ESC 2017 Annual Report

 

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Yearly annual report published by Economic Security Corporation.

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Mission Statement Our mission is to work within our communities to alleviate the conditions of poverty and provide individuals and families with opportunities that will enable them to achieve economic security. Vision Statement Our vision is for every child and family to live in a safe, stable and nurturing home. BlairMdITC TT Medium PMS 1795 C / #DD1100 PMS 298 C / #00CCFF

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President’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Board of Directors . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 CEO’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Success Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Poverty Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Food & Nutrition Solutions . . . . . . . 22 Health Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Housing & Energy Solutions . . . . . . . 26 Economic & Family Solutions . . . . . . 35 Education Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Capacity Building Solutions . . . . . . . 48 Funding Resources . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Office Locations & Phone Numbers . . . 53 Economic Security Corporation (ESC) is a Community Action Agency that is striving toward alleviating poverty in Barton, Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties in Southwest Missouri. Our mission is to work within our communities to reduce the conditions of poverty and provide families and individuals with opportunities that will lead them to economic security. Our vision is for every child and family to live in a safe, stable and nurturing home. Our professional Community Action staff has offered hope, opportunity and change for 52 years. Economic Security Corporation utilizes a multitude of community and family opportunities designed to support people in crisis, as well as continuously developing innovative approaches to solving poverty and positively affecting the Southwest Missouri communities. Economic Security Corporation Community Action professionals work closely with our customers to identify and resolve the underlying conditions of their economic challenges. Our current plan of action addresses the basic needs of virtually every individual or family that is facing poverty – Food, Education, Housing and Energy, Health and Economic and Family Security. It also emphasizes our agency’s responsibility in ensuring we have the resources necessary to address these barriers. We refer to these opportunities as …… Solutions to Poverty This annual report offers insight into Economic Security Corporation’s current endeavors to provide solutions to poverty that families and our local communities are experiencing. Our agency offers innovative options to the many causes and conditions of poverty. Individuals and families that live in our local communities have improved their quality of life, as can be seen in the 2015 census data, 3 of our 4 counties have seen a reduction in poverty. table of contents 1

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a letter from... Henry Lopez ESC Board President This is my first term as President of the Board. I have served in this capacity in the past and am looking forward to the challenges and transitions that will be occurring during the next 12 months. The uncertainty we face with a new President and potential legislative challenges to our programs and the services we offer to our low-income neighbors may not be without some type of tests. The year ending, 2016, we had quite the celebration for Weatherization, 40 years old and leading the Nation in energy innovation and keeping homes safe and healthy. ESC’s Weatherization staff was involved with the State of Missouri’s Department of Economic Development’s training in Jefferson City this past October. ESC had a large turnout for the National Weatherization Day with media, local and state partners showing up to talk about the influence Weatherization has had in the area of energy conservation and innovation these past 40 years .... Made In America! Head Start/ Early Head Start programs were federally monitored the first part of 2016 as part of our 5 year contract. We did extremely well. In addition, Head Start has been implementing Results Oriented Management and Accountability measures during the past several years. These quarterly sessions really take data analysis and evaluation to a new quality improvement level. I am very proud of the work they do. ESC continues to work on housing development and partnerships with the City of Joplin, O’Reilley and Vecino Group. New to us this past year, a partnership with the City of Joplin to conduct some leads testing on homes. Home Rehabilitation continues to have a long waiting list, but the work they do often helps a mature person to maintain and live in their own home. We continue administering 354 rental assistance vouchers and 22 Permanent Supportive Housing Vouchers for persons with a disability who are experiencing homelessness. Women’s Health Services now has electronic health record system and moved their office from Anderson to Pineville in McDonald County. They are enjoying a new partnership with the McDonald County Health Department. Women’s Health also maintains an Employee Health Clinic (for women only). They continue to provide the agency employees with flu shots, as well. Community Development has served over 4,600 households in their Energy Assistance programs. We worked with 217 families in Family Self-Sufficiency case management and 63% increased their overall household income. We housed 75 households with rental funds and worked with 32 at-risk youth. I feel confident that our management team, staff and Board will once again be up to the challenge. Thank you for the opportunity to serve alongside all of you. Henry Lopez President of the Board 2

