CMCA Services Promote Lifelong Learning

Throughout May, the spirit of Community Action will come alive in Central Missouri as Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) joins Community Action Agencies across the country to celebrate National Community Action Month.

National Community Action Month highlights Community Action Agencies’ work to establish economic security on the local level. CMCA utilizes a Transformational Plan to guide its service delivery. The Transformational Plan creates a multi-faceted approach that follows the continuum of human development by engaging the community to assure that all people's basic needs are met, ensuring there are opportunities for lifelong learning, personal and community assets are plentiful and relationships exist across race and class lines.

Central Missouri Community Action is committed to personal development and pursuit of knowledge in every stage of life, from prenatal instruction for expecting mothers to training adults to re-enter the workforce. By providing support for community members to maximize their educational attainment and pursue opportunities to advance their skills, they can access jobs that will support their families and help them achieve self-reliance.

CMCA believes a lifelong love of learning begins in early childhood. As such, CMCA offers Early Head Start and Head Start programs in 23 facilities across Central Missouri. In 2010, these programs served just over 900 families. Not only do these programs provide quality early childhood education and instruction designed for kindergarten readiness, family development is also a core value that is demonstrated through home visitation, case management, leadership development and parent support. Engaged confident families ensure the benefits of Head Start continue well beyond their time with CMCA.

CMCA also contracts with the Central Workforce Investment Board to assist dislocated workers that have experienced layoff or other form of job loss with career assessment and training services. These services prepare participants for employment in the increasingly competitive job market and lead to quality job placements are matched to the participant’s interests, skills and abilities. In 2010, $842,493 was earned by the participants in this program, deploying critical resources to their families and the local economy. More importantly, the program eliminated barriers to employment, assisted the workers in securing long-term careers and helped them achieve self-reliance.

In May, Central Missouri Community Action will be celebrating National Community Action Awareness Month and sharing the message of the change and hope programs like this have for individuals and families in Central Missouri. On May 21, a culminating event will be held to bring together stakeholders, community members and participants. Riding Out Poverty will be held on the MKT and Katy Trails in Columbia. This event is in its third year and provides an opportunity for people throughout the eight county area to show their support for economic recovery. This year, CMCA has partnered with PedNet to include the event in the City of Columbia's Bike, Walk and Wheel Week. CMCA will utilize funds raised from Riding Out Poverty to support its mission and develop resources that transform communities into places where people can be free from living within the confines of financial crisis, to places that hold the endless potential of prosperity. Information can be found at www.ridingoutpoverty.org or by contacting Trina Almond at (573) 443-8706 (extension 271).

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