Photos & Story by Dave Warner

Last night, the Little Falls Community Outreach center hosted an open house and reception for the children that participated in their summer art program. The art show was the brainchild of Jessica Kelly and was designed as a way to engage children during the summer.

The six week program was infused with not just art, but culture. Each week, an artist was chosen from a different location and then the snacks went with that culture. There were Japanese cookies, and all sorts of other foods.

This year was the first one where the Outreach center has had this program. Each wall of art on display was from a different continent with a different theme.

According to Tamara Razzano, Executive Director “the response was overwhelmingly positive, so next year we plan on doing a STEM program and an art program, so we’re really looking forward to that.”

Twenty one children participated in this years six week art program and parents were really positive about the experience.

According to Razzano “There’s a lot of good happening at the Outreach center. Banana Splits is one of those programs with 92 children involved in it.”

Razzano came to Little Falls in 2016 and has been involved in growing the Little Falls Community Outreach center and adding many of the programs they now have. She serves full time as pastor of the church, but the work at the center is a full time job as well.

They’ve added seven new programs in two years, the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts now holds classes in the facility and New Hartford Hospice & Palliative Care just moved in this week because they needed office space.

They have the backpack food program, which will be starting in September, “and that’s a huge program,” according to Razzano. “We’ve gotten some generous donations and grants that we’ve applied for and we’re working with the food bank of Syracuse, so we went through all of the licensing to be partners with them.”

“There’s a lot of good things happening at Outreach because the mission of Outreach is to meet community need, so when the community brings a need, we try to address it,” stated Razzano.

A new skill building group for middle and high school students addresses the stress that they are under and the problems of drugs and alcohol. Razzano said “We want them to learn coping mechanisms and ways of identifying emotions and setting healthy boundaries before they have to deal with these things.”

The center has grief and cancer support groups, as well as many other programs. “We are really thankful for the community support that we have. If it wasn’t there, we wouldn’t be here,” stated Razzano. “I feel like we’re the best kept secret in Little Falls because so few people know about us,” she said.

To find out more, call 315-823-1409 or email lfcoexecutivedirector@gmail.com.