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Matt Barnes
Long Branch Elementary School Counselor Matt Barnes displays perseverance and courage in climbing to the top of the rope! (Photo courtesy of Matthew Biss)
Today’s Lesson:
Perseverance and Courage
Matthew Biss, our Youth Development Specialist at Long Branch Elementary School in the Liverpool Central School District, shared this story about how the school community at Long Branch is utilizing "The Positivity Project" and how one staff member didn’t just talk about it, he did it! We’ll let Matthew take it from here: At Long Branch Elementary School, the staff and students believe it’s as important to build character as it is to build the students’ skills in math, reading and writing. Many schools and school districts promote teaching the "whole child;" ... read more
Elijah Heron
Chestnut Hill Elementary School student Elijah Heron earned 10 paw prints each day in the month of January! (Photo by Katie Filippone).
Paw Prints and Progress
at Chestnut Hill Elementary
Every child is unique, and Contact Community Services’ Youth Development Specialists Katie Filippone and Arsenio Wallace are finding unique ways to connect with their students in the Youth Development Services’ program at Chestnut Hill Elementary School in the Liverpool Central School District. Katie is helping third-grade student Elijah Heron improve academically, socially and behaviorally by incorporating his love of dogs ... read more

Assembly Member Pamela Hunter, D-Syracuse, visits a Primary Project playroom at Donlin Drive Elementary School with Contact’s Colleen O’Dell (right).
Local Elected Officials
Cast Vote for Primary Project
The best way to stop a big problem later is to prevent a smaller one now. That’s the idea behind Primary Project, a research-based, early intervention program that Contact Community Services administers in 27 elementary schools in the Syracuse City, East Syracuse Minoa Central, and Liverpool Central school districts. The program for children in grades K-3 identifies and addresses emerging problems such as shyness, anxiety, moodiness, defiance, and problems forming peer relationships... ... read more

"I Had an Awesome Time
in the Contact Program"
Jamie Marano is a ninth-grade English teacher at North Syracuse Junior High School in the North Syracuse Central School District. Mr. Marano recently asked his students to write short thank you notes to people who have positively influenced their lives. ... read more
Chestnut Hill Elementary second-grader Madianna Pinet is using a sticker chart to reach her morning goals. (Photo by Katie Filippone)
Celebrating Progress at
Chestnut Hill Elementary!
Katie Filippone and Arsenio Wallace, Contact’s Youth Development Specialists at Chestnut Hill Elementary in the Liverpool Central School District, have been working regularly with students and teachers to improve student behavior. By implementing a variety of strategies, Katie and Arsenio have helped students reduce their off-task and negative behaviors and increase their motivation and positive behaviors. ... read more
Team of Mitch Duell, Seth Coyne, Joe Starkey, Mike Conroy won the 1st Annual Contact Open golf tournament
1st Annual CONTACT Open
Raises Over $1,000!
The 1st Annual CONTACT Open golf tournament to benefit Contact Community Services’ crisis and suicide prevention programs raised over $1,000 Sept. 24 as more than 30 players competed for fun and prizes at Rogues’ Roost in Bridgeport. Brian Darling, one of Contact’s great friends and supporters, organized the tournament to support Contact’s mission to prevent suicide in Central New York. "Why would you not give back to an organization that keeps giving to our community?" said Brian ... read more
Onondaga County Coalition Unveils Suicide Prevention Strategies
Suicide Prevention Coalition
Unveils Strategies for County
The Onondaga County Suicide Prevention Coalition unveiled its strategies to help prevent suicide in Onondaga County at a news conference Sept. 11 at the VA Medical Center in Syracuse....According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide in the United States has surged to the highest level in 30 years. In Onondaga County, there were a reported 180 deaths by suicide from 2013-15, an increase of 64 percent from 2001-03. ... read more
Kelly Johst Receives First Gail Sterling Volunteer Award
Kelly Johst (left) and Gail Sterling. (Photo courtesy of Rocco Carbone)
Kelly Johst Receives First
Gail Sterling Volunteer Award
Contact Community Services Hotline volunteers Kelly Johst and Gail Sterling share many of the same traits: They’re a positive presence in the call center, compassionate with their callers, and dedicated to their roles as peer trainers....Gail and Carl Sterling, Kelly Johst, John J. Kindon III, Amanda Spear, Kendra Vavra read more...
Donovan Spears
Student Recognized For "Doing
Something Better Than I Normally Do"
Donovan Spears is a fifth-grade student at Roxboro Road Middle School whose absences and tardy arrivals have decreased more than 33 percent because of his work with Contact Youth Development Specialist Katie Filippone. Read Katie’s newsletter for more about how Donovan is making Katie and Contact proud! read more
Don’t Ignore This "Invitation"
Jim McKeever is a professional writer who became intrigued by the tragic story of "Marie," a 57-year-old local woman who died by suicide. Who was Marie, Jim wondered, and what drove her to end her own life? Jim’s research took him to Contact Community Services, where he spoke with Crisis Intervention Services Director Cheryl Giarrusso. Cheryl said people like Marie who are considering suicide often send "invitations" to loved ones and friends that they’re going through a difficult time. ... read more
Matthew Brewster
Roxboro Road Middle School student Matthew Brewster.
A Testament To
Hard Work & Advocacy
Matthew Brewster is a seventh-grade student at Roxboro Road Middle School in the North Syracuse Central School District. Matthew has been in Contact’s Youth Development Services program for three years, and during that time he has made great strides socially and academically. ... read more
13 reasons
Media Turns To Contact
For "13 Reasons Why" Stories
The popular Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has sparked conversation nationally about teenage suicide, and here in Central New York the media has turned to Contact Community Services to determine the impact of the show on local teens and for information on how to prevent teen suicide. ... read more
Liverpool New Programs
Contact to Provide Programs
To Four Liverpool Schools
Liverpool Central School District has received a federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant that will enable Contact Community Services, to provide school–year and summer–learning programs to the district, Superintendent Dr. Mark F. Potter announced April 5. About 750 first– through sixth–grade students ... read more
Primary Project
These 40 Minutes Per Week
Make Big Difference for Child
This is my third year working with Primary Project at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School in the Syracuse City School District, and I have met a lot of great students and seen a lot of positive improvements in their adjustments to school through the program. But this past fall was particularly meaningful because I met a little girl who made exceptional progress in our time working together. ... read more

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