First State recognizes Community Action Month

In observance of Community Action Month, Sussex County Council paid tribute to First State Community Action Agency for its unending work in the Sussex community and the state of Delaware. From left: FSCAA public relations specialist Kaneisha Trott; FSCAA Executive Director Bernice Edwards; and Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent.

GEORGETOWN – First State Community Action Agency is celebrating Community Action Month, dedicated to recognizing the success of the national Community Action Network.

America’s Community Action Agencies connect millions of children and families to greater opportunity, transforming their lives and making our communities — and our nation— stronger.

This month, First State will be engaging in programs and events that showcase our innovative work throughout local communities in Delaware.

“Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” said Bernice Edwards, FSCAA Executive Director.  “The Community Action Partnership Network offers insight to leaders looking to understand what is working on the ground to help families thrive — creating smarter solutions that can be put to work within communities across the country.”

“This past year, our agency has served almost 6,000 families in Delaware and empowered them to attain self-sufficiency,” Ms. Edwards added.

More than 10,000 Delawareans benefit yearly from the support and services First State provides.  In the past year, First State has helped 418 Delawareans obtain meaningful employment and 184 individuals attain certified skills training.

First State has provided academic support, mentorship, and skills training to more than 476 youth, as well as compassionate assistance to over 200 home-bound seniors in the state.  Over 460 individuals have received housing counseling with the goal of attaining homeownership status and 66 foreclosures were avoided.  653 individuals have dedicated more than 5,398 volunteer hours in revitalizing and improving local neighborhoods.

“Our goal is to be a hand up and not a hand out, teaching the individuals in the low-income communities how to become successful with the tools that we need,” said Ms. Edward in addressing Sussex County Council at its May 15 meeting. “That is what we have been doing and that is what we will continue to do, with the help and the support of the council. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

“Thank you to you and for all your group does,” said Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent, who presented FSCAA with a tribute on behalf of the council.

On May 1, the Delaware House of Representatives presented a tribute to First State Community Action Agency recognizing the month of May as Community Action Month in Delaware. Pictured lfrom left: First State’s Vice Chair Anne Farley, Ph.D, Delaware State Reps. James “J.J.” Johnson and Ruth Briggs King, First State Executive Director Bernice Edwards, and Rep. Harvey Kenton.

The agency has worked to provide consumer energy education and to make energy efficient home improvements and eliminate unsafe hazards in more than 1,140 homes.

Furthermore, First State has assisted 285 individuals with case management support and 3,647 individuals in crisis with emergency services such as food, rent and utilities assistance.

“Our work changes lives and strengthens our entire community,” Ms. Edwards said.

To celebrate its success and raise awareness in the community, First State will host a number of events and activities including the 5th annual miniature golf tournament on May 22 in Rehoboth Beach and the Senior Companion Volunteer Recognition ceremony May 23 in Dover.  First State hopes to engage community partners, donors, volunteers, and the community at large in efforts to fight poverty, empower low-income residents, and improve local neighborhoods.

For more information on these and other events and activities, visit www.firststatecaa.org.

First State Community Action Agency was established in 1965 to create opportunities in Sussex County, Delaware. It is a member of the Community Action Network, originally created in 1964.

First State expanded its services in 1993 to serve low-income residents in Kent and New Castle counties, providing a range of services from housing counseling, case management, emergency services, job training and employment, youth after-school, and senior programs.

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