A Perfect Day for Pinwheels

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“All children deserve great childhoods because children are our future,” is the bold line we see when we visit the Prevent Child Abuse America website. Community Action Planning Council strives to do our part in the community to give children a brighter future through our programs. It was a no-brainer that we would come together in support of Pinwheels for Prevention.

With the leadership of the Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project (JLCP) staff, agency members came together today, a perfect sunny and windy day, to initiate our part of the cause by planting our very own Pinwheel Garden. With the assistance of an enthusiastic little girl, multiple Pinwheels have been planted outside of our main entrance to the building to show the community we are in support of the cause to prevent child abuse.

For more information about Pinwheels for Prevention, and how you can help, visit their website at

Provider Appreciation Day

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May 10 is a day to recognize your child care provider for all the invaluable work they do for young children.  Child Care Provider Appreciation Day is recognized nationally and we want to make sure our Jefferson and Lewis County providers are also being recognized for their hard work and dedication to providing quality care for our community’s youngest.

This years theme is “You Are Making A Difference Every Day”.   Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project is hoping to collect 100 “Thank You’s” from families who appreciate all that their child care provider has done for their child and family, big or small.  This thank you can be in the form of a picture, video and/or a personalized statement.  All thank you’s will be used during our Provider Appreciation event to let child care providers know they are valued by their families and community.  Click here to post your comments or share a picture / video.

Sessions To Be Held for Watertown’s Comprehensive Plan

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Community Action Planning Council will be hosting one of six open house sessions to discuss the future of the City of Watertown! Please join us and let your voice be heard! We will be meeting from 10:00am – 2:00pm on Wednesday, January 30th at our main building located at 518 Davidson Street. Our local partner, Urban Mission, will be holding a session the following day from 11:30am-3:00pm. For more information, please visit www.PlanWatertown.com.

Universal Pre-K Expands to Sackets Harbor

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Community Action Planning Council is pleased and excited to announce the growth of our Pre-K program in January 2019.  Joining Watertown and Indian River School Districts, Sackets Harbor Central School will now house our newest Pre-K classroom.

Sackets Harbor Pre-K will run from 8:00am to 1:30pm. Classes are scheduled to start January 14, 2018.  Children must be 4 years of age on or before December 1, 2018 to enroll.  Applications can be submitted online or through the district office of Sackets Harbor.  The first selection will be made Friday, December 21, 2018 and the second on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

As with our other Pre-K classes, students will be taught using a Creative Curriculum through a Comprehensive Preschool Program.  Transportation will be available through the regular bus runs, and parent pick-ups will be at 1:30pm.  Meals will be provided to children.

For more information regarding our newest Pre-K classroom, please call (315) 646-3575.


VITA Gets Ready for Tax Season

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The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less. Each year a dedicated group of volunteers spend countless hours ensuring the success of Community Action’s Volunteer Income Tax Program. Their efforts in identifying eligible tax credits and maximum refunds help to increase the financial capacity of families which, in turn, stimulates the local economy. For more information on the VITA program contact Mary J Mathewson 315-782-4900 ext. 296.

Continued Success for ECP Discount Cards

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It is the 3rd year for the Early Childhood Professionals discount cards. We have had a great response from providers, and they appreciate the recognition and incentives offered by their fellow small business colleagues. This is a wonderful example of local people helping each other on a business to business level.

Community Action’s Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project (JLCP) would like to extend an invitation to any interested local businesses to join us in support of our community’s Early Childhood Professionals. Advertising exposure for your business is a bonus in participating. Check out the information below.


Your Invitation to Attend a Child Care Discussion

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Jefferson-Lewis Childcare Project invites you to participate in a discussion about child care in our community. What are we doing for parents and children? What is the availability and how are the options for families? What could we improve? Are there challenges?

We are pleased to welcome Addie Jenne and Mark Walczyk to the table, to share thoughts and ideas about this important issue. Child care is not only an education concern: it’s a workforce support. With economic growth comes the need to assess and improve our supply of high quality programs, so parents can get to work and children can be ready for success in school.

The discussion will be held on Tuesday, October 16 from 6:30-7:30 pm in the Starbuck Elementary School Cafeteria at 430 East Hoard Street in Watertown.  Click here to download the flyer.

We welcome questions before the event. Please send them to Cathy Brodeur at cbrodeur@capcjc.org by October 15. There will be some opportunity in this session for questions and comments “from the floor” about your child care views and experience.

Please RSVP to JLCP@capcjc.org by October 15, so we can prepare. This is a wonderful opportunity to do some planning for the future of child care in our community with our next NY Assembly Representative, and to continue the effort toward great outcomes for children.

Board Member Election Underway

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Community Action Planning Council is governed by a Board of Directors, comprised of representation in each of three sectors: individuals living in poverty, elected public officials or their designees, and members of the private sector.

Low-income representatives are especially important in developing strategies that address the causes and conditions of poverty in our community. Elected for five-year terms, these representatives look out for the best interest of low-income individuals in Jefferson County.

