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

Support Circles at FARM dinner

April 5, 2013

What’s an easy and fun way to support people in Bloomington working to get out of poverty? Join us on Tuesday, April 23 at FARM for a 3-course dinner. $19.95 per person with $9.95 of that donated to the Circles Initiative. Yes, it’s true that you will have to devour some delicious meatloaf or pasta, mashed potatoes, greens or market veggies and some cobbler for dessert, but just remember that it’s all for a great cause!

Get all of the details by clicking here: Farm dinner flyer

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.

Local Head Start program facing federal budget cuts

February 28, 2013

In today’s Herald-Times:

Funding for about 1,000 Indiana children in Head Start and Early Head Start could also be cut, according to the White House. Locally, the South Central Community Action Program, which operates local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, has already been operating on 19 percent less than it did last year, due to the expected sequestration.

Todd Lare, director of SCCAP, was hoping that money would be restored, but with Friday’s looming decision, he is not feeling hopeful.

“We started the year thinking the issues would all work out,” Lare said. “Now, it looks like that probably isn’t the case.”

“I think it’s easy to talk about closing a few classrooms or not providing transportation, but that’s a lifeline for many children, not only for learning, but having a routine and normalcy that builds toward their long-term school careers,” he said. “I think the impact on individuals is profound. There is no do-over.”

The timing of the cuts is also ironic, especially during a time when the importance of early education is being touted on national and statewide levels, Lare said.

“The national conversation is about extending opportunities for early childhood education,” he said. “It’s sad that (the cuts) come at time when we are actually talking about not scaling back programs.”

In addition to Head Start, SCCAP is also dealing with cuts to programs such as weatherization, community services block grant, Section 8 housing vouchers, individual development accounts and energy assistance.

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.

“Poverty is threatening our very democracy” ——- Tavis Smiley to kick off national lecture tour on poverty in Indianapolis on Jan. 18

January 16, 2013


I attended quite a compelling panel discussion yesterday in Indianapolis, “Poverty in America, From Safety-Net to Reliance,” featuring Tavis Smiley and John Graham, Dean of IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The program began with a pair of SPEA graduate students presenting data showing that poverty in Indiana is worse than the usual government statistics indicate. A couple of the many stats they presented: 1. Per capita income in Indiana declined from 2000 to 2010 and is the lowest among states in our region. 2. Families on food stamps in Marion County grew by 203% from 2000 to 2010 and in the counties surrounding Marion County, it was even worse — 342% growth during that decade.

“Poverty is threatening our threatening our very democracy,” Tavis Smiley said at the beginning of his remarks. “It is now a matter of national security.”

Smiley then quoted former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, “You can either have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few or you can have a democracy.”

Smiley, an IU SPEA graduate, said that 1/2 of people in this country, 150 million Americans, are either in or near poverty. He spoke passionately about his plans to conduct a national Poverty Manifesto tour in which he and Cornel West will visit college campuses around the country.

During these visits, Smiley and West will seek to engage college students to use social media and other means to pressure and convince the Obama administration of two things: 1) the time is now, during Obama’s second term to “stiffen his spine” and make a major policy address on reducing and eradicating poverty, and 2) Obama needs to convene a White House panel on poverty with two goals – cut poverty in half in 10 years and eradicate poverty in 25 years.

Smiley and West are kicking off their national college tour with a free lecture at 7:30 this Friday, Jan. 18 at Clowes Hall at Butler University.

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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