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Agency Governance Economic Security Corporation (ESC) is governed by up to twenty-four members on the Board of Directors. At least one-third of the board is comprised of community members who are currently living on lower incomes. These seats provide our customers with direct voices in shaping Economic Security Corporation’s policies, programs and governance to reflect low income needs. One-third of the Board must be local elected officials and the remaining members are part of the public interest groups. These representatives give freely of their time to further the impact, and assure the effectiveness of Economic Security Corporation’s vision, mission and goals. We applaud them for their dedication to improving living conditions for our low-income families and developing independence in our communities. ESC Board of Directors Henry Lopez President Spring Knott Darieus Adams Head Start Liaison Janice Franklin Paula Carsel Kevin Johnson Jim Otey Nikkie Tappana Don Richardson Jerod Morey Lynn Tatum Karen Buckman David Halloway Doris Fast Amanda Martin Kimberly Bell Bonda Rawlings Mary Ward Chelsea Talbot Christina Ives Jim Jackson 3

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A Year in Review from... John Joines Chief Executive Officer It is that time of the year again where I have the opportunity to share with the public, our Board of Directors, our community partners and our staff about the undertakings of our agency for the past year. You will be pleased to know that it has been a very successful year in providing assistance to our clients. Funding for our programs has remained strong. Funding resources for October 31, 2015 through September 30, 2016 totaled $17,001,513. Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area (ESC) continues to operate some 34 anti-poverty programs utilizing 49 funding sources. As ESC continues to add more community partnerships to our own list of resources, we can readily see the value of working together to solve and defeat the issues that allow poverty to flourish. This past year we have upgraded our Women’s Health and Family Planning program by introducing the use of electronic health records. An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient’s medical history from one practice. An EHR is mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment. Also important this year is the development of a new three (3) year Strategic Direction Plan. In developing our plan, ESC utilized the ToP® strategic planning process. ToP® Strategic Planning presents a structured planning process which incorporates the group facilitation methods into productive action and concrete accomplishments. ToP® stand for Technology of Participation and it is performed by individuals who have been trained in its presentation methods. The method utilizes the following principles. • Align organization members around common goals and strategies • Identify well-focused actions that lead to big breakthroughs • Enable a group to come to a common vision and own the resulting plan • Weave together the basic tools to address complex meeting requirements Other activities of significance this past year was the sale of our Seneca Head Start facility and the purchase and renovation of the Head Start Planning and Conference Center which is located at 739 E. 7th Street, in Carthage, Missouri. While we experienced some difficulties maintaining the proper number of children in our Seneca facility, largely because of where the facility was located, half way between the cities of Neosho and Seneca, its closure and subsequent distribution of children and staff has worked extremely well in meeting the needs of our families; and, cut the costs of our facilities. The Carthage building was one of those diamonds in the rough that you hear about. First constructed as a chapel for First Baptist Church of Carthage, the facility became vacant after the death of Pastor Robert Wilson. After Pastor Wilson’s death members dispersed throughout the community leaving the chapel vacant. ESC had the ability to purchase the building and will use it as an office for our Early Head Start program as well as a location where we can train large numbers of staff throughout our agency. Finally, ESC anticipates securing funding through a United States Housing and Urban Development grant for the construction of a permanent supportive housing project. The 32 units of permanent housing called the Joplin Bungalows will provide permanent supportive housing for persons with disabilities, Veterans who are formerly homeless and formerly homeless Supportive Housing is another step towards ending homelessness in Joplin and continuing to rebuild from the Joplin disaster. As you can see it has been a very busy and productive year for our clients and our staff. ESC is committed to providing those programs which will help our clients to become more financially self-sufficient. John Joines, CCAP Chief Executive Officer 4