An election is underway to fill a vacant five-year term, representing the low-income sector.  The general public is invited to participate in the democratic process.  Eligible voters must be at least 18 years of age, reside in Jefferson County and be a member of a low-income household.  Eligible voters are invited to read the biographies below and then stop into Community Action Planning Council, located at 518 Davidson Street to cast their vote.  Ballots are available October 1 – 5, October 9 – 12 and October 15, 8 AM to 4 PM daily.

The following two candidates are vying for a single vacant seat on the board of directors of Community Action:

Juliane Aubertine graduated from Getting Ahead in August 2018. She credits the Getting Ahead program with helping her and her peers to build self-confidence and inspiring more active involvement in the community. Juliane has experience volunteering at the library in genealogy, gathering data for the census in Lewis County, and participating in the work study program in the Student Activities Office at JCC. A single parent who lives in Watertown, Juliane has a wealth of life experience, all of which has helped her to gain an “understanding for all sorts of people.” She describes herself as well-spoken, open-minded and artistic. When asked why she wants to serve on the board, Juliane said, “I have taken steps to improve my life and the lives of those around me – including mental health, addiction and poverty – and will continue to do so.”


John Bonventre graduated from Getting Ahead in March 2018.  He describes the Getting Ahead experience as “a firecracker which when lit, ignites,” crediting the program with giving him a new perspective on poverty and helping him to recognize that change begins from the inside.  A former pastor and chef, John has experience volunteering at Community Action, lending a hand during special events, such as Stuff the Bus.  He regularly speaks publicly on behalf of Getting Ahead and served as the Chair of the Transportation Work Group as part of Watertown’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI).  A certified Getting Ahead Facilitator, John lives in Watertown with his wife.  When asked why he wants to serve on the board, John said, “I want to share and help my community grow.”



For questions or comments about the election process, please contact Lisann Babcock at 315.782.4900, ext. 252.


ERN: An Innovative Partnership Comes to Jefferson County

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Community Action Planning Council continues its mission to advance community prosperity by introducing the Employer Resource Network (ERN) to Jefferson County.  The ERN is designed to increase employee retention by using a Success Coach as a means of support to build stronger and longer lasting teams.

Check out the Q&A section below to learn more about the Jefferson County ERN.

Q: What exactly is an ERN?
A: An ERN is a collaborative effort of employers and community-based organizations that share resources and expenses associated with building the skills and capacities of workers.   Participating organizations form an ERN Advisory Council, meeting monthly to exchange ideas and best practices, review outcome data, and explore strategies for marketing and member recruitment.  Based on a national model, the local ERN is being established under the leadership of Jefferson County Department of Employment and Training in consultation with Schenectady Works, a non-profit organization serving the Capital Region, with funding support from the Watertown Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI). 

Q:  How does an ERN work?
A: The ERN model is simple yet effective.  Businesses are invited to purchase “shares” of a Success Coach who comes to their facilities on a regular basis to assist employees in working through a multitude of issues and finding resources to address their needs.  The primary role of the Success Coach is to facilitate solutions that ensure a high level of productivity in the workplace.  Employers who utilize the services of a Success Coach report dramatic increases in retention, equating to significant savings in recruitment and training costs. 

Q:  How do I know if an ERN is right for my business / organization?
A:  If your employees are chronically late to work or absent due to non-work related issues, come to you with personal, non-work related problems, or quit due to difficulties with transportation, child care or family issues … then participation in an ERN will benefit your business.

Q:  What does a Success Coach do?
A:  A Success Coach is a confidential resource, providing on-site, face-to-face assistance to staff who are in crisis and/or under-resourced.  The Success Coach serves as a conduit to social services, community programs and local agencies and provides employees with a mix of rapid problem resolution and coaching.  Some of the challenges the Success Coach can help an employee work through include: financial / debt, transportation, family issues, workplace conflict, substance abuse and attendance. 

Q:  How does an ERN reduce turnover and save money?
A:  An ERN saves time for HR and supervisory staff and helps prevent otherwise valued employees from quitting or being terminated due to personal problems. ERN companies report increased retention and greater ability to compete for high-quality employees.  A monthly statistical report allows you to track how ERN membership pays for itself many times over.

Q:  How can I find out more about being part of the Jefferson County ERN?
A:  Contact Cathy Brodeur at Community Action Planning Council, cbrodeur@capcjc.org or 315.782.4900, extension 240.      

Summer Meals 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 June 25 through August 17, children have access to free, nutritious meals at 31 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 27 sites; the remaining four sites are operated by Watertown City School District.

In an effort to build greater awareness of the program, Community Action Planning Council and Flower Memorial Library are hosting a Summer Food Service Program Celebration on July 11, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Flower Memorial Library, located at 229 Washington Street in Watertown.  It is a great opportunity to learn more about the Summer Food Service Program and visit the Watertown Farm & Craft Market.  Families, community leaders, elected officials and the media are welcome to attend.  Local organizations will be on hand to share information and to host activities and games for children.  Participating agencies include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, WPBS-TV, Jefferson County Public Health, the North Country Prenatal Perinatal Council, and many others.  The centerpiece of the day’s activities is, of course, a nutritious lunch for children, served between 11:30 AM and 12:30 PM.

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