A Year of Partnerships by trendy3

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Worcester Community Action Council 484 Main Street, 2nd Floor Worcester, MA 01608 Phone: 508.754.1176 Web Site: www.wcac.net


A Year of Partnerships

Annual Report



Worcester Community Action Council

Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. Board of Directors 2006-2007
Comprehensive Skills Center, Harrington Memorial Hospital of Southbridge, Merrill Lynch of Westborough, and State Representative Jamie Eldridge, for his inspiration with the state’s Individual Development Account Program. When our computer and telephone technology suffered unexpected meltdowns, staff and volunteers quickly responded to solve the challenge of having to replace the entire system. The $90,000 technology project was supported in part with grant funds, but sincere thanks are extended to several special funding partners who helped save the day! Fuller Foundation and Intel Corporation are our heroes, too. Thank you. We are underway with our next strategic planning process, which will take place over the coming 12 months to develop our service priorities for years to come. We are asking ourselves and will ask many others this year through our needs assessments, surveys, and roundtables— “What are the emerging needs in our communities? Will our programs include immigration services, a family support center, GED and ESOL classes, and expanded energy programs? What important role will WCAC play? What is our niche and where are we most responsive in service delivery and programs? How can we make the most impact in our efforts to help people along their passageway to self-sufficiency, up and out of poverty?” I hope you will join us for this next stimulating chapter of Worcester Community Action Council’s history. If you are not currently connected to the WCAC work in some way, I invite you to come visit us, find us on the Web at www.wcac.net, volunteer, and get involved. It takes a strong, dedicated, fast moving, energy-filled, coordinated team to do this precious work. Respectfully, Jill C. Dagilis


t has been an energy-packed year at WCAC! We have experienced so many important changes, and more are underway. I am honored to recognize and work with WCAC’s new, extremely talented, and most dedicated management team. This year Priscilla Holmes, having served WCAC for 19 years, was appointed as our Deputy Director. Donna McGrath brought 13 years of fund development, grantsmanship and legislative work from the City of Worcester to become the agency’s first Organizational Development Administrator. And Janet Lee, with her talents from the private sector in finance and human resource management, is our new Director of Administration and Finance. Our commitment is ever-focused on the agency’s mission, and our sights are set on “raising the bar” through all of our work by empowering staff and volunteers. We are grounded in a shared vision of exemplary service through teamwork, professional development, creative and responsive programs, strong partnerships, and constant, hard-wired communications. I thank the dedicated, action-oriented WCAC staff for their work in our 21 programs to serve over 70,000 people each year; they are amazing. The Board became energized in new and exciting ways: new and old members joined forces and brought powerful ideas, verve, and inspiration to our fund raising, legislative work, technology improvement plans, board relations, and more. Thank you all for your time, talent, and allegiance. During Community Action Month in May, WCAC honored partners who supported our efforts and helped us to move people up and out of poverty. Our first ever Action Hero’s Award Program highlighted five extraordinary organizations for their generous support: Imperial Distributors of Auburn, Worcester Public Schools

Jack Foley, Chairman Barbara A. Hassan, Vice Chair Michael Keegan, Treasurer Jean Perkins, Asst. Treasurer- for Senator Harriette L. Chandler Winifred A. Octave, Clerk Jannelle Correa, Asst. Clerk

Martha Akstin, for Rep. Robert P. Spellane, Co-Chair Fundraising Committee Lynne B. Allen* Scott Bleau Mark J. Carron Gretchen Clark Linda Duggan Barbara G. Haller, City Councilor Kathleen G. Johnson for City Manager Michael V. O’Brien, Chair Personnel Committee Eve Laye (Hawaba) Kenneth W. Michaud Gary W. MacConnell, Co-Chair Fundraising Committee Michael Mobilio for Rep. Vincent A. Pedone Deborah Penta, Chair Marketing Committee Gladys Rodriguez-Parker for Congressman James P. McGovern William Van Dam, Chair Technology/Facilities Committee


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Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. t h e F i n a n c i a l Y e a r 2 0 0 6 - 2 0 0 7*
Sources of Funds
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development Dept. of Early Ed. & Care Dept. of Education Trial Court Massachusetts Attorney General City Worcester Federal – Dept of Health & Human Services Other Utility Children’s Trust Fund Private Contributions Mass Service Alliance United Way Mass Bar Other Total Sources of Funds $7,961,997.55 $216,197.53 $89,411.36 $62,930.04 $42,766.08 $989,450.38 $2,159,557.93

A Message from the Board Chairperson, Jack Foley
services, bringing greater visibility to the need to support our families, and building the partnerships to bring necessary attention and funding to the agency. Jill’s dynamic leadership, the tremendous professionalism of WCAC’s senior staff, and the remarkable dedication of the entire staff have all contributed to a very successful year for the agency and the prospects for a very bright future.

