Conference Center, 26 E. First St., it was announced by Brian Chetney, executive director, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau.

In addition to the Youth Bureau and the Office of Children and Family Services, who secured the event the funding grant, this conference is being sponsored by: Oswego County Opportunities, Catholic Charities of Oswego County, the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, and the Department of Social Services.

“This conference is intended for school personnel, law enforcement, child protective/child welfare, mental health professionals, medical providers, clergy, hotel management and other professionals working with children,” said Mary Margaret Pekow, executive director at Catholic Charities. ”We really want to spread awareness about the issue and information about local programs. There will be breakfast and lunch, along with several workshop sessions. Our keynote speaker is Alison Boak and our workshop session presenters are Jamie Cork, Cathy Brochu, the Child Advocacy Center, and Valeria Douglas.”

Click here to register or contact , 315-349-3451.

Boak, is the co-founder and executive director of the International Organization for Adolescents. Boak founded the IOFA in 1999, a US based independent non-governmental organization formed to eliminate human trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable adolescents worldwide by designing innovative programs and solutions to protect youth.

Boak is also a founding member of the Freedom Network USA for Trafficked and Enslaved Persons (co-chair 2004-2006), the New York City Task Force against Sexual Exploitation of Youth (co-chair 2000-2003), the New York City Human Trafficking Task Force (co-chair 2002-2004), and the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force (Advisor 2010-present).

Boak has authored several innovative training tools and curricula and has educated thousands of advocates, police, prosecutors, judges, border guards, and government leaders, from more than 20 countries about the issue of human trafficking.

On Nov. 8, there will be a screening of “Playground The Child Sex Trade in America,” free of charge.

It will be shown at the Lake Ontario Conference Center from 6-8 p.m.

The documentary film investigates the underground epidemic of child sexual exploitation and trafficking in North America.

Literacy Coalition of Oswego County Nov. 7 Event Celebrates ‘Every Hero Has A Story’

Literacy Coalition of Oswego County

HANNIBAL – The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County will host a free literacy event, “Every Hero Has A Story,” noon to 3 p.m., Nov. 7 at Hannibal Middle School, 846 Cayuga St., it was announced by Carri Waloven and Betty Maute, event co-chairs.

“This is our fifth year and we are thrilled about the theme that this year’s event is tied around: heroes,” Waloven said. “This theme gives kids the opportunity to dress as their favorite hero, encouraging them to get excited and engage in the stories. There will also be face painting, two reading therapy dogs, balloon animals, craft activities, an art exhibit, a science demonstration, free books, and free prizes. It’s an event full of fun activities; all while stimulating kids and families too become more avid readers.”

This year’s READ Event theme, Every Hero Has A Story, is the same reading theme adopted by local libraries for their summer reading programs, said Maute.

Readers of all ages are invited to listen to stories about different types of heroes and create their own ideas of what makes a hero.

Among the authors scheduled to appear are: Tracy Kinne, “Little Town on the Shale;” Margaret Wentworth, “Voice from the Sea: And Other Reflections on Wildlife & Wilderness;” and Connie Evans.

Sawyer and Charlotte are the famous reading therapy dogs that will be attending alongside Margaret Wentworth and Connie Eva at the local authors table, Maute said.

Families visit provider booths and learn information about the organization.

Some of the providers participating are: Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County, Oswego County Opportunities – Head Start; ARISE, Fulton Rotary Club, CiTi Adult Education, Oswego AmeriCorps, Fulton Adult Literacy Program, OCO – Back Street Books – Job Assistance Readiness Training Program, Hannibal Home and School, and the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department.

“The goal of the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County is to empower our community to build literacy in a collaborative, inclusive and comprehensive manner,” said Jon Spaulding, coalition chairperson. “The coalition is dedicated to supporting and expanding literacy services so that people can work, the economy can grow, families can thrive, and our community can prosper.”

The LCOC is a growing coalition of more than 36 local organizations.

These organizations work together to address the literacy needs of people of all ages.

Members of the LCOC Leadership Council include: NBT Bank, Assemblyman William Barclay 124th District, Cayuga Community College, Steve Chirello Advertising, city of Fulton, city of Oswego; Constellation Energy, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, Eastern Shore Associates, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, Fulton City School District, Fulton Family YMCA, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County, Operation Oswego County, Central Southern Tier Regional Adult Education Network.

Other Leadership Council supporters include: NYS Education Department, NYS Sen. Patty Ritchie, 48th District, Oswego City School District, Oswego County Administrator Phil Church, CiTi, Oswego County Federal Credit Union, Oswego County Legislature, Oswego County Opportunities, Oswego County Workforce Development Board, Oswego County Family Court Judge Kimberly Seager, Oswego Health, Oswego Public Library, Oswego YMCA, Citibank.

An estimated 40 to 44 million adults in the United States demonstrate skills in the lowest level of prose, document, and quantitative proficiencies.

Many are unable to total an entry on a deposit slip, locate the time and place on a meeting form, or identify a piece of specific information in a brief news article (ProLiteracy Worldwide).

In Oswego County, close to 17,000 adults cannot read above a fifth grade reading level. With the help of volunteers, donors and advocates, the Literacy Coalition of Oswego County helps adults develop their basic literary skills.

For more information about The Literacy Coalition of Oswego County, visit and click on the literacy coalition link, or find them on Facebook.

Steve Van Zandt, Aaron Ward Featured At Oct. 16 Fulton Lions Club Comedy Night

Steve Van Zandt

The Fulton Lions Club will be hosting “The Mane Event” comedy night with nationally known comedians Steve Van Zandt (above) and Aaron Ward, 8:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at the Fulton Polish Home, said Paul Foster, Fulton Lions president. This show is for adults 18 years and older. “Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the show starts at 8:00 p.m.

Van Zandt is an award-winning voice actor and comedian. According to his website,, he regularly performs at the nation’s top comedy clubs, resorts, theaters, casinos and on cruise ships the world over. He has appeared on national televisions shows, including “America’s Funniest People” on ABC, “Show Me the Funny” on Fox, and “Comedy Club 54” on the Comedy Channel. He has opened shows for Howie Mandel, Lewis Black, Michael Bolton, Weird Al Yankovik, and others. He is also well known for his large repertoire of celebrity voice impressions.

David Ward

Comedian Aaron David Ward will also be featured at the Fulton Lions Club’s “The Mane Event” comedy night. According to his website,, comedian Aaron David Ward, from TV’s “The Glen Slingerland Situation,” has entertained audiences from New Hampshire to California by getting them to laugh and think at his self-deprecating humor, socio-political, and culturally critical comedy. He opens his heart, mind, and soul to fans during each trip deep inside his mind for a funny, honest, and twisted look at his concerns, disappointments, doubts, fears, and worries. You get to see a tug of war between the emotional and intellectual brains when Aaron is on stage. Aaron has performed throughout the Northeast and Midwest, appeared in the Boston Comedy Festival, Plymouth Rock Comedy Festival, Cape May Comedy Festival, The World Series of Comedy, and in several movies including “What I See In The Dark” and “Aftermath” as well as a pilot for MTV andVH1 entitled “The List.” See Aaron on “The Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour” that is performing across the country.

For more information about The Not Too Far From Home Comedy Tour visit

The Fulton Lions Club, also know for their Lions Loot Sweepstakes and Charby’s Duck Derby, provides financial assistance for those in need of eyeglasses, eye exams and hearing aids to residents in the Greater Fulton area. For further information on Fulton Lions visit their Facebook page under “Fulton NY Lions Club.”