Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
January 2017 issue



Pace & Partners Bring Day of Fun, Education to Head Start Students


Vectren Donates More Than $290K to Continue "Share the Warmth" Program

IIWF Asks for Feedback on Issues that Matter
To You

CAPE Head Start Program Receives $50,000 Grant to Expand Early Childhood Education Opportunities


REAL Services’ Family Development Program Helping Individuals Earn Their Degrees, Gain Self-Sufficiency

SIEOC’s IDA Program Participant is First in State to Earn Approval to Purchase Car

Housing Choice Voucher Program Enables 103-Year-Old Senior to Maintain Independence in Her Own Home

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Pace & Partners Bring Day of Fun, Education to Head Start Students

STIMULUS Engineering and WestGate Academy partnered together on Tuesday, Dec. 13, to provide a day of fun, hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activities for Head Start students at Pace Community Action Agency.

STIMULUS staff secured donations and enlisted volunteers to help with the day, filling it with learning and laughter. 

Head Start is an all-inclusive involvement program offered through Pace for low-income preschool children, ages 3 through 5 and their families. Services provided include education, health, parent involvement activities, social services for the entire family, as well as special services to preschool age children with recognized disabilities.

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Vectren Donates More Than $290K to Continue
"Share the Warmth" Program

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, Beth Pace (center in photo above) of Vectren Energy Delivery presented a $296,697 check to the Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA). The funds will enable IN-CAA’s network of community action agencies to perform weatherization work in counties where Vectren has customers. 

Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren) established the "Share the Warmth Inc.” program to assist income-eligible Indiana and Ohio customers with their heating needs. Each year, Vectren matches all public donations, up to an annual total of $200,000.

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IIWF Asks for Feedback on Issues that Matter To You

Welcome to Indiana’s 2017 legislative session!

The main goal of the Indiana Institute for Working Families (IIWF) throughout this legislative session is to provide readers with an analysis of legislation in Indiana that may negatively or positively affect Hoosier working families. Guided by the Institute’s 2017 Policy Agenda (to be released soon), Institute staff will research, track and testify on bills as they travel through the legislative process – and they invite you to do the same.

Each week on the Institute’s blog, Inside the Statehouse, staff members will summarize the previous week’s legislative actions and preview what is expected to happen that current week. A new program will allow IIWF to:
• Generate reports on bills, including bill status, news stories related to the issue, current bill status and status history, links to state bill pages
• Follow changes to Indiana code
• Compare legislators’ voting records
• Create communications with legislators to be used by our supporters

Action Alerts may also be sent out if a crucial vote is scheduled for a bill that the Institute supports or opposes. These will inform you of the bill, its consequences or possibilities and the action you can take.

Your voice matters, and we need your help.

As the Institute for Working Families fights for good legislation related to the state budget and tax policy, adult education and workforce development, social safety nets, asset development, early childcare education and childcare, paid family leave and family-sustaining wages, let us know which issues matter most to you.

Do you have stories of how current policy is helping or hurting Hoosier working families? E-mail us at or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Some issues to watch for this legislative session include:
• Expansions to payday lending traps
• The removal of asset limits in determining SNAP eligibility
• Paid family leave
• Minimum wage increase

We hope you, too, will join the conversation.

Sign-up for weekly updates on the action from IIWF.

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CAPE Head Start Program Receives $50,000 Grant to Expand Early Childhood Education Opportunities

The Community Action Program of Evansville, Inc. (CAPE) recently received a $50,000 grant from Early Learning Indiana’s Partnerships for Early Learners, a statewide program working to ensure 75 percent of Indiana’s children in child care or preschool are connected with a high-quality program.

Partnerships for Early Learners provided the grant as part of a statewide effort to grant $418,000 to seven Hoosier programs funded by the Lilly Endowment.

The check presentation took place on Dec. 12, 2016, at CAPE Enterprise Zone Child Development Center’s Pauline St. James house in Evansville. Attendees included then Lt. Governor-elect Susanne Crouch and Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Southwest and Wabash Valley region.

CAPE administers the federal Head Start and Early Head Start programs for 660 children and their families in Vanderburgh, Posey and Gibson counties. CAPE leaders say the grant will be blended with other funding to develop a Head Start and early childhood education lab at their local Ivy Tech location in Evansville. CAPE staff will also begin teaching early childhood education classes at the CAPE administrative office in the spring of 2017.