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The Community Action nation loses two of their pioneers, but the legacy will live on… Mr. Daryl Mack Andrews, CCAP, 81, living in Neosho, MO passed away April 27, 2016 at his home. He started his career with Community Action in 1966 and this thing called “The War on Poverty.” Within six months of his hire date, he became the Executive Director of Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area (ESC) from 1966 to 1999, for 33 years. You may not even know anything about Daryl Andrews and his leadership of Missouri and Quotes from the Community Action Leadership across the country: Community Action. Working together with the “There is no better testament to early leadership of Missouri, E.C. Walker, Executive a leader than for their people and Director of Northwest Missouri Community Action agency to be strong and successful. Agency (Maryville), Bill Young, Executive Director Daryl did a great job of passing of Ozark Action (West Plains), Charles Braithwait, the torch. One is a lucky person to Executive Director of West Central Community be raised up in the Missouri CAA Action Agency (Appleton City), Charles McCann, Network!” Missouri Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Unit Director and Don Warren, Executive Director of Green Hills Community Action Agency (Trenton), {referred to as “the Missouri boys” in Community Action circle.} This group of warriors took the Community Action movement and raised the bar across Missouri. Others in the nation often looked to Missouri when defining what needed to be done. What most people working in Community Action don’t realize is these were volatile times. During the early years, Board of Directors’ Jeannie Chaffin, CCAP (Past Director of Office of Community Services (OCS), Past Missouri CSBG Unit Director, Past OACAC Community Services Block Grant Director) meetings could turn into rough situations. In some cases fights literally broke out. These were very emotional years where major decisions were being made about funding for every county in Missouri. Think about it…Seniors…Youth Services…Energy…Food Stamps….Healthcare..and Employment and Training. Mr. Andrews’ leadership included: Being the first Missouri Association of Community Action (MACA) President in 1974, leading the Missouri Community Action Directors as the President and Vice President, The National Association for Community Action Association’s Region VII, President, instrumental in the development of Crosslines Joplin, and the opening of ALL Senior Nutrition Centers in Southwest Missouri. In 1966, he locally led the charge for the War on Poverty programs to help families and individuals become self-sufficient: Summer Head Start, Neighborhood Youth Corp, and hosted a number of VISTA staffers from all over the country. In 1974, he supported “the Missouri boys” – National Community Action Foundation (NCAF), knowing that Community Action needed to have a voice in Washington D.C. – as well as Family Planning, including a mobile health unit. In 1975, he was involved with Weatherization, and later with President Jimmy Carter and the energy crisis, came solar panels. Workforce training, including Comprehensive Employment and Training Ace (CETA), Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) all led the way to a strong employment and training opportunities for Southwest Missourians. Another pioneer, Ms. Doris Carson, 77, living in Joplin, MO passed away January 22, 2017. She served her community at the City of Joplin’s Health Department, and then spent 25 years as the Nurse Practitioner & Director of Family Planning in Jasper, Newton and McDonald counties. She was instrumental in helping to create Joplin’s Community Clinic, provided a training ground for other Women’s Health Nurse Practitioners, and helped develop a free community clinic for those who are uninsured. She had just retired July 2016 from the Community Clinic. Doris Carson leaves her advocacy work with women’s reproductive health as her legacy. She was one of the few women working in Family Planning in the mid-70s. Not a great time to be engaging in women’s health. She was a great teen sexual health educator, no question too stupid, just wanted everyone to know the facts so they could decide when they were ready to plan their family. Our community will miss such a fine example of the Community Action Spirit. 5

