Head Start Recruitment Underway

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Community Action Planning Council’s Head Start program is currently seeking children who will be 3 or 4 by December 1, 2018, for the next school year.

Head Start is a federally funded pre-school program that provides services to families at no cost. Most families must meet income guidelines.  We offer an inclusive setting for children with special needs, hearing, vision and developmental screenings and family support services. Transportation is offered within center boundaries.

It’s not too soon to contact us to schedule a time to complete an application with one of our staff members. Call 315.782.4900, extension 236.

Calling All Champions …

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… “Champions for Change” that is!

Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization and Community Action Planning Council are pleased to announce two exciting training opportunities, made possible in part by Watertown Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI).

Bridges out of Poverty Trainer Certification
Professionals who have familiarity with Bridges out of Poverty, having attended a full-day “Bridges out of Poverty: Strategies for Professionals and Communities” workshop, have an opportunity to become lifetime certified Bridges trainers.  Representatives from all sectors are encouraged to participate, including human services, health care, legal, law enforcement, faith-based, education, business and employment.

This is a three-day training conducted by national Bridges out of Poverty consultants on April 9, 10 and 11.  Participants must attend all three days in order to earn certification.  Seating is limited.  Click here for details and registration link.

Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By World Facilitator Training
Getting Ahead brings the Bridges out of Poverty material to individuals living in poverty by way of a 16-week workshop series.  Professionals who have strong familiarity with Bridges out of Poverty and work for an organization interested in facilitating a Getting Ahead workshop in the future are encouraged to register for this one-day training on April 12.  Seating is extremely limited with priority given to Getting Ahead graduates.  Click here for details and registration link.

For questions, please contact Dawn Cole at Community Action Planning Council at dcole@capcjc.org or 315.782.4900, extension 250.

Community Action Offers Free Tax Preparation

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It’s time to file state and federal income tax returns – a task that can be overwhelming and expensive!  If you’re living on a fixed income and need tax preparation assistance, we can help.

Community Action Planning Council is offering free income tax preparation to low and moderate income households.   Preparation services are available at two locations:

  • Community Action Planning Council – 518 Davidson Street Watertown
    Call 315.782.4900, extension 222 for an appointment

    Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, February 6 – April 12, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
    Saturday appointments available; please call for more information.
  • American Legion – 415 West Street Carthage
    Call 315.493.1545 for an appointment.

    Wednesdays, February 7 – April 11, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

IRS-certified volunteers provide basic income tax return preparation (Forms 1040, 1040-A, 1040-EZ).  Electronic filing and direct deposit are offered.  To qualify for free tax preparation services, household income must not exceed $56,000.  Service is not available to small businesses or military households.   Tax preparation is offered by appointment only.

Individuals seeking free tax preparation services should plan to bring income statements (W-2, unemployment forms, 1099), photo ID, social security cards for all persons in the household, bank routing numbers if filing electronically, form 1095-A if purchased health insurance through the NYS Marketplace, and a copy of last year’s tax return, as well as any other relevant documents.  Last year, Community Action assisted 515 households through the filing process, helping them to qualify for a more than $605,000 in refunds and Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC).

For more information or to make an appointment at the Watertown site, call 315.782.4900, ext. 222. For appointments at the Carthage site, please call 315.493.1545.

Input Needed from Parents

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If you are a New York State resident who has a child aged 12 or under …

If your children are currently in child care, if you are looking for child care, or if you have used child care in the past … 

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  Please take a few minutes to click on the link below and complete a parent survey.  The information we gather will help Child Care Resource & Referral agencies across New York State to improve services to families.

All survey participants who include contact information will be entered to win a $100.00 Visa Gift Card from the Child Care Resource & Referral Network! Community Action will also have 3 monthly drawings for $20 gift cards. 

Your input is very much appreciated and will provide valuable information about community needs.  Data will be reported by state, region, and Jefferson-Lewis community results, and reports will be available through our office to anyone who requests them.

