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So glad you clicked and want to learn more about the fabulous programs and happenings at Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes! Enjoy! And as always, let us know if you'd like more information, resources, or have a great idea for our next e-news!

MAY 2015 e-news

Public Affairs Takes ACTION!



On May 1st, our Sexual Assault Resource Center staff, Sarah Blagg and Lauren West along with PPSFL Action Board members Leslie Danks Burke and Denise King joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for a roundtable conversation focused on addressing campus sexual assault.  Senator Gillibrand lead the discussion with a summary of her comprehensive, bipartisan legislation called the Campus Accountability and Safety Act (CASA) reintroduced in the Senate last month. 

 Allegheny County

On April 15th, Joe Sammons and Leslie Danks Burke, board member of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes and Chair, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes Action, delivered a presentation about our affiliate and its health care services and action efforts on the Alfred University campus.  This event was co-hosted by Leadership Circle member Sherry Walton and former PPSFL board member, Barb Hetzel.

Washington D.C.

In March, President and CEO, Joe Sammons met with our representatives, including Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, and Congressmen Reed and Hanna, in Washington, DC to advocate for pro-women’s health legislation, including funding for reproduction without any extension of the anti-choice “Hyde Amendment”, as well as support for the Human Trafficking bill without poisonous anti-choice provisions.

To learn more about our political advocacy work follow us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/PPSFLAction

“Connie Cook:  A Documentary”

Planned Parenthood was well-represented at two screenings of "Connie Cook: A Documentary" in March and April.  The film, by Sue Perlgut and Nils Hoover, is an interview-driven documentary with a diverse cast of Cook’s family, friends, politicians and colleagues and includes archival footage of her life’s work.  Connie Cook was a pioneer in politics, and many changes that have occurred in American life have come about because of her drive, determination, and humanitarianism.  

Leslie Danks Burke, board member of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes and Chair, Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes Action, participated in the talk back after both screenings.  Several audience members made points about the need for continued activism on reproductive health care with some ruminating on how they had not really realized the history of abortion rights in New York State, and certainly did not realize that the rights established in 1970 are again in jeopardy.  To learn more about the Connie Cook documentary visit:  www.conniecookfilm.com  

Join PPSFL at the Ithaca Festival Parade


We will be participating once again in the Ithaca Festival Parade on Thursday, May 28th at 6:30pm.  The theme this year is Better Together and we want YOU to join US to proudly march down the street and show your support and love for Planned Parenthood.   If you are interested in joining us in marching, please contact Senior Director of Development, Katie Foley at [email protected] or by calling 273-1526, ext.  2304.  


Spring Support!  Consider making a gift today…

Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes is fortunate to have the tremendous support of donors across our region and beyond who allow us to carry out our important work.  We’d like to take a moment to thank you for your support and ask that you consider supporting us once again with a gift this spring!  To make a donation visit us and choose PP of the Southern Finger Lakes! 

Rising to Every Occasion….

You may have read about a recent incident at our Ithaca Health Center in the news. Last month we had an intruder in our center that locked himself in one of our waiting room restrooms and tried to evade staff and police by climbing into the ceiling. Our staff responded professionally and immediately and called the police who were on site within minutes.  Thankfully the intruder was removed with no one hurt and no impact on patient care at all – we were not seeing patients at the time of the incident.  It was important for us to know if the intruder was specifically targeting Planned Parenthood, and no, he was not! We are so grateful for the work and care shown to us and our staff by local law enforcement, the fire department, and our local FBI agent.

You never know what a day might bring at Planned Parenthood.  Although issues such as these are few and far between, it is a reminder that security and the safety of our staff and patients are of paramount importance at Planned Parenthood.  This kind of incident provided us with an important learning opportunity for us.  We continue to work with local law enforcement, businesses, and community neighbors to address issues as they relate to our  neighborhood and continue to review all security protocols and procedures to make sure we apply the highest level of security at all of our health centers. 

Our staff showed once again that we know how to rise to any occasion.  Our work is not easy and we are faced with obstacles on a daily basis.  We are thankful that we have the support of our community and donors who support us in ways that allow us to do our best work in a safe and professional environment.  

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month!

May, National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM), is an opportunity for communities to work together to prevent teen pregnancy. Each year, over 750,000 U.S. teens get pregnant.  And despite recent national gains, Chemung County still has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in New York State. As of 2013, the most recent data available, Chemung County ranked 2nd. That is a rate higher than that of Queens!

ProjectCAP is here to help. ProjectCAP is a New York State Department of Health funded program dedicated to reducing adolescent pregnancy in our community. During NTPPM each May, our educators work with youth in local schools to provide evidence-based, comprehensive, age-appropriate, medically-accurate education sexual activity, and increase protective behaviors.


