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 Parentings Padres
Activos de Hoy program) developed to specifically address
the cultural barriers experienced by CMACAOs Head Start
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
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 CMACAOs programs
and those of other service agencies, says Clark.
Clark added the programs success furthered the agencys
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
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
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
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.