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success stories Weatherization... Saving Lives... Charles’ Story Charles bought his dad’s house after he passed away. He wanted it to stay in the family. Being on a fixed income, he didn’t have the funds to make many repairs the aging home needed. 40th ANNIVERSARY He heard about Economic Security Corporation’s Weatherization program from a friend. “If they went through the program or not, I don’t know. But they were telling me about it and I followed up on it and I’m so glad I did,” Charles said. “The heating unit was 20 years old and there was nothing left of it.” At the time of the Weatherization inspection of the home, the furnace wouldn’t fire at all. We dispatched one of our Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractors to assess the situation, and discovered the unit was not repairable. Our contractor installed a new energy efficient 3 ton package unit. Through the course of work on the home, our crew discovered that the water heater was vented into the attic instead of outside as it should have been. All of the carbon monoxide from the water heater was building up in the attic. We had our contractor install the vent pipe through the roof to properly vent the water heater, and significantly reduced the dangerous carbon monoxide. When talking about the high carbon monoxide discovery, Charles was extremely happy that we had discovered the issue and said, “We could’ve died.” Economic Security Corporation’s Weatherization crew was able to reduce air infiltration of Charles’ home by 34%. In addition to the new energy efficient natural gas furnace, we installed 1450 square feet of R-38 blown cellulose insulation in the attic, approximately 1450 square feet of floor insulation, and a new insulated steel exterior front door. The water lines were wrapped, windows were glazed, and energy efficient light bulbs (LED’s) were installed. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors were installed to assure safety, and an American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioner After Engineers (ASHRAE) fan was installed to remove pollutants and allergens from the air. Before 6 Charles now enjoys a safer and more energy efficient home. He is a great example of how we here at ESC help people and change lives.

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Weatherization Keeping One Family’s Home Safe and Warm Oliver and Ollie’s Story Before After Oliver and Ollie have an amazing older home that is full of character and charm. It has had several additions since originally being built in 1880. The house is so unique that it actually has two attics! Though it was full of character, it was also extremely drafty. The heating system labored really hard to keep the home warm during the winter months. Our Weatherization inspection revealed that the front and back doors would barely latch and desperately needed to be replaced. They had very little insulation in the attic, many of their windows needed glazed, and a couple pieces of glass needed replaced where windows were broken. We were able to reduce the air infiltration in the home by 55%. We accomplished this by employing a variety of energy saving measures including proper use of caulking, expansion foam, weather seal foam, foil tape, and window glazing. Our Weatherization team installed two new insulated steel doors, 812 square feet of R-38 blown cellulose attic insulation, new vent pipe on the furnace and water heater, and two pieces of glass. We replaced 15 incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LED’s (light emitting diodes), and installed insulating gaskets behind the switch and outlet covers. We also installed two carbon monoxide alarms and two smoke detectors to assure the couple’s health and safety. Oliver and Ollie are thrilled with the work that was completed on their home. Ollie said, “What you did was a godsend! The house is much warmer this winter than it has been in the past. It’s just wonderful!” Our goal is to have our clients live more comfortably while saving money. By spending less money on electricity and natural gas, Oliver and Ollie are able to enjoy their golden years a little more comfortably. Before After success stories 7

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success stories Homelessness to Self-Sufficiency One Single Mom’s Journey Candace selected to get on her own and chose Economic Security Corporation’s Family Support program after completing two years in our Transitional Housing for Homeless Families with Children program. She has a disabled son and two other children. During her time with Economic Security Corporation, Candace maintained her employment at the Independent Living Center for five years. She worked alongside her Economic Security Corporation case manager, Roberta, together helping build her self-esteem. Her employer has been very helpful giving her many extra responsibilities and that has boosted her confidence. Candace started out as a home based worker and has since been promoted to an office position as a scheduler. She is no longer receiving public assistance. Because of the promotion at work, she has employer based affordable healthcare. Candace has purchased a very nice used car and is establishing her own credit history. She and her three children live in a Union City home where she pays her own rent without the assistance of any rental programs. Candace and her family have a brighter future due to her determination and self-sufficiency attitude! Energy Assistance and Energy Crisis Keeping Families Safe and Healthy Tammie’s husband left her last year leaving her alone to raise four grandchildren ages nine to seventeen. Her home heating system was a propane furnace which unfortunately had not worked in several years. She was using electric space heaters to heat her home which caused her electric bill to be sky high and unsafe. She did not have the money to make the repairs on her home. Tammie was not aware of the repair program available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) sponsored by Economic Security Corporation (ESC). She had received help with her electric bills from ESC and this year she told outreach worker, Sharon Havens that her propane furnace was not working. We asked if Tammie could get an estimate for the furnace repair work. Then she brought the estimate to our Neosho office and ESC was able to assist her with her furnace repairs in the amount of $549.43. Now Tammie and her grandchildren are able to heat their whole house and the family stays warm and healthy. The good news is she has packed up their energy draining and unsafe electric heaters. 8