$633,545.81 $300,518.35 $273,968.51 $167,154.36 $51,700.17 $27,149.19 $73,328.93 $13,049,676.19

I also want to thank Board member and Treasurer Michael Keegan for his tremendous contributions of time and expertise to WCAC. He has provided extraordinary financial leader-

Uses of Funds
Case Management-CSBG Special Reports Cityworks Community Connections Community Partnerships Community Safety Initiative CSBG Operations CSBG Program EITC Food Stamp Outreach Fuel Assistance Head Start Healthy Families Heartwap Individual Development Accounts Mediation Center Project Excel Summer Youth Employment Program Training & Education Programs Weatherization Other Expense Total Uses of Funds *This statement is unaudited $49,534.48 $229,607.70 $164,213.48 $104,668.90 $263,517.66 $521,297.72 $46,855.00 $2,237.90 $14,994.75 $6,124,728.82 $2,428,094.19 $300,518.35 $598,258.34 $34,741.80 $146,960.75 $51,700.17 $528,783.90 $92,605.71 $1,293,473.25 $52,883.32 $13,049,676.19

day serving the families of Worcester County. For greater than 40 years, WCAC has been there to support families and individuals as they strive to move beyond the struggles of poverty. This help may be in the form of long-term support with programs such as Head Start for children, Individual Development Accounts to save money to buy your own home, or preparation for the GED test so that individuals can find better employment. There are also critical shorter-term programs providing immediate relief and networking for families such as fuel assistance and Community Connections. Every day, the staff of WCAC commit their hearts and souls to making the lives of the people that we serve better. On behalf of the Board members of the Worcester Community Action Council, we are extraordinarily grateful for your efforts! I especially want to acknowledge the work of new Executive Director Jill Dagilis and her senior staff. Jill’s first year with the agency has been marked with her trademark energy and vision focusing on enhancing our programs and


am honored to be the chair of the Board of the Worcester Community Action Council Inc., an agency that lives its mission every

ship to the agency during his more than 13 years of service on the Board, but never has his support been more generous and necessary as this past year. Thank you, Mike, from the Board, the staff, and especially the families that we serve! Jack Foley Chair

Action Hero Event Sponsors
Bowditch & Dewey, LLP. EFI Fallon Community Health Plan National Grid NSTAR Electric and Gas Sovereign Bank


Annual Report 2007

Private Contributions FY ‘07
United Way of Greater New Bedford

In-kind Goods and Services

Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. provides programs to residents of Worcester and 37 cities and towns throughout southern Worcester County to increase their standard of living, foster self-improvement, and create opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, through a broad array of services beginning with basic needs such as fuel assistance and food stamps. WCAC’s customers move to other programs along the continuum that offer them opportunities to become self-sufficient. Education such as Head Start and GED; financial literacy including Individual Development Account (IDA) and Arrearage; training--Lead Abatement, job skills, mediation and parenting skills—provide individuals and families a chance to move up and out of poverty.

FY ‘07
Grossman's Bargain Outlet Home Depot Lowe's A.C. Moore PriceRite Park 'n Shop Applebees Southbridge Carrie & Co. Sturbridge Showcase W. North Greater Worcester Community Foundation Merrill Lynch Hanover Insurance Group CC Lowell's Webster Lodge of Elks

Head Start
Comm. of Mass. MRC/Pedro Bergollo Polar Beverages Town of Millbury / Millbury Cultural Council Town of Oxford/ Oxford Cultural Council

Fuel Donations
Paul & Avis Hoyt-O'Connor Quinsigamond Village Clergy Association

Fuel Donations MASSCAP
Mass Cap/ Citizens Energy Oil Heat Fund

Summer Jobs for Youth
Hanover Insurance Group United Way of Central MA UMassMemorial / Dept of Community Relations

WIA Youth Works
United Way of Central MA/Health Foundation United Way of Central MA/National Grid Greater Worcester Community Foundation The Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc.

