SCCAP Head Start accepting applications for fall enrollment

July 3, 2013

Open enrollment has begun for Monroe County children to participate in Head Start at the South Central Community Action Program for the 2013-14 school year.

SCCAP offers 3-1/2 hour classes and 6-hour classes for low income families free of charge, as well as extended day classrooms that are open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for families who are working or going to school for $30.00 a week. Available options include Early Head Start for infants and toddlers six weeks to three years of age and Head Start for children three to five years of age.

SCCAP will hold a Head Start Enrollment Open House on July 11 from 2 to 5 p.m. where parents can look at classrooms and learning centers, talk with teachers and schedule intake appointments. The open house will be held at the main SCCAP office at 1500 W. 15th Street in Bloomington.

Early Head Start and Extended Day classrooms will begin the school year on Aug. 7 and other Head Start classes will begin on Aug. 12. For further information on enrollment including documentation needed to enroll your child, please call 812-334-8350, ext. 215 or email janet@insccap.org.


Sequestration forces cutbacks in Monroe County Head Start services for low-income children and families

April 3, 2013

Low-income children and families in Monroe County will soon feel the impact of sequestration cutbacks that are forcing the South Central Community Action Program to reduce its Head Start services and workforce.

As a result of federal sequestration, SCCAP must cut 5.1 percent from its Head Start budget, which amounts to $152,000. The impact of this cut is intensified by the timing of sequestration. Although the 5.1 percent cut applies to SCCAP’s annual Head Start budget, the agency has just seven months remaining in its program year, ending Nov. 30, in which the $152,000 in savings much be achieved.

The SCCAP Board of Directors and Head Start Parent Council voted Monday night to make the following cuts, which must be approved by the Head Start Regional Office in Chicago before they go into effect.

• Elimination of 12 slots for children ages 3 to 5 in Head Start. Closure of the program’s Head Start classroom at Lakeview Elementary. In addition to daily education in classrooms, this includes health and nutrition, special needs, family and social services for the children and families.

• Elimination of 25 home-based slots for children up to age 3 in Early Head Start. This involves home-based education and other services for children, as well as prenatal education and services for pregnant mothers.

• Suspension of Head Start transportation service at the end of this school year (currently157 children receive transportation). There will be no transportation services for summer or for the 2013-14 school year.

• Closure of Head Start for summer at an earlier date. The current Head Start school year will end on April 26, rather than its regular date of May 23.

• Head Start will be cut from 108 students to 36 students during summer 2013. This will involve a reduction from six summer classrooms to two.

• 15 SCCAP Head Start employees will lose their jobs. This will include teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, home visitors, managerial and administrative staff. In addition, more Head Start employees than usual will be laid off for the summer and the layoffs will come sooner. These summer layoffs, impacting 39 employees, will begin on May 3.

In planning these cuts, SCCAP leaders worked many hours to try to limit their impact on a program intended to help children from difficult economic circumstances to get a good start in school and a better chance on a life in which they break the cycle of poverty.

“It’s hard to cut without impacting families and kids,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “We tried to make these cuts in a way that would limit the number of Head Start slots lost, so that as many Monroe County children as possible continue to receive comprehensive child development services that will improve their lives.”

“It is difficult and sad to have to eliminate the positions of committed and caring Head Start employees, some who have worked here for many years, not because they were making a lot of money but because they valued contributing to the lives of countless young children,” Lare said. “It is so unfortunate that in making federal funding cuts, our elected officials are unable or unwilling to avoid cuts that hurt our most vulnerable citizens in this time of economic distress for so many.”

Lare and other SCCAP representatives met last week with Congressman Todd Young to discuss their concerns about sequestration cuts. Young told the group that members of Congress were not told in advance of the impact specific cuts from sequestration would have on their districts.


Free energy efficiency improvements available

February 19, 2013

The South Central Community Action Program is seeking applicants from Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties for its Weatherization Program.

The Weatherization Program reduces energy consumption in low-income households and insures that each client has a safe, operating heat source. Each client receives a furnace inspection and an energy audit. SCCAP uses private contractors to repair or replace heat sources, install insulation and seal the homes. Homeowners and renters are eligible. The program is federally funded and is free to local participants.

“This is a great time to apply for our Weatherization Program,” SCCAP Executive Director Todd Lare said. “While we sometimes have long waiting lists for Weatherization, we currently have worked through most of the names on our lists and are seeking new applicants.

“The Weatherization Program allows households to reduce their utility bills while being safer and more comfortable in their homes,” Lare said. “On average, across the nation, it reduces energy costs by more than $400 per household each year.”