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Jeanne May Lichlyter Going Home Affordable Housing is one barrier to people being self-sufficient. Ms. Lichlyter is a single disabled veteran who was faced with paying more than 50% of her monthly income toward rent and she knew she couldn’t afford to move. Here is a story about ESC solving poverty. Ms. Lichlyter was living in a home that had roof leaks, doors were not secure, wood heat, no air conditioning. She was getting older, so chopping wood was difficult to guarantee her wood stove would be working. She has a small dog, Doty, as her companion. She was unable to live in her home any longer which was owned by her parents. She needed a home out in the country with some type of public transportation, because she walked everywhere or family/friends drove her. She just happened to come to ESC and meet with Ann Prauser, Community Development. Ann knew this lady was going to need a new place to live. She engaged the City of Joplin’s Public Housing Authority to see about getting some help with the rent gap that was making it hard for Mr. Lichlyter to find housing. If she didn’t get some type of help she couldn’t afford a place on her own and pay for utilities. Due to her disability she needed a home that did not have stairs and had easy access for her. ESC has a service that acts as a navigator through life choices, helps build social capital through other community resources and improves quality of life. In this case Ms. Lichlyter had a variety of partners which included the City of Joplin Public Housing Authority, Hearts and Hammers, RBC Enterprise (Rental Property Management Company), her family and Economic Security Corporation’s services. ESC’s Ann Prauser worked with Ms. Lichlyter to develop a plan, first services that could keep her at home, Weatherization, Home Repair, Hearts and Hammers. Finding out that there were long waiting lists or limitations of what her home needed and the fact she was not a homeowner were barriers. Ann was able to help Ms. Lichlyter make a new plan that included her leaving a home she had lived at for over 40 years. Super hard decision, but she made it. Next was accessing rental gap assistance through the City of Joplin’s Public Housing Authority. After about one year, she was able to receive a voucher. So what were her next barriers? She needed to be in a quiet neighborhood, a place that accepted pets, and had access to public transportation. Sounds easy…not so much. Many rental properties don’t accept pets and why should she have to give up her companion of 10 years? ESC’s role involved several things: We assisted with development of community resources, transportation to look at potential places, guided Ms. Lichlyter through different decisions she could make and what the outcomes might be to each, located the rental home that she loved and perfectly fit her needs. This process took over one year. There are few organizations that would be willing to do all of these things ending in a huge positive change in Ms. Lichlyter’s quality of life. Ms. Lichlyter’s quality of life has improved, by having a safe, affordable home where she and her dog may take walks in the woods across the street. Her home is actually in the neighborhood where she grew up and every morning she can see the hill she grew up on. Ms. Lichlyter has neighbors who she now calls her friends, where she had none prior. She tells us that her favorite thing is coming outside at night and looking up at the stars. The picture she chose for us to take of her is along the fence line with “her woods” in the background. success stories 9