Rice Charitable Foundation Fletcher Foundation Sovereign Bank Foundation Webster Five Foundation TD BankNorth Charitable Foundation Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. Digital Federal Credit Union Citizens Bank Foundation Fred Harris Daniels Foundation, Inc. Hoche-Scofield Foundation Saint-Gobain Corporation George I Alden Trust Foundation

First Action Heroes Event
Bancroft School Damar Printing EFI Holmes & Shusas Inquiry Systems Company Jason Boucher Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences PENTA Communications, Inc. Prifty Candy Company Serrato Signs Shaun Conroy, Sevengaits Studios Struck Catering Telegram & Gazette Village Photo and Portrait Studio Worcester Living

Board Chair Jack Foley with Vice Chair Barbara Hassan

George F and Sybil H Fuller Foundation Intel Corporation, Inc.
Citizens Energy Chairman and President Joseph P. Kennedy II, Distrigas CEO Clay L. Harris, and Jill C. Dagilis at a press conference in the front yard of a young mother who benefited from the program

Fund Raising/Capital Fund
Annual Campaign Federal Deposit Insurance

Agency Funds
Greater Worcester Community Foundation Southbridge Lions Club, Inc. - Charity Account Worcester County Deputy Sheriff’s Department

Young parents participating in the Healthy Families of Southern Worcester County Program

Consumer Success Story

WCAC 2007 News WCAC Board of Directors
WCAC’s Board of Directors operate in accordance with both state non-profit corporation law and as a Tripartite board as regulated by the Federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Act. The 21-member Board fully participates in the CSBG program development and the agency’s guiding by-laws, policies, and fiduciary matters. Membership is equally divided into three sectors: 1/3 public officials or their representatives; at least 1/3 low-income representatives—our customers; and the balance from major groups or interests in the community we serve. It is an honor to thank and recognize the wonderful dedication of our entire Board in their support of WCAC’s mission through their commitment of time, talent and gifts. This year, the enthusiasm, creativity, and generosity of the Board was abundant. Here are just a few examples: Jack Foley, our fearless leader and chairman took the Board to new heights--donning his WCAC-Action Hero’s green cape--with his motivation, ever-positive attitude, and visionary ideas. Deborah Penta, of Penta Communications has redefined generosity with the donation from her company, Penta Communications, in the complete redesign and management of our website as well as with her many ideas for public relations, stimulating Board participation and expanding external relations with new corporate partners. Bill Van Dam stepped up to lead the new Technology and Capital Assets Subcommittee at a time when unforeseen computer and telephone needs hit the agency, and Gary MacConnell and Martha Akstin helped WCAC exceed our goals for the first-ever annual fund campaign—the Community Action Fund. In this annual report, we celebrate the leadership of one of our long-term members—a “quiet” action hero—Mike Keegan. This year, Mike volunteered to keep the agency on solid ground during our extensive search for a new Director of Administration and Finance. He could be counted on for meetings in a moment’s notice, to provide fiscal staff with mini trainings and guidance, and as an ever-reliable Treasurer to collaborate with the Board, work with our auditors, and educate our peers at a regional MASSCAP Training Conference. best practice models; and the Lead Training Collaborative. Mediation, Cityworks /AmeriCorps, Energy Efficiency, and GED services saw increases in referrals to WCAC and customers served--an important trend that says our work must continue. To be a lead advocate in the work to address the causes of poverty WCAC is an active participant and partner in many community-wide initiatives including the interagency collaboratives funded by the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts—the Hunger Initiative and the CHAIN (Comprehensive Homeless Assessment and Intervention Network) Project; Common Pathways; the Mayor’s Youth At-Risk Task Force; the City of Worcester’s Youth Opportunities Council and the Homeless Task Force; regional activities—Pathways to Success by 21 (P-21)—to connect at-risk youth from education to employment opportunities and the FDIC’s partnership to serve the un-banked; and state activities such as the Mass Health Connector and work to address the trends we are seeing in area graduation rates. WCAC serves as the host site for the Department of Social Services-funded Community Connections Coalition and the newly created African Children Education (ACE) program to serve refugee children from Africa; as the coordinating partner for Community Partnership for Children in South County; and as an award-

