Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World

Posted by Claudia Whitmire in CAPC News - (Comments Off on Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World)

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.

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.

Summer Food Program for Kids

Posted by Claudia Whitmire in CAPC News - (Comments Off on Summer Food Program for Kids)
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.