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success stories Leaving An Old Life, Starting Fresh at 40! People who are released from the prison system often have a hard time accessing housing and jobs, lack social capital and the biggest change is understanding technology (i.e., ATM, cell phones, computers, etc.). John Dighero is a man who feels more comfortable in the prison system, than in the outside world. But after 20 years in the prison system, John felt something was going to be different this time. John said that every time he would get released, his family would help him get settled, but the longer he was in the outside world, the harder or more uncomfortable he got as he had no friends, no job, due to his felony record and a lack of skills. Often he would last about one year, and then he would do something to get put back into prison. In the prison system, he had loyal friends and his family made sure he had money to purchase items needed or he wanted. He had a place to stay and food. He felt at home. So what was different this time? John first said, “I am 40 years old, I can’t keep going back and forth.” John lived at Watered Gardens, where he heard about the Comprehensive Homeless for New Career Employment Program (CHANCE). So he immediately, made an appointment with support from his mom, to meet with Cindy Andrews, Homeless Employment Counselor. John enrolled into the 80 hour CHANCE workshop, knowing that if he didn’t have a job at the end of the workshop, there would be a job squad for 2 weeks, to help with transportation and take him to put in applications, complete interviews and end up with a job. John was different than most of the class, he was not as familiar with the technology that was surrounding him, making him uncomfortable. Cindy Andrews stated that when there were CHANCE workshop breaks, John would be in the break area, spreading out his paperwork, and filling in his skill sets, developing his reference list, and listing what employers he would want to visit during the job squad time. He was extremely motivated to find and retain a job. He completed the 80 hour CHANCE employment skills workshop, and job squad was the next week. The first day he showed up with the longest list Cindy Andrews had ever seen. They stayed out that day till 4:30 p.m. making application after application, hoping for an interview. At one of the Job Squad days, he had been offered a job to work for Joplin Waste. He was excited to finally secure employment. About a week into the job, he was given an opportunity to weld at a fabrication company. John told them that he was stick welding certified, not MIG. They 10 asked him to show them what he could do. They were

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impressed and hired him on the spot. John already had a job with Joplin Waste and explained that he would need to speak with them, because they had been good to him and he didn’t want to leave them in a bind. Joplin Waste understood that this was what he wanted as a career and told him, “if you ever need a job, we will always hire you back!” Now, John has held his job for about 4 months, he has found his own place to live, which he says is different. He’s not use to living alone. With this new success, his mom helped him get his own car, but before he had a car, the City of Joplin’s Cab Coupons helped him get to his job site. He is free of all public subsidies; learning how to live and work outside the prison. He will tell you, “It is a day to day challenge, but worth it.” He loves making his mom proud of him and appreciates the CHANCE that Cindy Andrews gave to him. John believes in “pay it forward” so recently, he came to another class of graduating CHANCE participants to deliver the keynote address and his words were “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! Stay Busy.” John says he appreciates everyone that helped him get where he is today. Watered Gardens, Crosslines Ministries, City of Joplin’s Cab Coupon program, his mom and Economic Security Corporation’s CHANCE, especially Cindy Andrews who not only believes in me, but respects me. Funding was provided through the local community resources, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Community Services Block grant (CSBG). Creating The Next Generation of Community Leaders with Step Up to Leadership Mary Ward, a mother of three and grandmother to thirteen was widowed at age forty-seven. She says she was fortunate to make a living but every day she saw others not so lucky and in dire need. Ms. Ward enrolled in the Step Up to Leadership program with the intention of learning to be a better citizen and help those in need. She specifically wanted to get information about how to get the word out about resources that can help those in need. She mentioned a neighbor she was concerned about who needed hand rails installed on her walk up to her home. Following her graduation from the twelve week Step Up to Leadership Training she applied and was awarded a $220.00 mini grant. She used her mini-grant to pay for her neighbor’s hand rails for her porch. She has joined forces with other similar neighborhood betterment opportunities such as: East Town Housing Work Group, Great Day of Service, East Town Historic Preservation and Neighborhood Block Parties. Ms. Ward continues serving her community in a new way serving on Economic Security Corporation’s Board of Directors. Ms. Ward is demonstrating her ownership stake in local community. success stories 11

