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Honoring Former Executive Director Douglas O’Dell

September 26, 2019 / SCO News

A crowd of staff, Board members, and friends of SCO Family of Services, a leading provider of essential human services for nearly 125 years, gathered to honor former SCO Executive Director Douglas O’Dell for his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of children, youth, and families across Long Island and New York City.  The event culminated in the dedication of the O’Dell Center on the grounds of the Robert J. McMahon Children’s Center (RJMCC), a residential treatment center in Sea Cliff, NY that serves children and adolescents with developmental disabilities.

Mr. O’Dell reflected on the newly named O’Dell Center as the building where modern-day SCO began – back when it was referred to as St. Christopher’s Home. Today, the O’Dell Center is the main administrative and residential building of the RJMCC, which provides 24-hour nursing care, social services, and a variety of therapies to help unlock the potential of its young residents.

A widely respected expert in the field of services to children, families, and adults, Mr. O’Dell has over four decades of expertise, with 28 years of service at SCO. He is a staunch advocate and trailblazer for serving young people who are in foster care, court-involved, or have special needs, advocating to keep them in communities close to their families and friends to help build meaningful connections. He developed a network of residential and campus-based programs in New York to repatriate youth with developmental disabilities who were formerly sent to out-of-state schools.

Committed to juvenile justice reform, Mr. O’Dell developed SCO’s alternatives to detention and placement programs serving court-involved youth in their homes with family-based therapy and community-based residences. He also launched SCO’s Family Therapy Intervention Pilot that promotes families’ acceptance of their LGTBQ children and provides services to reduce negative risk factors experienced by LGBTQ youth.

The dedication ceremony included an outdoor reception, the unveiling of Mr. O’Dell’s portrait, a blessing by Reverend Jesse Lebus of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and remarks by SCO Board of Directors, colleagues, and friends.

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