enrolled in the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program at the housing authority. Staff encouraged her to establish and work toward financial independence and homeownership. When her income increased, the housing authority, through the FSS, matched the funds and put it into an escrow account. As her savings and escrow account grew, Melissa set a new career goal. As soon as Melissa heard about the Individual Development Account (IDA) program at the Worcester Community Action Council, she was eager to enroll, but had to wait for openings in the program. Meanwhile, she continued to work on her short-term goal to lower her debt to income ratio—which is one of the more challenging components of the asset-building program. She maintained regular contact with Worcester’s Neighbor Works Homeonwnership Center and entered the lottery at Worcester Common Grounds for three-family homes, but she was not selected. Instead of giving up her homeownership dream, she continued to save toward her goal. In March, 2006, she enrolled in WCAC’s IDA program and attended six weeks of financial literacy. She attended the monthly meetings that featured guest speakers from banks, attorneys, and other financial institutions. In April, she opened an IDA escrow account, and in June, entered the East Side Community Development Corporation lottery. Her name was pulled from the drawing for property on East Central Street, and she closed on her two-family home in November 2006. The following month, she began work at the Worcester Housing Authority as the new Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator. “I was very excited because my dreams and all the things I had worked so hard for were finally becoming a reality,” Melissa said. “I am fortunate to help families like my own achieve self-sufficiency, independence, and homeownership. I am very grateful for all the help that I received along the way and am happy with my home, career, and family and hope that my daughters can learn from me and be proud.” Her next goal is to work on her Master’s Degree. Melissa turned 28 years old in November and is the mother of two daughters—Kassandra, 13 years old, and Nayrobi, who is 3.


elissa Madera, born and raised in Worcester, became a mother at age 15. She lived at home with her single mom and sister--her dad had passed away when she was 8 years old--and was able to graduate with high honors from South High Community School in 1998. Throughout her life, Melissa developed self-imposed goals. She worked summer jobs from the age of 14 and held a part-time job in a nursing home for one year. When Melissa turned 18, her life went through many changes. She applied for the Mass Rental Voucher Program; she was selected and moved to her first apartment with her daughter. At the same time, she entered her first year of college. As a former National Honor Society high school student, she was able to secure many grants and low-interest college loans. The loans, combined with working part-time jobs, strict budgeting, and sacrificing many recreational activities, enabled her to attend Anna Maria College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Melissa’s next goal was to own her own home. At 22, she attended the First Time Homebuyers’ classes at Worcester Community Housing Resources and learned about the home buying process. She was determined to own a multifamily home by the time she was 25. With rental income, she was confident she could pay the mortgage. While in Shrewsbury, Melissa

In Fiscal Year 2007, the WCAC Board of Directors and staff developed six goals to be achieved over the 12-month period.
To provide exemplary services to and for WCAC customers The WCAC staff are extremely dedicated to the customers we serve. The fuel assistance program—the agency’s largest service program—and the season begins long before the cold weather hits. In preparation for what was a record-breaking year with over 11,000 households served, the application process was restructured to ensure the delivery of customerfriendly service, efficient application in-take, and enhanced service areas within our facilities. Many customers lauded our modest building improvements, signage, and new furniture donations! In addition, our outreach to and growing involvement from neighborhoods citywide continued through programs such as the Community Connections Coalition; the summer jobs program for at-risk youth reached new service levels with more than 50 partner sites, increased state and private funding, and


Board Hero

WCAC’s Quiet Hero...

such a consummate professional and advisor in our midst.” He has provided instructional sessions for staff on several financial topics, been available via phone, email, and countless meetings, worked with our interim finance consultant and our auditors, and been ever ready to help acclimate our new Director of Administration and Finance--all with the goal of keeping our financial house strong and steady! Mike’s talent and commitment goes beyond the walls of WCAC, too. This fall he led a Budget workshop for community action staff from throughout the region at the Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action (NIQCA) training conference in Sturbridge. We were so proud that our Board leader, Mike, was in the forefront of teaching our colleagues, while concurrently serving as a representative of WCAC! Currently, Mike serves as the Director of Finance for Gosling-Castle Partners, Inc., an importer and distributor of premium brand spirits. Previously, he has worked as the senior financial officer at two manufacturing companies and worked in public accounting in Worcester for 16 years early in his professional career. While in the public accounting field, Mike provided audit and advisory services to clients in a variety of industries, with particular emphasis on manufacturing and not-for-profit organizations. Mike’s generosity and commitment is extensive. For the past 30 years, he has also served on boards of a number of local organizations. He presently serves as a trustee or director on the boards of the Worcester Community Action Council, Notre Dame Academy, and YOU, Inc. and as a volunteer for the United Way of Central Massachusetts. Mike holds a BA degree in Economics from the College of the Holy Cross, and an MBA/MS in Accounting degree from the Graduate School of Professional Accounting at Northeastern University. On behalf of a very appreciative WCAC team, we thank and salute Mike Keegan, our quiet Hero!