For more information on the Head Start programs and future plans, contact CAPE CEO Alice Weathers at (812) 492-3952.

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REAL Services’ Family Development Program Helping Individuals Earn Their Degrees, Gain Self-Sufficiency

REAL Services’ Family Development Program utilizes Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds to assist adults in completing their educational goals with the long-term goal of reaching financial self-sufficiency.

Family Development participants can receive funding assistance for:
• Textbooks
• Mileage reimbursement
• High-school equivalency exam fees

This year, the Family Development Program has plans to expand its Educational Assistance Program by partnering with a local college to assist some of their non-traditional, low-income students in reducing their barriers to graduation.

Family development consultants have monthly visits with each participant, ongoing support, encouragement, referrals and information. This ongoing rapport empowers the participants to plan for their futures so they aren’t reliant on government subsidies to meet their basic needs.

Here is one real-life example of how this Educational Assistance Program helped a Family Development participant graduate from college and begin to support her family without any government assistance.

Success Story: Meet Kristy

Kristy is a single mom with three children, ages 12, 11 and 7. Kristy enrolled in the Family Development Program in November 2014. At that time, she was working at a local elementary school as an instructional assistant. She had moved back to Indiana from Florida after a divorce and found herself starting over.

Kristy already had her associate’s degree and only had 5 hours left to complete her bachelor’s degree. She wanted to finish her degree but had student loans in deferment and didn’t know how she would pay for the classes. She was adamant not to further her student loan debt. She was also worried about balancing classes and working enough to meet her family’s needs.

After enrolling in the Family Development Program, Kristy developed a Goal Action Plan with her family development consultant. Her first step was to complete the FAFSA paperwork. She then applied for scholarships. Kristy enrolled right away in the Spring 2016 semester and did very well, receiving a B+ in each class. Kristy graduated from Indiana University South Bend in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. 

Her second goal was to find employment in her career field that would enable her and her family to be self-sufficient. At the end of June 2016, Kristy was offered a full-time case manager position with benefits and started in July 2016. 

“I really appreciate the experience and knowledge I gained from the great resources given to me by the Family Development Program,” Kristy said.

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SIEOC’s IDA Program Participant is First in State to Earn Approval to Purchase Car

Southeastern Indiana Economic Opportunity Corporation (SIEOC) is very proud to have the first Individual Development Account Program (IDA) participant in the state of Indiana to be approved to use their IDA savings to purchase a vehicle.

Bryan McDaniel is a previous Head Start parent who was referred to the IDA by Brenda Taylor, his SIEOC Family Service Worker. Brian actively saved every month for four years and saved $2,130.80. He earned a match each year, which totaled $5,001. His combined savings total of $7,131.80 was put toward the purchase of a 2006 Toyota Rav4 Limited.

Brian’s hard work has paid off, and he now has a reliable vehicle that will get him to and from work. Congratulations, Bryan!

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Housing Choice Voucher Program Enables 103-Year-Old Senior to Maintain Independence in Her Own Home

When Mary was admitted to the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP), coordinated through the Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, she was 87 years old. For some, moving to an assisted-living or nursing-care facility is the beginning of a loss of independence, but this wasn’t the case for Mary.

Mary was adamant about staying in her own home and remaining independent for as long as she lived, which she accomplished. Mary remained in her own apartment, requiring only minimal help from her children, until she passed away in December 2016.

HCVP staff members considered it a privilege to serve Mary, someone they said was a joy to meet and a role model on how to grow old gracefully.

With the HCVP, Mary was able to utilize the rental assistance she received to ensure stable, affordable housing in Frankfort Place senior apartments in Frankfort, Ind., which left her with some extra income for other needed living expenses. Mary’s determination showed that with financial assistance from the HCVP and the right family support, living independently can be a much more economical solution than assisted care or nursing facilities. HCVP staff members even speculate that enabling her to live on her own contributed to her long life.

Gregg Steward, HCVP program assistant, and Allen Grady, HCVP program coordinator, (on right in photo) always looked forward to seeing Mary at recertification time and will greatly miss her positive attitude and words of wisdom. As proof of her approach to life and her determination, she stated that she would dance on her 103rd birthday, and she did!

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