Bridges out of Poverty Workshop September 11 & 12, 2019

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Community Action Planning Council is pleased to offer Bridges out of Poverty Workshop delivered by Jodi Pfarr, National trainer and subject expert on September 11 & 12, 2019, 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM each day.
Registration begins at 8:30 AM.

Cost to attend – Free (includes lunch & workbook) 

This workshop is a comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from the individual to the systemic level. Participants will receive specific strategies for improving outcomes for people living in poverty.

For more information and to register for this amazing opportunity call 315-782-4900 ext 257.

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Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World

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Living in poverty is no easy trick.  One must be masterful at juggling multiple challenges with limited resources.  Juggling requires careful concentration; it requires living in the moment, leaving little room to think about or plan for the future.  When we live in poverty, getting by takes every ounce of energy.

“Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World,” an innovative workshop series, built from the “Bridges out of Poverty” framework, can help by providing those living in poverty with a safe environment in which to step outside of the problems of everyday life … and look to the future.  Over the course of 16 weeks, groups of 12 to 14 participants—referred to as investigators—come together, along with one to two facilitators, to investigate poverty in their own lives and in their communities.  Getting Ahead provides the tools to encourage investigators to write their own future story, and come to grips with the environmental, circumstantial, and psychological challenges they face, along with the resources they have – or lack.

Pictured: Getting Ahead graduates and supporters  (May 2019).

Based on a national model, Getting Ahead was launched in the North Country in 2017 with overwhelming support from the community, most notably the Race Against Poverty, hosted by Jefferson Leadership Institute Class of 2017. 

To date, ten groups totaling 88 individuals have graduated from Getting Ahead.  These graduates come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, each one having battled their way through adversity to come to where they are today.  Individuals from both graduating classes have found themselves successful in continuing their journey to staying ahead.  Goals obtained vary to fit each individual’s needs. Some of the graduates have found full-time jobs with benefits and can now comfortably care for their families.  Some are pursuing educational accomplishments by completing their high school equivalency, enrolling at Jefferson Community College, and even choosing a new career path by attending tractor trailer school.  Others have simply learned to come out of their shell to be more involved in the community, with a few stepping up to actually become Getting Ahead Facilitators themselves.  Whether it’s bettering themselves financially through new career pursuits, taking back control of their lives by finding courage to leave an abusive relationship,  becoming an asset to the community by volunteering at different organizations, or teaching others to save money through couponing and simply spreading the word of Getting Ahead, we can without a doubt say this program has produced successful graduates. 

Because the Getting Ahead process continues well beyond participants’ graduation, it needs to be championed by the entire community in order to be truly successful.  Employers must be aware and give pause when they see “Getting Ahead graduate” on an applicant’s resume.  Employers would do well to learn about Bridges out of Poverty constructs in order to better understand and maximize the potential of their under-resourced staff.  In fact, nationwide, several employers have sponsored the cost of Getting Ahead workshops or have otherwise promoted Getting Ahead, because they recognize the investment it brings to their own business as well as their entire community. The possibilities for employers, business people, and other community leaders to get involved are endless – from sponsoring the workshops to raising awareness about the series in the community to assisting with job coaching, mentoring, or pairing graduates with employment opportunities. 

The next Getting Ahead workshop will be offered September 18, 2019 to January 8, 2020 at Community Action Planning Council, funded in part by Watertown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI).  Click here for more information.  Workshops are offered in partnership with Community Action Planning Council, Watertown Urban Mission and the Volunteer Transportation Center. 

Look for an additional session Fall/Winter of 2019.

For more information or to find out how you can help others “get ahead,” call 315.782.4900, extension 257.

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Local Non-Profits Team Up to Help Recruit Foster Parents Educational Lunch & Learn Session Offered

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The Children’s Home of Jefferson County (CHJC) and Community Action Planning Council (CAPC) are joining forces to raise awareness of North Country children in need of Foster Homes. CHJC’s Fostering Futures Program will provide a Lunch-and-Learn Informational session on Monday, June 24, 2019, at CAPC. The session begins at 11:30am. A light lunch will be provided for all attendees.


The need for new Foster Parents is extremely great, especially for older children, teens and sibling groups. Foster Parents provide temporary care for children unable to live with their birth families or guardians, or to those who have been abused or neglected and/or have behavioral challenges and special needs. Foster Families provide an opportunity for the child to live in a family setting, attend school, and be active members of the community, while awaiting to be returned to their biological families or for adoption.


All prospective Foster Parents are required to complete a 10-week certification program, provided through CHJC’s Fostering Futures Program. This training helps prospective Foster Parents make informed decisions about continuing on in the Program. It also helps them learn how to provide structure and supervision for children in their care, and to work with them at various levels of care. To assist in times of crisis, prospective Foster Parents are also trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. The overall design of the Program’s training model promotes growth in both the Foster Family and the children in care. To ensure a continuum of learning, once certified, Foster Parents are required to attend ongoing trainings.


For more information or if you are interested in attending the luncheon, please contact Rebecca Fern, CHJC Fostering Futures Program Manager, at or (315) 777-9652.

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Summer Food Program for Kids

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When school is out, children lose access to free and reduced meal programs, putting a strain on the family grocery bill.  That’s where the Summer Food Service Program comes in!  Beginning July 1 through August 16, children have access to free, nutritious meals at 29 sites in Jefferson County.  Free meals are available to all children 18 years old and under (up to age 21 if disabled).  Click on the links below for meal sites in your community.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), administers the Summer Food Service Program at the federal level, while the New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers the program at the state level.  Locally, the program is operated by Community Action Planning Council and Watertown City School District.  As a program sponsor, Community Action Planning Council is coordinating meal preparation and delivery to 24 sites; the remaining five sites are operated by Watertown City School District.

boys eating outside

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request a form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities, may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

For more information about the Summer Food Service Program, call 315.782.4900, extension 255.