very now and then, an individual quietly steps forward with a “rolls-up-the sleeve” approach and helps out in the neighborhood, business, or a local organization. We want to introduce you to one of Worcester Community Action Council’s Board of Directors—a Quiet Hero—who has gone beyond the call of duty to offer guidance, financial expertise, and support to the agency over the past year. It is an honor to thank and recognize the selfless work of Michael (Mike) Keegan. Because of his long-standing commitment to WCAC, Mike has been a WCAC Board Member several times! Beginning in 1992, he served for 10 years. He was then voted back to the board at the Annual Meeting in December 2004. Currently serving as the Board Treasurer, he has been the chair of the Finance Committee, as well as a member of the Fundraising and Executive committees and an honorary member of the 40th Anniversary Committee. Mike, along with our Board Chair Jack Foley, has been a proven fiscal leader and trusted sounding board providing unending support to me and the agency, during this year of transition at WCAC. Jack Foley notes, “Mike is known for his calm demeanor and steady approach to any challenge. He asks important questions, provides great recommendations, and is a dependable team member in all situations. We are fortunate to have


WCAC 2007 News
winning service provider for Healthy Families of Southern Worcester County—our program to work with teen parents in Southbridge; and for one of our Energy Efficiency programs— Weatherization—as a recipient of Mayor Lukes’ Clean and Green Award. WCAC staff are involved in external activities to promote community awareness around the needs of poverty with groups from neighborhoods, businesses, and non-profits to the faith community and educational institutions: The Walk for the Homeless in April, the United Way of Central Massachusetts Annual Campaign, the MASSCAP Rally at the State House, educational programs at local colleges and universities-the Mayor’s Energy Forum at Clark University, the Hunger Forum at Worcester State College, and through several organizational memberships. To diversify WCAC’s funding base To diversify the agency’s funding, relationships were built and expanded. This year, WCAC strategically strengthened its partnerships with local foundations, businesses, and nonprofit organizations; volunteers, community residents, local leaders, and employers; and state agencies and legislators. Grantsmanship activities were streamlined and enhanced; and fundraising, along with corporate and philanthropic giving have increased—doubling the FY 07 annual goal set for new funds to be secured. To strengthen WCAC’s mission and image as the lead antipoverty agency in Central Massachusetts An aggressive public relations campaign was implemented with a monthly media coverage plan and an events calendar to highlight the myriad WCAC programs, services, and advocacy efforts. WCAC administration and volunteers worked tirelessly to advocate and lift our voices on behalf of and with the many customers we serve. Testimony was provided to the Governor’s new administration on several occasions at regional sites and at the State House regarding fuel assistance funding needs, the utility arrearage crisis, the need for stronger and interdepartmental (State) coordination in policies, funding and programs, at hearings on health disparities, graduation rates, and workforce development needs that affect the limited-income populations. Locally, WCAC raised awareness about service needs at energy, hunger, and homeless forums; to Worcester City Council, and to the Central Massachusetts Legislative Delegation. Our Action Hero’s event was a wonderful celebration of partnerships with local heroes who helped to move our work forward. Multiple print and non-print media consistently supported the agency with significant opportuni6

ties to educate the local, regional, and state audiences. Thank you to our media partners for this important community education service. We have been under construction—our website that is! Within several months, WCAC will launch its exciting new interactive website with current information about our programs and guidelines, hours of operation, service links, opportunities to volunteer and more! Please visit us online at www.wcac.net and look for the dramatic changes in the near future. To develop technology, capital, and fund development plans In the midst of developing a multi-year technology plan, WCAC’s technology systems—both computer and telephone—unexpectedly imploded this fiscal year. With generous support from the Fuller Foundation, Intel Corporation, and Imperial Distributors, we were able to stabilize our systems with upgrades and new equipment. Subsequent phases will result in additional service enhancements and capacity for the organization to bring us well into the future. Work has begun to develop a plan of action to assess and upgrade our facilities. With eight locations, WCAC must keep pace with the functionality and operational needs in our buildings to serve the over 70,000 individuals who come through our doors each year. Topping our list of needs is a facelift at 484 Main Street in Worcester, our home office, to provide professional, accessible, and appropriate settings for our growing classroom, case management, community meeting, and program spaces. To enhance staff and volunteer capacity Over the past 12 months, professional development was fostered at WCAC through several training programs for staff and volunteers: the annual staff Spree Day where team work, communications, and customer service was the focus; attending a Childhood Poverty symposium, the regional NIQCA (Northeast Institute for Quality Community Action) training with our Community Action Agency colleagues, in monthly statewide MASSCAP meetings of CAP directors, CAP Law Webinars, Fuel Assistance/Energy trainings, as well as leadership coaching, management, and board development programs. Our goal is to ensure that our 160 staff and many volunteers are kept current in their fields and professionally supported in their work to address poverty. It has been a busy, productive, and energy-filled year. Sincere thanks to the many staff, volunteers, and partners who make our work possible and successful.

