For years, Ossining schools have looked for ways to strengthen ties with the community, meet people’s needs, and offer resources and enrichment to children and families.
The Covid-19 pandemic intensified the need to distribute food, books and school supplies, and provide technological assistance and online programming. In response, the Ossining School District has combined all these programs and services under one umbrella – OPRIME.
“We’ve always been a district that tries our hardest to meet the needs of our families, and now OPRIME is the hub of where all that can happen,” said Megan Mastrogiacomo, the district’s community school leader.
Ossining was doing so many distributions and getting so many donations that it needed a place to put everything and invite families to visit. The district launched OPRIME in the fall and currently houses OPRIME at its central office.
Families can fill out forms on the OPRIME site about what their needs are, and they receive notification when items are ready to be picked up. They can request, for example, a bundle of clothing from Kids’ Closet or a selection of books geared toward a child’s age and interests. They can also sign up for Saturday Explore & Learn enrichment courses; request technology devices and training; take courses in the district’s Parent University; and learn about community resources and providers.
“OPRIME is for everyone,” said Mastrogiacomo, who works with Marcela Briones-Levin, parent coordinator for Ossining Schools.
Before the holiday break in December, OPRIME held a drive-through event at Ossining High School, giving out winter coats, blankets, holiday books, family games and treats.
The OPRIME program works because so many of the district’s community partners make generous donations, Mastrogiacomo said. They include Neighbors Link, Feeding Westchester, (914) Cares, Kids’ Kloset, Open Door Family Medical Centers, the Ossining Public Library, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and many more.