Coalitions in Action—Montgomery County Cares Coalition’s Strong Members Making a Strong Coalition

“The Montgomery County Cares Coalition serves residents in rural upstate New York,” said Coalition Coordinator Gwendolyn Ossenkop. “Our community is 31% Hispanic, which is one of the highest Hispanic populations in New York state. We have beautiful cultural diversity in our neighborhoods and schools. We are located at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and boast beautiful mountainous landscapes. Montgomery County is a hidden gem in Upstate NY. Our coalition was originally formed in 2011 and continues to be a strong force of change.” 

“As many other coalitions as facing, COVID 19 has brought many challenges to serving our community,” said Ossenkop. “Our coalition has relied on many out-of-the-box thinking initiatives to continue the excellent work that we do. Our coalition has switched to zoom meetings and having a strong social media presence.” 

The Montgomery County Cares Coalition received their DFC grant in January. Although we have not engaged in activities, the Project Coordinator, and the Chair of the coalition have attended various trainings and completed week one of CADCA’s National Coalition Academy! We updated our bylaws with new information to include the DFC grant. The Coordinator is beginning to partner with other agencies and schools to begin to provide education and activities (socially distanced) to our students. Networking, Networking, Networking and training have been the focus since January! 

What I am most proud of as a Project Coordinator are the great people that make up our coalition. I have worked with many of them in different capacitates over the years, and they are the most thoughtful, caring and progress driven people that I have ever met. I am proud to be a part of this coalition and I look forward to all the great things that we will accomplish together. 

Remember to work together. We are all here for the same reason. Everyone in the coalition bring ideas and prospective that may be different than your own. Everyone has a space at the table. Strong members make a strong coalition. 

As a new Project Coordinator, I am learning so much about coalition work and the DFC grant itself! I am so happy to be attending CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute this July, and I plan to bring all the information back to my coalition!