Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter

May 2021


NWICA finds fun ways to keep staff and community engaged

The Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) staff is working hard to keep its staff healthy, happy and engaged — because doing so helps them do their best to care for the needs of others.

The Wellness and Activity Team hosted several programs over the first part of the pandemic, including a flu-shot incentive program, virtual BINGO and NWICA Kids, an initiative that provided at-home activities, videos and other resources to kids in their community.

“This year, the team has already hosted some super-fun activities to keep the momentum going!” says Tracey Dibble, Vice President of Human Resources.

During the first week of May, the team held a Spirit Week, which focused on both Community Action Month and Older Americans Act Month. The week incorporated the start of a Walk, Run and Stroll Virtual 5K event, Wellness BINGO and other initiatives, plus an agency-wide effort to encourage vaccinations for staff and the community.

In addition, May is featuring Fun Fridays each week. The staff wore the agency’s logo colors on the first Fun Friday, whose theme was Celebrate Community Action Month. For the second Fun Friday, staff had fun dressing up as older versions of themselves or other elderly people. (See photo at right.) The third Fun Friday theme was superheroes, and the fourth will have a tropical theme.

As the month concludes, so will the Walk, Run and Stroll 5K event, featuring healthy prizes for each 4,000 steps participants logged.

Melissa Bohacek, Vice President of Communications and Outreach, for one, plans to finish the month strong: “I’m hoping to win the stand-up desk!” she says.

NWICA’s insurance provider, Cigna/New York Life, provided the funds for the prizes and incentives.

At right, top: Norma Diaz, one of the newest NWICA employees, dresses up as an older version of herself in celebration of Older Americans Act Month. Bottom: NWICA Kids participant Aidan opens his stay-at-home activities.


Head Start parent leads the way for advocacy

Six-year-old Jayceston is a kindergartner at North Daviess Elementary School in Daviess County. Just two years ago, as a pre-schooler at Pace Community Action Agency’s Daviess Head Start, Jayceston (shown in the photo at right) was having trouble with his speech. At first, he was given an individual education plan (IEP), which provided him with speech therapy. He was then diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech, or CAS.

His mother, Danielle, looks back on his experience with Head Start with a grateful heart. She appreciates the opportunities for inclusion it provided him, the education it taught him and his ability to make friends while he was there.

She was also grateful for the opportunities Head Start provided for her. She was provided with support for her son as well as a chance to learn more about CAS.

In turn, she wanted to do more to help raise community awareness about CAS — and she wanted other parents to know how important it is that they advocate for their children and seek out community resources to help them. So, she attended a town council meeting and shared how CAS makes communication difficult for her son. The Odon Town Council voted to name May 14 Childhood Apraxia of Speech Awareness Day in the town.

Pace is proud of Jayceston and Danielle!



Pace announces scholarship winners 

Pace congratulates the 2021 Judith K. Bobe Scholarship recipients: Emilee Hall and Selena Mascorro!

Emilee Hall from North Knox High School plans to attend Vincennes University and has an interest in pursuing psychology. She is shown above receiving her scholarship award from Pace COO Tai Blythe at the high school's senior awards night.

Selena Mascorro from Barr-Reeve High School plans to attend Indiana University in Bloomington with an interest in studying biology and dentistry. She is shown at right with Pace's Energy Assistance Manager Lisa Ritterskamp. 

Emilee and Selena each received a $500 scholarship to help pursue their educational goals. They were chosen as this year’s winners after submitting a typed essay about how Head Start impacted their school readiness and academic performance. The scholarship is open to former Head Start students from Daviess, Greene, Knox and Sullivan counties.

The Judith K. Bobe Scholarship program is named in honor of Pace’s former Head Start director, who worked within the program for more than 40 years. Every year since 2010, Pace has allotted funds to provide at least two scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

“We plan to continue providing these scholarships provided through our fundraising efforts,” says Pace’s CEO, Dr. Bertha Proctor. “Our Head Start program not only prepares students for kindergarten but prepares families for college.”



LHDC recognizes Employee of the Year 

Christy Woods was recognized as the Lincoln Hills Development Corporation (LHDC) Employee of the Year for 2020 by the organization’s board of directors at its annual meeting in April.

“Christy’s determination despite COVID and staffing issues was undeterred,” said Kelly Luker, Head Start Birth-to-5 Director. “She is always a team player, and her dedication to the children always shines through.

Christy (shown above, left, with LHDC CEO and Executive Director Randy Dennison) is an assistant teacher at the LHDC North Perry Head Start Center. She has been employed with LHDC since 2008. 

The Excellence in Service Award was established to recognize staff who demonstrate outstanding dedication to LHDC and its mission and to honor longtime board member and former board president Clayton N. Jefford.

Congratulations, Christy!


Congratulations to Erika Ortiz! 

Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI) congratulates Erika Ortiz for receiving her associate degree in early childhood education from Ivy Tech on May 16.

Erika (shown at right) started working for CAPWI as an Early Head Start teacher aide in August 2015 and moved to the teacher position in May 2018. Along the way, she enrolled in the TEACH Early Childhood Education program, where she earned both her child development associate (CDA) credential and AA degree.

“We are incredibly proud of Erika and her commitment to our agency and to young children,” says Robin Curry-Shumaker, Head Start Director at CAPWI. “Way to go, Erika!”




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