JUNE 2018 - In This Issue:
WCAC recently joined our Community Action colleagues from throughout the Commonwealth and the Mass Budget Office to release a new poverty  report: Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward  
The report estimates that anti-poverty programs have reduced the number of people who live below the poverty level - $22,000 for a family of four - by more than half. There is much work still to be done, however.

Poverty is a complex issue and there is rarely a single contributing factor. There are no overnight solutions. Addressing poverty requires opportunities - jobs with livable wages, affordable housing and childcare, a strong transportation system and an integrated approach to help move people forward to economic self-sufficiency.

Beyond the moral obligation we might or should feel to help those who are struggling on the road to economic opportunity and self-sufficiency, there are tremendous social and economic repercussions for failing to do so. Calls by President Trump and others at the federal level for dramatic cuts to fuel assistance, weatherization programs, the Community Service Block Grant and many other so-called 'safety net' programs are alarming to say the least. Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to making our Central Massachusetts communities strong, diverse and economically stable places to live, work and raise a family, and age safely and gracefully. 

The Obstacles report provides a platform to define the challenges and spark critical policy changes needed to address income inequality. WCAC will host a regional forum in Worcester this fall to bring together a cross-section of stakeholders and varying perspectives including funders, partners and service providers from across Central Massachusetts to continue these efforts within our region. We hope you will join the discussion and call to action.
Jill C. Dagilis
Executive Director
Please Join Us...

Bank On Worcester County Launch!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
10 a.m.
Saxe Room, Worcester Public Library
3 Salem Street, Worcester

WCAC will join with area financial institution partners to announce a new financial literacy initiative to increase financial stability for low-to-moderate income households in Worcester & Southbridge.

Click logo below for additional details

Worcester County
Poverty Forum
Friday, October 5, 2018
7:30 a.m.
Mechanics Hall, Worcester

With special guest 
Congressman James P. McGovern

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WCAC Action Heroes honored at Mechanics Hall
WCAC hosted its 12th Annual Action Hero Awards last month at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Created as a way to publicly recognize individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in supporting the agency's mission, this year's festivities included a keynote address by the Honorable Harriette Chandler, President of the Massachusetts Senate. A former WCAC Board member back in the agency's early years, Senate President Chandler spoke about the important role community action agencies play in supporting those in need.

Our honorees for 2018 include: Donna & Randy Becker and  the Remillard Family Foundation for their generosity and support of the agency's Head Start Webster capital campaign; Apple Tree Arts for its support of our Head Start music program for the last 15 years; James Alkire of Point Breeze Restaurant in Webster for his generous in-kind support of the agency and commitment to deliver fresh fruit to the preschoolers; and local electrician Robert Blackman for his tireless efforts to help WCAC fuel and weatherization clients. See a photo gallery of images from the awards breakfast here.

We are most grateful to all of our corporate sponsors without whom this event would not be possible.
Head Start hosts graduation
And just like that another school year has come and gone! Congrat-ulations to the 105 pre-schoolers who 'graduated' from WCAC's Head Start program this month! We know you are ready to soar and will do great when starting kindergarten this fall! Wishing our talented teachers and staff a safe summer! See photos from Head Start's Certificate Day HERE .
JEC Graduation
85 lauded for resiliency and accomplishments
On June 14, 2018, WCAC's Job & Education Center held its annual graduation and certificate ceremony. We are so very proud of the 85 individuals who earned diplomas or certificates of achievement having completed their High School Equivalency Test or Culinary and CNA programs. The theme of the day was resiliency as graduates celebrated with family and friends.

WCAC Board of Directors Chair Noreen Johnson Smith congratulated graduates on celebrating a landmark in their journey of life. She likened their work ethic to that of successful NBA star Lebron James. She noted that they were sure to achieve far more than they ever thought possible.  WCAC Executive Director Jill Dagilis agreed, and encouraged students to always look for the positive as they taken on challenges before them.

WCAC's Job & Education Center (JEC), located on the second floor of the Denholm Building in downtown Worcester, offers educational and employment programs for youth ages 16-24. These youth, who for a variety of reasons, have fallen off the traditional educational pathway benefit from alternative classroom settings and learning styles. View pictures from graduation day festivities here.
Capital campaign raising funds for renovated center
In February 2015, WCAC was forced to evacuate its Head Start center in an Oxford, MA site due to a roof compromised by extreme winter weather. In the time since, the 87 children displaced by the loss of that site were temporarily relocated into three additional classrooms created at the agency's Southbridge center. WCAC has bussed the children, primarily from Webster, to Southbridge at great inconvenience to the families and children served, and great cost to the organization.
WCAC recently entered into a 25-year lease with the Town of Webster to renovate the former Senior Center property, located at 116 School Street, Webster, in order to relocate four of the agency's Head Start classrooms from Southbridge to Webster.  A capital campaign is now underway to raise a projected $500,000 required to complete the building renovation. The targeted occupancy is January 2019.
WCAC has engaged Lamoureux Pagano Artchitects for design services and FW Madigan as general contractor for the project. Exterior site prep and soil remediation have begun.
WCAC is most grateful to the generous supporters who have contributed to our capital campaign thus far: 
Janet Malser Humanities Trust,  Webster Five, MA  Early Education & Out of School Time  Capital Fund Program,  Federal Administration of Children  & Families (ACF),  Randy & Donna Becker, the  Remillard Family Foundation and  Mary DeFeudis. Please consider a donation to help bring this important project to fruition. Learn more about the project here

WCAC: The Antipoverty Agency for Central Massachusetts

Helping people move to economic self-sufficiency through programs, partnerships and advocacy.

Serving the City of Worcester and neighboring communities of Auburn, Blackstone, Boylston, Brimfield, Brookfield, Charlton, Clinton, Douglas, Dudley, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Holden, Holland, Hopedale, Hubbardston, Grafton, Leicester, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Monson, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Northborough, Northbridge, Palmer, Oakham, Oxford, Paxton, Rutland, Shrewsbury, Southbridge, Spencer, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, Wales, Warren, Webster, West Boylston, West Brookfield, Westborough.