If you don’t have children, please consider passing the survey link along to friends, grandparents, coworkers, and neighbors. 

Click here to take the survey.  Thank you!

 

Watertown Elks Lodge Sponsors Operation Warm Feet

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For many years, Watertown Elks Lodge 496 has sponsored programs to ensure that children in need have appropriate attire for the winter weather.  This year was no exception!  Donations from the membership of Watertown Elks and a grant from the National Elks Foundation sponsored the purchase of 105 children’s boots, hats and mittens.

Staff of the Walmart Supercenter in Watertown gathered up the needed boot sizes and provided discounted pricing.

On behalf of the thousands of children who have been kept warm over many, many North Country winters, we offer our sincere thanks to Watertown Elks Lodge 496 for their longtime support!  And thanks to Walmart for their help coordinating “Operation Warm Feet.”

Pictured (from left) Community Action Family Center Director Mary Jane Mathewson, Watertown Elks Lodge 496 Exalted Ruler Cheryl Clark, and Walmart Community Involvement Specialist Lisa Beutel.

Please Make the Christmas Holiday Brighter for a Child in Need

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Sponsor an Angel today!

Holiday Angels is a collaborative effort of human service agencies, businesses, civic groups and individuals in Jefferson County, working together to ensure that children of low-income families have gifts for Christmas.  Families in need apply for Holiday Angels at various locations within Jefferson County.  Applications are forwarded to Community Action Planning Council.  The child’s first name, along with gender, age, and Christmas wish, are placed on a paper angel.  No other identifying information is included.

Angels are displayed on the Angel Tree at Community Action Planning Council (518 Davidson Street, Watertown) or announced on Tunes 92.5 FM during the Christmas Crusade 4 Kids campaign (now through December 15).

You can sponsor a child by selecting a name and Christmas wish from either the Angel Tree or Tunes 92.5 FM.  Unwrapped gifts valued at $25, along with the paper angel, should be returned by December 18 to the location from which they were selected – either the Angel Tree at Community Action Planning Council or Tunes 92.5 FM studios (242 Washington Street, Suite 4A, Watertown).  Community Action staff will then sort the gifts and provide to partnering agencies for distribution.

Community Action Planning Council coordinates the Holiday Angels program in partnership with a number of community organizations and businesses, including Bernier Carr Group, Catholic Charities, Emerge, Kiwanis, local food pantries, Jreck Subs, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, Tunes 92.5 FM and Watertown Urban Mission.

Thanks to the efforts of the many partners of Holiday Angels and the generosity of the local community, 2,262 children in Jefferson County received gifts last year.  For more information about Holiday Angels, call 315.782.4900, extension 222.

Beat the Winter Blues AND Make a Difference in Your Community!

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Interested in meeting new people?  Want to make a difference in your community?  Consider becoming a volunteer tax preparer.

Community Action Planning Council is seeking volunteers to help provide free income tax preparation services to low to moderate income households in Jefferson County.  Volunteers learn to prepare taxes and make a difference at the same time!

Previous tax preparation experience is not necessary.  Volunteers receive extensive training and earn IRS certification.  Training materials, videos and practice forms are accessible online.  Additional training support is available through the agency’s network of veteran tax preparation volunteers.

Last year, volunteers assisted more than 500 households through the filing process, helping them to collect a total of $605,000 in refunds and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 

For more information, contact Community Action Planning Council at 315.782.4900, ext. 250.  Volunteering is rewarding – and fun.  Call today and find out how you can get involved in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.

10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

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The North Country winter can be tough on the household budget.  Check out 10 tips for preparing for winter that will help you save energy and reduce costs.

