Planned Parenthood

Southern Finger Lakes

PPSFL 2009 Annual Report: View the report and check out the full profiles from our staff and supporters.

View the 2009 Annual Report here.

Now that you've seen the report, get to know us even better; read the full profiles from our featured staff and supporters in this web exclusive:

About Leia:
I was born and raised in Greece, in a bilingual family, and moved to the U.S. as a teenager.I studied Latin American History at Wesleyan University and then worked in Nicaragua for a solidarity organization that focused on labor rights.In my mid-twenties, I decided to pursue a degree in nursing.I then worked as a staff nurse at the local hospital while I went to graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner. Ive been at Planned Parenthood since 2002, first full time, and then part time after my daughter was born.
What brought you to PPSFL?
Even before starting graduate school, I was pretty certain that I would want to work for a community-based nonprofit, where my work would be more than just a job.As a nurse practitioner student, I did a rotation at the Northern Tioga Center for Family Health, which serves a predominantly low-income rural population, and then another rotation at the Broome County Health Department STD clinic.Those experiences confirmed that initial calling.When an opening became available at Planned Parenthood, I applied, and was absolutely thrilled to be offered the position.As it turned out, the only Spanish-speaking clinician on staff had just resigned to go work in Honduras, so it was a perfect match.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I like the range of patients we see.On any given day, my schedule may include a nervous but determined adolescent, a woman navigating menopause, a person who has traveled two hours to her appointment to terminate a pregnancy, a scared patient who just found a breast lump, a pregnant woman thrilled to find out that the spotting shes having is not a miscarriage.And I love being part of place that is so safe, where people can count on being treated with compassion and without judgment.So much comes out when we close the door and start talking.
I have a special place in my heart for the farm workers we see.They are mostly Guatemalans, a few Mexicans, many of them single moms who have left children behind with grandparents and may not see them again for years.Many have never had a Pap smear or a planned pregnancy in their life.I hear stories of heartbreak and perseverance.I think to myself what it must be like to have been raped and pregnant, desperate and ashamed, and to not know the language, have any money, or know the local norms and customs, and yet, to somehow manage to find our phone number and call.I love that we are there when that call comes through, that we can answer in their language and say Yes, come, we will see you; we can help.
What are the most difficult aspects of your work?

We are operating in a climate of great financial uncertainty, and though Ive been around long enough to see some hard times, the current economic crisis is making us do more and more with less, to a degree that I have not seen before.We are desperate for a new building in Ithaca, as we outgrew our current center years ago.But right now, that seems like such distant dream.