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NNY Community Foundation Support Critical to Food Pantry

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Can you imagine lacking the resources to buy enough food for your family? Access to food pantries is especially critical during situations like this. The Food Pantry at Community Action Planning Council has been able to provide food packages equivalent to 86,910 meals from October 2018 to April 2019.

Thanks to the generous donation of $1,500 from Northern New York Community Foundation, our selves were stocked with nutritious food, including a variety of canned vegetables, pasta, protein and soup. 

Our pantry at Community Action Planning Council receives financial support from a variety of sources, including the Food Bank of Central New York, the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP), the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and the Northern New York Community Foundation, as well as donations and food drives coordinated by area businesses and individuals.

Visitors to the food pantry are provided with a five-day supply of food (three meals per day) for each member of the household. Food packages contain a variety of food items in keeping with nutrition guidelines from the Food Bank of Central New York. For more information about the food pantry or other Community Action services, please contact 315.782.4900, extension 257.

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Jefferson County Board of Legislators proclaim Community Action Month

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On August 20, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act which created a variety of programs, including Community Action Agencies, as part of his War on Poverty. He knew then as we know now, that the war against poverty must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House.

Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County was established in 1966 to wage the war on poverty in Jefferson County promoting self-sufficiency for those of limited income, ensuring that all residents are able to live in dignity; by implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and living conditions of the impoverished; by providing support and instruction for everyone in need of assistance; and by being a major voice of reason in establishing welfare system reforms.

Community Action remains committed to helping families achieve economic security by providing a broad range of services that meet the unique needs of each family – and our community.

On May 7, the Jefferson County Board of Legislators made a proclamation in recognition of Community Action month. 

The festivities conclude on May 9, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project, a program of Community Action Planning Council, will host a Child Care Provider Appreciation Celebration. On May 13, the agency will host a brunch to recognize the dedicated tax preparation volunteers for their outstanding efforts.  On May 23 with Grow with Community Action, a special open house event for low-income families, highlighting healthy habits, such as growing and preparing vegetables.

Last year, Community Action Planning Council helped better the lives of 5,964 individuals by providing essential services and life-changing opportunities, including early childhood education, family development, emergency food assistance, vocational education, job readiness supports, child care referrals, provider training, weatherization services, tax preparation, and more.

Despite budget cuts, shrinking resources, and increased demands for services during these challenging economic times, Community Action Planning Council has been remarkably successful assisting a broad cross-section of our the local population – families, children, students, senior citizens, military, veterans, single-parents, and anyone seeking an opportunity to achieve economic security.

For more information about Community Action programs or special events, please contact Claudia Whitmire at 315-782-4900, extension 250.

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Community Action Welcomes New Mascot

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On Friday, May 3rd, Community Action staff and students were greeted by our new Mascot: Cappy, the St. Bernard. Staff members were treated to popcorn to celebrate Cappy’s “Gotcha Day.”

The idea for the mascot was developed by the Marketing Committee last year, and the final conception was realized this week, just in time for Community Action Month!

Cappy was chosen as a St. Bernard after careful consideration of many other animal options to represent the agency. The St. Bernard breed of dog is known to be gentle, loving, loyal and watchful. For Community Action, those qualities speak volumes. Cappy will help encourage the mission and vision of Community Action, and represent the agency at future events. Welcome aboard, Cappy!

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Early Childhood Professionals Complete Training Course

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Six early childhood professionals recently completed a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential preparatory course offered by Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project at Community Action Planning Council. The group attended weekly classes from September to April. The CDA training program offers an opportunity for individuals working with young children to expand their knowledge, improve their practices, and grow as professionals. Training topics include child growth and development, program management, and professionalism.

In order to earn the CDA credential, candidates must also demonstrate competency through preparation of a professional portfolio and observation of their work with young children.

The next CDA class is scheduled to begin in September, 2019.

Community Action Planning Council would like to congratulate these dedicated individuals and wish them success as they continue their careers in the early childhood field.

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Community Action at work!

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The Annual Report for 2018 is now available. The report highlights outcomes associated with each of the agency’s program areas: Head Start/Pre-K, Housing & Energy Services, Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project and the Family Center.

As noted in the report, Community Action served a total of 5,964 unduplicated individuals – or 2,083 families – during the course of the year. The issues relating to poverty are complex and require a comprehensive approach. Even though many of our customers access multiple services, we count them only once during a given year.

The Annual Report for 2018 provides a brief snapshot of the many services offered at Community Action. For more information, please contact us and schedule a tour…see Community Action at work.

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2019 Needs Assessment is now available

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Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, Inc. recently conducted an agency-wide assessment of community needs.  The assessment document will serve as a foundation for the agency’s strategic planning process, slated to begin in 2021.

The community needs assessment is comprised of data from a variety of sources, such as focus groups and surveys of agency constituencies, as well as statistical data from sources, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, and NYS Department of Education.   The data was analyzed and a list of community needs was compiled categorized by topic:  Jefferson County Poverty Profile, Transportation, Child Care, Disability Services and Substance Abuse.  The assessment document including the findings including the results of a recent customer satisfaction survey was reviewed by the agency’s Board of Directors in April.  The agency-wide assessment is complemented by program-specific assessment documents compiled by Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project and Head Start.

Community members are welcome to review the assessment materials, all of which are available here.

For more information about Community Action Planning Council or the assessment process, please contact Claudia Whitmire at 315-782-4900, extension 250.

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