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"LEADER" Online: Vol. 10, No. 1

Ohio Head Start Wins Best Practices Award
with Spanish Active Parenting

The Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Area Community Action Organization (CMACAO) will receive two more John Glenn Best Practices Awards for its “Los Padres Activos De Hoy” Head Start program and for its “On the Streets” Community Outreach initiative, taking the total of Best Practice Awards for the agency to five.

The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA), through a partnership of the John Glenn Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, will present the awards at its conference. Community Action Agencies provide a range of services and opportunities to assist low-income people in achieving self-sufficiency such as Head Start, HEAP and Weatherization.

The Best Practices Awards were developed to honor innovative and effective anti-poverty programs that measurably meet the needs of customers, their families, and the communities they serve. “Los Padres Activos De Hoy” is an eight-week parenting workshop (based on Active Parenting’s Padres Activos de Hoy program) developed to specifically address the cultural barriers experienced by CMACAO’s Head Start Latino families.

“This program was launched in response to the growing number of Latinos in the Central Ohio area. Based on data from the 2000 Census, the Latino population grew from 12,294 in 1999 to 24,279 in 2000,” said CMACAO Head Start Director Lolita Clark.

“To effectively meet the growing needs of this population, the program was taught entirely in Spanish, helping Latino families develop effective parenting skills, as well as providing families with vital information on how to access CMACAO’s programs and those of other service agencies,” says Clark.

Clark added the program’s success furthered the agency’s mission of providing opportunities for low-income people to improve their quality of life. All fifteen parents who completed the workshop are now actively involved in the Head Start programs and have recruited other Latino families and friends into the program.

The “On the Streets” Community Outreach program garnered CMACAO another Best Practices Award for its innovative, take-it-to-the-streets initiative conducted in April and June 2003.


Seated Left to Right: Yolanda Robinson, Content Area Expert Family Wellness; Lolita Clark, Director, CMACAO Head Start; Nora Montalvo Crumbley, Family Wellness Consultant; Alexandria Rodriquez, Assistant Teacher; Ginella Martinez, Latino Community Liaison; Rosemary Saco, Teacher.

“This outreach project was a collaborative effort, allowing countywide and neighborhood-based agencies to bring services and program information directly into the hands of low-income residents,” said CMACAO President and CEO George Yirga.

“The focus in June was on reaching the needs of low income families by working through schools to offer free immunizations, school physicals and dental exams. To keep children healthy additional services were offered including TB testing, lead screening, developmental screens for children five and under, registration for Head Start and Healthy Start, and school readiness packets for children entering kindergarten,” Yirga said.

The partnership consisted of Mount Carmel Hospital West Outreach Program, Pre-K Partners, Columbus Health Department, Columbus Public Schools, 373rd Medical Company, and a host of other Franklin County service providers, he said.

Outcomes for the project moved CMACAO customers one step closer to becoming self-sufficient by bringing programs directly to people desiring to improve their lives.

CMACAO was previously honored with Best Practices Awards for its Year-round Strategic Planning, Integrated Neighborhood School Truancy Empowerment Program and Professional Staff Development Conference.

CMACAO is a private, not-for-profit Community Action Agency established in Columbus, Ohio in 1964. Since its inception, CMACAO has fostered and provided opportunities for low-income population in Franklin County to achieve self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.

Reprinted from Leader magazine.
Copyright 2005 by Active Parenting Publishers, Inc.