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success stories Front Line, Economic Security Corporation’s First Impression Economic Security’s Community Development outreach staff sees many families and individuals each year for heating and cooling utility assistance. When clients come in to our offices they get an Intake Assessment and Referral that helps us find out what other kinds of services they may need. Staff can refer for available services in the community. Virginia, age 67, was recently in our Barton County office located in Lamar to see outreach staffer Pam Judd for utility assistance. While Virginia was completing her application Pam noticed that she was having trouble reading the application and had said that her glasses were more than 12 years old. Virginia has Medicare but this does not cover the cost of routine eye exams. Pam contacted OneSight located in Joplin and they made an appointment for Virginia for an eye exam with their partnering optometrist. She was diagnosed with cataracts and is now scheduled to have surgery. She also has some new glasses and sees much better. Virginia is very happy to be able to see better and is looking forward to the surgery. She is very thankful and excited about her future. Intake • Gathering information about families • Assessment • Finding out what an individual or family needs Outreach • R eaching CONNECTout to the community • C hecking on the most vulnerable in the community Connecting & Follow-up • Ensuring that the resource is available • Strengthening our community Referral • Knowledge of community resources • Connecting the families to resources • Empowering individuals Empowerment through Education for Early Childhood and Parents Since August, the beginning of the Head Start school year, Ms. Tiffany Moore has transported her two children, Hannah and Aubrey, to Head Start and then heads off to the Literacy Program to study for her GED. Tiffany participated in the Early Head Start Program last year with her young child Hannah and when Hannah turned age three she was given the opportunity to attend the Headstart program at North Joplin Head Start. Having both of her girls in the Headstart program has allowed Tiffany to move forward with her education and have her children in a safe learning environment. Tiffany’s goal is to take her GED test at the end of February 2017 and then enroll 12 into college for the fall semester. She is exploring health care career options.

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Getting Out to See the Rainbow! My name is Romelia. I am a single mother of 4 children. My 3 year old son is currently enrolled in Head Start Program. I am living in a 2 bedroom house with my children. My husband turned out to be extremely abusive with my children and I. He moved out from our home and does not provide living expenses for my children. I found myself struggling to meet many responsibilities. I have had rough times, not just mentally, but emotionally. I was so depressed. Everything was so cloudy for me, especially when I found out that my daughters were abused by him. I was so devastated; I did not know what to do. I did not know how to handle this hard situation. Besides depression, I started feeling very stressed out. My husband went to jail and I was dealing with authorities and social services. Right at this moment, I still have court dates for my daughter’s case and for my divorce. All of these issues have also affected my children. Economic Security Corporation’s Family Resource Specialist came to my house for a home visit and asked me how I was doing, I mentioned to her my situation. She offered mental health consultation through Mr. Wes Baugh. I also mentioned to her that I was very concerned about my two oldest daughters because they did not speak that much about what happened to them. She mentioned that he can help them also. My daughters and I are receiving counseling. Because of the help that I have received from the Head Start Program, I have become a very positive parent and my emotional health is better. I feel that things are getting all together again. Now I can say to others that even if you are scared always ask for help, seek out people that you trust and have an honest conversation about what you need. One Person Can Make a Big Difference Matt Miller who works for Bleacher Report has some sense about how hard it is to be a single parent, because he is one. He also understands the importance of quality early childhood programs….he used to be a Head Start employee. Today, his picture is much different, he works for Bleacher Report. Matt is the lead National Football League’s (NFL) Draft writer.Pretty amazing, right? So when Christmas was coming around he knew he wanted to give back. He also knew who could benefit from this the most….Head Start. Just before the Christmas holiday, he donated books and a matching stuffed animal to 85 Carthage Head Start and Early Head Start children. He was also made aware that six children were without winter coats, so he added this to his list and purchased six warm coats. He genuinely cares about people who are living in poverty and wants to make a difference. success stories 13

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