  1. Make sure your old light bulbs are replaced with LED bulbs. There is less day light in the winter time, and we all use light bulbs more often. It’s this time of the year where it makes a difference.
  2. Windows are a big factor when cold air comes in. Windows that are not going to be used can be covered in plastic. That will give an extra barrier to the cold coming in.
  3. Plastic also works for your attic door especially if your attic isn’t insulated.  Heat rises and cold sinks; it sinks right into your house.
  4. Doors are also a big factor when it comes to air coming in. Put a door sweep or a wrapped up towel below the door where there is typically a gap.
  5. If you see a hole on the outside of the house where wires or pipes come in, put caulk in the hole so cold air doesn’t find its way into the house through just a small hole.
  6. If you used a window air conditioner for the summer, make sure you take it out. Putting plastic over the window and air conditioner unit won’t always work. The air conditioner is made to pump air into your house so it has great ventilation, which works against you in the winter.
  7. If you have a second floor or room that isn’t being used, close it off.  You can put plastic on the windows and close the door.  Keep the heat just high enough so the pipes don’t freeze in any unused areas of the house.
  8. To lower your energy cost every month, lower the heat in your home. Setting the heat to 68 instead of 72 can dramatically lower your energy bill.
  9. Consider pipe wrap on your hot water heater pipes. The heat that is expelled as the water goes through the pipes will lose less heat if it’s insulated. That means your water heater won’t have to work as hard.
  10. Make sure your furnace is cleaned and tuned. Just a little can make a difference. Not only will it lower your energy cost, it will make it safer too. The last thing you need is for your furnace to go out in the middle of the winter just because it’s dirty.

Getting Ahead Graduates Inspire Human Services Professionals

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Last week, Community Action Planning Council was joined by staff members from Northern Regional Center for Independent Living (NRCIL), Watertown Urban Mission and the Volunteer Transportation Center for a “Bridges out of Poverty” workshop.  The group of 110 professionals explored the Bridges material to include mental models of economic class, causes of poverty, hidden rules, language, household dynamics and tips for applying Bridges concepts.

The high point of the day was a panel discussion featuring graduates from “Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By World,” a workshop for individuals who lack resources.  Tammy, Community Action’s Getting Ahead facilitator, introduced the panel and invited them to talk about the Getting Ahead experience.

Pictured, from left: Getting Ahead graduates Michael, Karen, Sue, Orales and J.J. and Getting Ahead facilitator Tammy.

Michael announced that he recently gained sustainable wage employment with the City of Watertown.  He continues to work on building a positive credit history and is inching closer to his future story of buying a house.  Karen gave a passionate testimonial about the effectiveness of Head Start and shared that she plans to volunteer in Miss Amy’s classroom.  Sue regaled the group with her experience participating in the Race against Poverty, during which she conquered her fear and climbed a rock wall.  Orales credited Getting Ahead with helping him to overcome depression and make plans for the future.  Since graduation, he has started a savings account and is working on getting his driver’s license.  J.J. told the audience that he was painfully shy before being part of Getting Ahead – a forum where he gained a strong support system and the courage to hone his public speaking skills.  He has since enrolled in Toastmasters and is well on his way to becoming a master public speaker.

The graduates were extremely effective helping workshop participants to understand what Getting Ahead is all about … and bravely sharing their personal stories.  At the conclusion of their comments, the audience leaped to its feet, offering a hearty standing ovation and cheers of congratulations!

The next Getting Ahead workshop begins on November 7.  To learn more about Getting Ahead, check out the flyer or call 315.782.4900, extension 250.

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” –Mark Twain

Calling All Businesses! Proudly Support Child Care Professionals!

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2018 is fast approaching, and Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project is currently looking to add new businesses to its Early Childhood Professional’s Card program!  This program is designed to bring awareness and support to the early childhood field by recognizing those who work with young children as professionals in a New York State licensed or registered facility.  These professionals are educated, motivated, and committed to providing quality care to young children that supports all areas of development while also providing them with a safe and nurturing environment in which they can thrive.

Participating businesses will receive a window cling that shows you are an active supporter of Child Care Professionals, recognition of your support through our provider mailings and social media and advertising exposure at no cost to your business!

For more information or to become a participating business, please call Emily Cleaver at 315.782.4900, ext. 237.