2006-2007 Program Accomplishments
The Arrearage Management Program began
as a pilot last year. WCAC saw a significant need to “train people” to pay their utility bills on time. With utility companies as collaborators, households in arrears commit to a payment plan and are forgiven a portion of unpaid bills. Last year, 648 clients enrolled in the National Grid, NStar, and Keyspan program. Over 2,000 clients enrolled in other programs including Joe 4 Oil, Distrigas, MASSCAP, FEMA, and Budget Counseling. parents. 100% of the 80 families who inquired about Healthy Families accepted services regarding education and information on parental roles, monitoring developmental milestones, immunizations, nutrition education, family planning, and infant bonding. Referrals increased this year by 30%.

Partnerships for Children provided 20 childcare subsidies to parents of Head Start children so that they could maintain employment. Basic Skills with Summer Employment –
provided 90% of the planned 33 youth with improved social/emotional development. Through ongoing mentoring, job and personal counseling from the supervisors, WCAC summer staff, and the teachers/aides during the school year, 95% of the youth have fewer behavior problems as a result of participating in the summer program.

Youth and Family Development
Cityworks/AmeriCorps members, young adults between the ages of 18-28, are given the opportunity to tutor within the Worcester Public Schools or to serve in a nonprofit organization. These experiences often lead to a decision as to what he/she will study in graduate school and college or, in some cases, drastically change his/her career path. Cityworks influences young leaders at a time when they make their most critical career decisions.
Cityworks/AmeriCorps– 12 Cityworks members provided 22,172 hours of planned service, which included a reading tutoring program to 143 K-3 students--90% of these youngsters increased their reading skills. A total of 136 new volunteers were recruited and trained to provide 2,588 hours of services to families of Pernet Family Health Service.

Community Mediation Center – Highly
trained volunteer Mediators, working in pairs, mediated 315 court (contracts, landlord/ tenant, consumer, personal disputes) and 25 non-court (family, divorce, probate, custody) cases over the past year. In all the court cases, WCAC’s Mediation Center served over 1,500 clients. The Mediation Center trained 30 new volunteer mediators who come from a crosssection of Worcester county and demonstrate the diversity of the community. Volunteers speak multiple languages, come from all socioeconomic levels with various levels of education, and learn invaluable skills to bring back to their neighborhoods.

Head Start is a family-focused program that recognizes parents as a child’s first teacher and principal influence on their child’s development. Parents are encouraged to become active in their child’s learning. Parent education, family support, and social services are designed to support and empower Head Start families, assisting them in becoming self-sufficient and helping them to identify and achieve personal family goals.
There were 210 families served through Head Start. 192 (91%) Head Start preschool children had ongoing and accessible dental care at the end of the program year. Thirty-five (17%) Head Start preschool children had diagnosed disabilities during the 2006-07 school year.

Community Connections Coalition –
600 families were connected with critical community resources including food pantries, affordable housing, childcare, after-school programs, and providing coaching on how to access these services independently in the future. Community Connections Coalition provided Parent Advocate assistance to 150 high-risk families either involved in or referred to the state’s child protective system – MA Department of Social Services by obtaining the community supports to prevent potential future out-of-home placement of the children and to reduce the need for continued state involvement.

Early Head Start – 60 (100%) of Head Start
parents of infants and toddlers participated in nutrition education classes. 60 (100%) children in the towns of Webster, Southbridge, and Millbury participated in either Family Childcare program or home-based model and made developmental gains.