The other major difficulty is working with our uninsured clientele.Were experts at knowing how to scramble for resources, such as drug samples, NYS-funded mammograms, and referrals to free clinics. But I see so many patients who need more consistent care, for their high blood pressure, their first signs of diabetes, health problems that we may have initially identified but that are beyond our current scope.And they simply cant afford to go elsewhere, so their problems remain untreated.
What keeps you going?
What keeps me going is the great team I work with.Every day, I am surrounded by an amazing group of committed, kind, and extraordinarily capable clinicians, nurses, and medical associates.
Leia asked us to tell you:
The community may not be aware of the range of services we offer, and that we welcome patients with private health insurance.I have had so many people say to me, I never thought to come here until a friend suggested it.
About Lynn:
I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, went to Colorado College, and volunteered at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs where I lived for 13 years.
What brought you to PPSFL?
I moved to Ithaca in 1979 and I have been coming to PPSFL ever since moving here, for annual exams and other reproductive health needs.Sometimes it feels a bit odd to be sitting in the waiting room with all the teens and twenty-somethings, but on the other hand, it is important for them to see that reproductive health care follows throughout ones life, beyond the reproductive years.
Seeking volunteer opportunities with PPSFL was a logical step after coming for health care.I joined the Public Outreach Committee, went to Albany a few times for the Family Planning Advocates annual conferences, lobbied our local Assemblyman, and then became a personal solicitor.
What service or program at PPSFL has made a lasting impact in your life?
In 1993, PPTC was offering a series of discussions called Women at Midlife, led by Anne Terrell, one of the educators at that time.Our small group met for the scheduled 5 sessions, at the end of which, several of us thought there was more to talk about and agreed that we would keep on meeting at each other's homes, with no particular expected outcome.We continued to meet and have since all become fast friends, sharing our lives for the last 17 years.We call ourselves "Wammies""Women At Midlife.We have had 2 road trips in the last 2 years as a way for all of us to get together and have fun.It all began with Planned Parenthood.
Lynn asked us to tell you:
Planned Parenthood provides so much more than abortions.Unfortunately, this is the part on which many people focus, rather than looking at the holistic approach Planned Parenthood takes with patients and the community.The education program is superb, providing extremely valuable service to youth and families.I wish there had been those kinds of programs when I was in my teens.Getting the straight facts from qualified, sensitive sex educators goes a long way in protecting children from myriad problems that come from ignorance about sexuality and disease.I wish people could understand the connection between access to family planning and reducing the need for abortion.Planned Parenthood works very hard to make this connection real.
I have an undying admiration for all the women and men who created Planned Parenthood here in Ithaca and who have never ceased their support and concern to keep it going.What an amazing group of people!
About Tammy:
I am a lifelong resident of Chemung County and I currently live in Elmira with my 13-year-old son and our dog.I majored in Biology at Binghamton University and received a MSEd in Biology from Elmira College, and was a high school science teacher in the Elmira City School District for 7 years.I chose to take some time off after my son was born and worked part time as an Anatomy and Physiology lab instructor at Elmira College.I returned to the workforce full time by taking a job as a Prevention Educator with the Chemung County Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program (CAP) and have been hooked on public health education ever since.
I also currently work as a part-time adjunct instructor in Human Biology at Corning Community College.
What brought you to PPSFL?
I was working in violence prevention, after a 2 year stint in tobacco control, and was really missing working in reproductive health.An educator position came up and I jumped at the chance to get back to doing the public health work that I am passionate about.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love working with teens. They are amazingly, and sometimes brutally, honest.They are searching for someone real to talk to them, give them accurate and non-judgmental information, and advocate for them in the classroom, in their school, and in their community.
What are the most difficult aspects of your work?
One of the most difficult aspects is dealing with the fear of the general public " fear that giving youth information will give them a license to be promiscuous, fear of adolescent sexuality, and fear of sex in general.
What keeps you going?
What keeps me going in difficult times is the support of the Education team that we have here at PPSFL, and knowing that what we do is important and vital to the health of our community.
Tammy asked us to tell you:
Planned Parenthood is not just about birth control and STDs.We also provide educational programs on healthy relationships, how to break up, safe texting, puberty, parent-teen communication, gender, sexuality, and much more.We also facilitate the Teen Success Program that provides education and group support to teens that are already pregnant or parenting.
About Shayna:
I was 15 years old and a sophomore in high school when I found out I was 4 months pregnant.I was disappointed in myself because school was going really well and I had plenty of friends.My mom was pretty upset about the pregnancy too; she didnt want me to have my daughter at such a young age.I understand now why she was so upset - she was thinking of her baby having a baby, and she just wanted the best for me.
What brought you to Teen Success?
A teacher at my high school recommended that I join the Teen Success program.I love how welcoming the group is.Everyone is so nice, and they accept you for who you are.I also love that when you have a problem, you can get all of your feelings out and know that whatever you say stays between you and the group.
What about being a teen parent is most difficult?
The most difficult thing about being a teen parent is that not every adult thinks of you as another adult, and it can be very hard to get things for my child and me, like Medicaid and food stamps - even a place to live.
What is the best part about being a teen parent?
The best part about being a teen parent is that even though you dont know very much about being a parent in the beginning, there are people out there who have either gone through the same thing or are going through the same thing.If you dont have support from family, those people are there for you.
What are your goals for the future?
I have graduated from high school and am now attending Corning Community College to become a dental assistant.
About Lauren:
I moved to Corning in 2002, but I was born and raised in Houston, Texas.I am married with two sons, and in my spare time, I enjoy working in my yard, reading, and spending time with my family.
What brought you to PPSFL?
I started out as a volunteer at RCST.I found the experience to be very rewarding.After I had been volunteering for a year, the position of Steuben County Counselor / Advocate became available. I didnt have to think twice about applying.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I really enjoy helping people.Generally, my clients come to me in crisis.They are looking for someone to give them support, encouragement, and help in beginning the healing process.It is truly an honor to be that person.
What is the most difficult aspect of your work?
I think the most difficult aspects of my job are obvious " sexual assault IS difficult.At times, I feel frustration with our legal system, which often gives a perpetrator nothing more than a slap on the wrist while their victim is left with emotional, and often physical, scars that last a lifetime.
What keeps you going?
Being an advocate for sexual assault victims can be emotionally difficult.Whereas many people will vent about work to their spouse or friends, we at RCST, because of our strict confidentiality policy, cannot.Fortunately, I have wonderful colleagues that I can go to when I need to debrief after a particularly difficult case or to brain storm ways to better advocate for a victim.
Lauren asked us to tell you:
Some people think that RCST only provides services to primary victims.RCST also provides support to secondary victims (family, friends, and loved ones) as well as people in the community who are impacted by sexual violence.RCST realizes that sexual violence can affect anyone, so were here to help.
About Mary:
I am married with two grown children and I have been a special education teacher for over 30 years.I currently work at East High school in Corning as a Resource Room teacher, and co-teach in a freshman English class.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering at RCST?
I know that I can make a difference with the clients that I work with.
What is the most difficult aspect of your volunteer position?
It is never easy to go on a medical accompaniment.You never know exactly what the situation is until you arrive at the hospital.Sometimes having to travel alone to a hospital location you are not familiar with is also stressful.
What keeps you going?
Knowing that I can be of some help in a very difficult situation is the most satisfying part of volunteering with RCST.I know that what I do is valued.
Mary asked us to tell you:
RCST is currently very short of volunteers and could certainly use more help.The training that you receive does prepare you for the work, and you always have adequate back-up to answer any questions that might come up.
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PPSFL 2009 Annual Report: View the report and check out the full profiles from our staff and supporters.