To be eligible to have your owner-occupied or rental home weatherized, your household income must not exceed 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines. The income limits by family size are: 1 person in household – up to $22,340; 2 people – $30,260; 3 people – $38,180; 4 people – $46,100; 5 people – $54,020; 6 people – $61,940. For apartment buildings to be weatherized, two-thirds of the occupants must be eligible for the program and all units in the building must be weatherized. To apply, call 812-339-3447, ext. 275.

SCCAP is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for low-income citizens to move toward personal and economic independence. Its programs include: Affordable Rental Housing, the Circles Initiative, Energy Assistance, Family Development, Head Start, Individual Development Accounts, Section 8 Housing and Weatherization.


Let’s get this blog rolling!

August 28, 2012

Hello, everyone!

After a year of working at the Indiana University School of Education, I’ve returned to the South Central Community Action Program as its director of communications and development. I had a great experience at IU, but realized that I missed trying every day to help make a difference for local people working to escape poverty.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to return to SCCAP and work with the caring and committed people here. This is my second day back and I already have a couple of exciting new projects I’m working on.

This blog has been inactive since I left SCCAP, but starting today we’ll resume having regular updates on people, programs and activities related to this organization and poverty in Brown, Monroe, Morgan and Owen counties. So, please stop by when you have a chance and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

We’ll also continue to post updates and photos on SCCAP’s Facebook page.

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Friday photos – Fairview shoes

October 8, 2010

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These are a couple of photos of some of the 30 children at Fairview Elementary School in Bloomington who each received two pairs of shoes from SCCAP last week. One photos shows the flying paper and boxes as the kids excitedly put their shoes on. The other photo shows the children showing off their shoes together once they had them on.

The children had been fitted for the shoes a couple of weeks earlier by staff from Smith’s Shoes, which provided the shoes at a discount.  While this was happening, some of the children said they’d never before been fitted for a pair of shoes, which seems like just one small but telling indication of a life with far fewer family resources than many of us experienced as children.

A bigger indicator is that many local children don’t have decent shoes to wear to school. Even in cold winter weather, many wear thongs, other cheap sandals or broken-down shoes with holes. If you think back to being a kid yourself, wearing shoes that looked obviously different or cheaper than those worn by other students would have seemed like quite an embarrassment for many of us.

But for some kids, this is their everyday experience. I wonder how that affects how they are perceived and treated by classmates and even some teachers, and more importantly how it impacts their perceptions of themselves, their abilities and their future.

I’ve heard that at Fairview there is such a strong majority of children who are from low-income families that it’s not as big of a deal if you don’t have the “right” shoes or “right” clothes, although I’ve also heard stories of many low-income parents who make tremendous efforts to find and afford clothes that make their kids look like everybody else’s at any school. Of course, clustering so many kids from low-income families together in one school contributes to putting these children at risk in ways far more significant than any perceptions driven by shoes and clothes.  

But at least right now, this story of cool new kicks for 30 Fairview kids who were identified to have a strong need for decent school shoes is nothing but a happy one. Besides the thrill of trying on for the first time probably the best shoes they’ve ever owned, the children’s joy of wearing the new shoes at school has been obvious. One Fairview administrator said students have been coming up to her in the hall, one after another and time after time, to proudly show her their new shoes. It’s a small blessing in the bigger scheme of things, but for some of the kids who may not have much, it seems like a lot.


SCCAP is seeking Head Start employees

November 12, 2009

The South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) is seeking to fill several positions as a result of receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand its Head Start program.  Read the rest of this entry »


Safety-Net is back

November 9, 2009

November Safety-Net

Safety-Net (PDF of new issue: SF Nov 2009) is a quarterly multi-agency newspaper sponsored by the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) that addresses issues confronted by those in our community experiencing difficulties related to poverty, lack of or potential loss of housing, under-employment or lack of employment, inadequate health care, as well as other needs that can be addressed by a caring community.

The goal of the newspaper is to foster a positive interaction within our community between people that have resources that they can share with those who have fewer resources and want to cross the bridge to a better life. Such positive interactions already exist in our community, and one of the goals of this publication is to increase awareness of what is being done, and what must be done, and also to foster more caring interactions between our community members.

 Readers will learn what SCCAP and the other local social service/non-profit agencies, the city of Bloomington and Monroe County governments do to help those in need, and how you can volunteer to help.

You can check out the 16-page November edition by clicking here: SF Nov 2009.

There are stories about all of SCCAP’s program on pages 5-7.  Five thousand hard copies of this newspaper will be available at SCCAP and other locations around the community later this week.

We give our thanks to Safety-Net Editor David White and page designer Evan Wade! They donated many hours of their time to make this publication possible.  We also thank Mayor Mark Kruzan and others who contributed articles to the November issue, which is focused on poverty and homelessness. Also, thanks to Joe Lee for his editorial cartoons.


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