Summer Jobs for Youth – 195 youth participated in the program with an additional 127 MCAS students enrolled in the program. Citywide, over 55 employers provided employment opportunities for these young people. At the end of the summer, 19 youth were hired for part-time and full-time employment.

Healthy Families of Southern Worcester County – 156 teens became better informed

2006-2007 Program Accomplishments
Housing Assistance
Individual Development Accounts (IDA) Assists low-income families in developing weekly saving plans directed toward a down payment and/or closing costs. Forty-one income-eligible participants enrolled and completed a minimum of six weeks of Economic (Financial) Literacy classes. Ten (10) participants purchased homes; one participant started his own business; one used the savings for education; and 14 are currently attending monthly savings group meetings. Of the 14 participants, six (6) have saved $1,333; three (3) are in the process of purchasing a home; and five (5) are saving consistently.

2006 Annual Campaign Contributors
Start Our Success - In partnership with the Worcester Police Department, WCAC’s SOS program placed 12 of the 20 highly at-risk and Gang Unit-referred participants between 18 – 23 years old in full-time jobs. Through this pilot program, eight (8) participants received their GEDs, five (5) received drivers’ and Cinderella licenses, four (4) went on to higher education. At the same time, 10 local businesses and organizations stepped forward to give these young adults a “second chance.”

Lynne B. and Craig S. Allen Commerce Bank & Trust Company Jill C. Dagilis John L. and Robin Foley

The Lester and Joan Sadowsky Family Charitable Foundation Jonathan and Lisa Sigel Antonio A. Simas South Shore Community Action Council, Inc. Michael P. Tsotsis/Benefit Development Group William A. Van Dam * 2 Anonymous Donors

Commonwealth National Bank Holden Discount Oil, Inc. Donna J. McGrath National Grid

Energy Assistance
WCAC is directly involved in Sutton’s wind farm - and has participated in multiple town
meetings to guide the project through the permitting process. WCAC’s de facto construction manager serves as a liaison between the contractors and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

Supporting Members
Martha M. Akstin Susan J. Black Maurice J. and Pamela K. Boisvert Tina M. Bradford Building No.19 Foundation Anne H. Bureau Charles R. and Deborah D. Cary Jannelle Correa Fairman and Polly Cowan J.A. Cruickshank Linda Duggan Ellen S. Dunlap and Frank Armstrong Suzanne K. Ford Gail C. Fortin Paul E. Gustafson Mrs. Charla T. Hixson Industrial Cleaning Products, Inc. Gini Johnson Lisa M. Johnson Maria Hanna Joseph Frances Krauss Sally S. Levinson Kenneth W. Michaud Tom and Kate Myshrall Mary and Edward O'Connell Winifred A. Octave Jean F. Perkins Susan Perschbacher Melia Mary Ann Pervier David and Jennifer Reed Eric Rowe Mary Whitehead Santos Carol L. Seager Karen and Tom Thomsen Alisha S. Tomasino * 2 Anonymous Donors

Lead Abatement - WCAC is part of a citywide
lead collaborative to identify and make all properties lead safe by 2009. WCAC is certified by the Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to provide monthly classes for moderate risk deleading. Through an 8-hour moderate risk lead abatement classroom training, 65 individuals attended the training and are now certified to make their home or property lead safe. Children with poor nutrition absorb more lead than those who eat better food. This is why our many services connect with one another: fuel assistance, food stamps, deleading.

Founding Members
Nadia Beard Norman Bitsoli Robert Blackman Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc. Jim and Margaret Collins Mr. and Mrs. William Densmore Fallon Community Health Plan Aleta M. Fazzone, honoring John J. Binienda Peter S. and Catherine S. Fellenz Allen W. Fletcher Ann L. Flynn F.W. Madigan Company, Inc. William O. Gardiner, III Joel P. Greene and Ann T. Lisi Barbara G. Haller Barbara A. Hassan Susan M. Hince Priscilla Holmes Michael E. and Joyce M. Keegan Patsy C. Lewis John Lund, honoring Donna McGrath Diane H. and Gary W. MacConnell Susan M. Mailman Congressman Jim McGovern Robert H. McLaren Harriet Miller Hight Nault Architects, Inc. Ellen L. O'Connor Maureen E. Power Premium Fuels Corp. Joyce Rowell

Fuel Assistance - Over the past year, 11,429
low-income households applied for fuel assistance emergency benefits, 5,467 low-income households were served in the City of Worcester, and 4,198 (total of 9,641) lowincome households received emergency payments to vendors within WCAC’s service areas.

