May is National Community Action Month which recognizes and highlights the role of Community Action Agencies (CAA) in helping low-income families achieve economic security.
Each year, CAAs serve 20 million people in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the country through programs such as Head Start, weatherization, job training and placement, financial education, housing, energy assistance, transportation and economic development.
The City of Wichita Career Development Office (CDO) is the CAA for Wichita/Sedgwick County, providing innovative and cost-effective programs leading to self-sufficiency for low-income people. In 2011, the CDO served 30,500 low-income individuals by with the help of Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds. Provided services include the STAR Employment Program, which helped 133 people find employment; the Youth Employment and Training Program, which is helping 25 teenagers in state custody obtain employment; staffing at Neighborhood City Halls, where more than 15,000 citizens obtain services; and 280 scholarships for children to attend educational, financial and social activities at Summer Activity Camps for Kids. The CDO also helped fund 81 neighborhood cleanups which improved the quality of life for more than 15,000 low-income citizens by removing debris and various discarded materials from their neighborhoods.
“Community action programs have a positive impact on the lives of low-income people,” Michelle Cole Rucker, the City’s Career Development Manager, said. She added that the CDO works with 85 local partnerships to expand opportunities for low-income families across Kansas. For personal stories about people or families helped by CAAs, please contact Rucker at 337-9444 (ext. 110).