RadioRotary interviews Carmel Rotarian Marjorie Keith and recent Mahopac High School student Robert Solerno about the role of the 4-H Club of Putnam Country. Keith is the Executive Director of Putnam County’s branch of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, which sponsors 4-H clubs, while Solerno is not only an enthusiastic member of 4-H, but also a former member of the Mahopac High School Interact Club. Although we think of 4-H (which stands for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) primarily as rural, the club thrives in Putnam County, which is not rural, with programs or divisions devoted to pet care, media, crafts, the environment, and leadership. A major event is the annual Putnam Country 40H Fair in Kent, NY, that features many local booths devoted to 4-H-related activities and activities that interest children as well as a famous chicken dinner on Saturday night of the Fair.
Broadcasting from the Red Hook Rotary meeting, the RadioRotary cohosts interview Kimberly McGrath, Executive Editor of the Red Hook Area Chamber of Commerce. The Red Hook Area Chamber has more than 280 active members representing 170 businesses and is still growing. Primarily it acts to promote local businesses with its weekly newsletter and to help local business persons meet and get to know each other, the latter with breakfasts or mixers every month. The Chamber also has several annual events: the Summer Camp Fair to help parents and children find the summer camp that fits best; a golf tournament in cooperation with the Rhinebeck Chamber that is a fundraiser; the Community Arts Network (CAN) to promote every form of art in the Red Hook Area; and, in cooperation with other local organizations, the annual Chocolate Festival.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is a Federal program that operates on a country level, providing vocational training for low-income persons age 55 or older. In Dutchess County the SCSEP office is part of PathStone, located in Wappingers Falls. SCSEP counselors Cheryl George, Patsy Kimbrew, Sheila Rock, and Marlene Fredericks describe the program, which provides training in such skills as handling interviews and writing resumes. Retired seniors are placed in jobs that reflect their previous work life or that are based on training received in the program.
Melissa McCoy, Chief Advancement Officer for Abilities First describes this seven-county program that serves developmentally disabled children and adults in the Hudson Valley. Staring with pre-school, Abilities First supplies educational programs that replace the regular special-education classes in twenty different facilities (one facility, in Red Hook, is in the same building as the regular school). When children reach age 21, they are transferred from the educational system to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. From that point, Abilities First provides a sheltered workshop, job shadowing programs, and supportive or supervised housing. The focus is on helping individuals do as much for themselves as possible.