In addition, we encourage all families to discuss sex and limits with their teens. A 2012 nationwide survey by Planned Parenthood, Family Circle Magazine, and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at New York University found that most parents and teens do talk about sex, however teens are less comfortable than their parents having these conversations, and parents need to talk more about how teens can prevent pregnancy and STD’s. Only small percentages of teens said they plan to discuss these and other related topics with their parents in the future. This resistance is likely a result of teens’ discomfort discussing these topics. Parent-teen communication matters and ProjectCAP wants to make it easier!  The “Talk About It” app for the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad is brought to you by project CAP, a teen pregnancy prevention program of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes.  To learn more about project CAP, please contact Tammy Miller, Director of Education at [email protected]

“A Night Out” series


Our Education department is so excited to be launching new series, “A Night Out”, aimed at creating spaces for LGBT adults and allies in the Ithaca area to build a broader community.  The first event took place on May 13th at our Ithaca Health and Education Center at 620 West Seneca Street in the Education Lounge, but our hope is to have these events at different community spaces in the local area.  For the first gathering we showed the campy classic “But I’m a Cheerleader” movie, featuring Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne and the ever fabulous RuPaul!  To learn more about “A Night Out” series please contact Educator Devon Ritz at [email protected].    

Student engagement across the region!

Our educators continue to be active in our schools across the region.   Throughout month of May, we will be at Corning Painted Post health classes teaching on topics of Birth Control, Gender Issues and Dating Violence.  We will also be present at the Corning Painted Post health fair where over 1,000 students will participate and stop by our table to play games, ask questions and earn prized while learning about Planned Parenthood. 

Over the last couple of months, our educators in Ithaca worked with a group of middle school students at the Lehman Alternative Community School for “Teaching about Gender and Sexual Orientation” to discuss gender socialization, media influences on gender, and how we learn about gender in school and in our families. The hope was to come up with a project that could educate the school community around issues facing LGBT people. Through their hard work, we created a series of t-shirts with information about gender identity, with statements like, "Ask me what pronouns I use!" and "Just ask" and "Gender does not equal Sex". We hung these shirts in the school, inviting students to take a t-shirt with them, wear it, and start a conversation about gender and sexual orientation with their friends, family, and teachers. Almost every single t-shirt was taken within 30 minutes, with many students quickly running to the bathroom to put theirs on right away. At Planned Parenthood, we work to make sure that every person who comes through our doors is seen for who they are and respected in their gender identity and sexual orientation. Through projects like these, we get to bring that belief and create a culture of acceptance and pride. 

Over the weekend of May 16-17 our educators from the Southern Tier and Ithaca along with 9 students from our Southern Tier youth group participated in the Queer-Straight Alliance Leadership Retreat at Camp Unirondack.  This is our fourth year participating where we have directly engaged youth from our programs. This year we are pleased to be joining as educators presenting a workshop titled “Thinking outside the Queer Box” addressing reproductive justice and how it intersects with other social issues such as race, class and ability.  

Words for Women

In our education department in Ithaca we were excited to work with an amazing Ithaca College intern this semester, Natalya Cowilich, on a creating a new Planned Parenthood ‘zine. We put out a call for submissions, were overwhelmed by the response!  Natalya edited and out staff designed and published “Penned Parenthood, Volume I: Words for Women” in April! Our ‘zine launch party was a full house of contributing authors reading their published work. The ‘zine has over has over thirty original written pieces by local women and is available free at Planned Parenthood as well online!

Meet a Board Member: Uttara Prasad

I am proud to have joined the board of PPSFL in June of 2014, and am also active with the PPSFL-Action that makes political progress on behalf of the organization.

I embrace the idea of a world where gender equality is realized in all avenues through innovative reform; also one where LGBT rights are upheld and protected through changing political tides. There are few organizations sustaining these ideas in practice more than Planned Parenthood, and I continue to be motivated by the passion and spirit of the people I meet in my interactions with the PPSFL and PPSFL-A staff and board, who recognize the degree of hard work and dedication it takes to keep the world on-message about these important issues, and provide services that make for far healthier and progressive communities.

The manufacturing company I manage operates out of Hornell and Salamanca and is a 30-year supplier to transit rail manufacturers in the northeastern region. I commute between offices in the upstate area, but live in Ithaca, where I raise my 10 and 13-year old children, both girls. Although trained as a scientist earlier on in my career, I transitioned to the manufacturing sector to lead a family-owned business, and have been company president of Lin Industries since 2008.