Construction of New Affordable Housing for Ownership - with Department of Energy
“special projects funds”, two Habitat for Humanity housing units were built. The funds, in conjunction with the Main South Community Development Corporation, were used to rehabilitate a 5-unit project now offered as condo units for first-time low-income buyers.

Additional Fuel Assistance - 100 households were served through Joe 4 Oil Citizens Oil Heat Program; 170 households were served through Distrigas- Citizens Gas Heat Program; 62 households received Citizens Energy Oil from MASSCAP funding; and 37 households facing shut off of utility service or in need of emergency oil delivery received assistance from the emergency Food and Shelter program through FEMA.

Food Stamp Outreach Program - 301 households were referred to food pantries and 300 families were able to obtain food stamp assistance to help them purchase nutritional food for their families.

Weatherization - 250 homes were insulated. Energy savings range up to 50% with the average yearly savings at about 25%. The Appliance Management Program (AMP) replaces 200-300 refrigerators each year - which makes a considerable impact on
low-income families: newer models prolong the shelf-life of food, save 25% on heating bills, and 25% on energy costs.

Project Excel - a GED and employment preparation program for 16-21 year-old youth, enrolled 40 students; 23 achieved their GED and 15 achieved a significant academic gain. Of the 40 participants, 32 secured jobs and/or went on to higher education.

Heating Emergency Assistance Retrofit Task Program (HEARTWAP) - Over 100 heating
systems were replaced with Energy Starequivalent models. Repairs are completed, and burners are installed and limited asbestos abatement work is done.

WINGS - provides GED and pre-employment skills training for 16-21 year-old at-risk youth who have dropped out of high school. Of the 30 active students, 21 obtained their GED and 5 passed parts of the GED for a 90% rate. Fourteen (14) secured employment, and 3 enrolled in higher education.



Staff Heroes
Linda Booker
Action Council, Inc. in 1982 as a Fuel Intake Worker where she processed fuel assistance applications and participated in fuel outreach to community organizations, senior centers, and town halls. Linda’s work at WCAC fit her lifestyle at that time; fuel was a seasonal program and having the summers off allowed her to stay at home with her three young daughters. As much as she enjoyed the work schedule, she quickly became immersed in and passionate about the direct line work itself. Seven years ago, she was promoted to Assistant Director of Fuel and now oversees 15 staff. “Helping people with heating problems is so gratifying. When people are up against the wall with no hope and you give them something so small, they are so very appreciative. Each day is challenging, and you never know whose life you are going to touch.” Whether it is driving a client without transportation home at the end of the day or discussing several assistance options with a client who may be clinically depressed about his income or heating, Linda sees herself as a problem solver—looking for solutions to often catastrophic situations in people’s different lives. “I love my job. I am honored that I can help people, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think what a good feeling it is to do something for someone who is less fortunate than I am,” said Linda Booker, Assistant Director of Fuel Assistance. Linda Booker joined Worcester Community

Tayla Cusson

Tayla Cusson is 17 years old. Two years ago, she was encouraged by her Assistant South High School Principal to enter the Alternative 9th-Grade Project—a collaboration between the Worcester Community Action Council, Inc. and the Worcester Public Schools. Tayla needed additional school credits and enrolled in the internship program at WCAC where she

completed coursework via computers and greeted customers at the front desk. Tayla blossomed into a friendly, courteous young woman. Her smile and cooperative attitude were noticed by many staff, and she was soon asked to work directly with the Energy Efficiency division to help with general office responsibilities including filing and photocopying. Tayla then enrolled in the 2006 citywide Summer Jobs for Youth program and continued her internship at WCAC. Because of her outstanding performance, excellent work ethic, and positive energy, last fall the agency hired Tayla to work after school. She has since expanded her skills—one of which was to overcome her fear of making phone calls to vendors. She credits her co-workers—especially Tina Bradford and Cherie Gonyou—with helping her grow professionally. “I’m glad I work here. I didn’t have to find a job--the job found me, and I’ve been luckier than some of the other kids my age who haven’t been able to find interesting jobs.” Tayla’s goal is to become a pediatric nurse. Her younger brother has cystic fibrosis and often needs hospital care. When she visits him in the hospital, she is impressed with the set up of the children’s wing, as well as the friendliness of all the nurses. Although Tayla knows that nursing involves a lot of administrative tasks, she wants to “work more with children than with paper.”


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