Throughout 2016 we have been celebrating our 50th Anniversary at Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana.
We have grown from a small agency that began with a simple Head Start program to an agency that provides services in six counties and beyond.
As a member of the Indiana Community Action Association (INCAA), our programs and services help individuals and communities work through economic insecurity by revitalizing neighborhoods and helping individuals and families become more self-sufficient.
In the early 1960's, the invisible Americans, the poor, suddenly became visible to the eyes of the nation. They had existed all along, but in prosperous America their presence went unnoticed to most. Soon poverty in all its disguises - unfit housing, poor health, unemployment, inadequate education, feelings of despair and hopelessness...was brought by the media from the ghetto's, the reservation's and Appalachia, and placed in living rooms all across the United States. Books that recorded the story of America’s disadvantaged became best sellers. Prominent universities and foundations conducted major studies on the problems of the impoverished.
President Lyndon B. Johnson declared freedom from destitution a right of every American and called for marshaling the nation's resources in a "war on poverty." The Congress made this declaration of war by passing the Economic Opportunity Act (EOA) of 1964. In passing the act, the Congress set forth that: "...it is the policy of the United States to eliminate the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty in this nation..." This was one of the two most important events, which occurred during the administration of Lyndon B.Johnson, the other being the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
The funding policy was radically new...called "flexible" or "local initiative", the Office of Economic Opportunity’s (OEO’s) first funds were not earmarked for any specific local purpose. They were to be used by local Community Action boards to conduct efforts that they determined would best identify and solve the local problems of poverty. Only later did Congress begin to earmark funds for special efforts. The theory was that local citizens' boards knew best the problems of poverty and how to address them.
One thousand Community Action Agencies (CAA) were formed across the country to make it possible to become more than a recipient of a service with the attached "hand out" stigma. Since the beginning it has tried to provide a vehicle for information sharing, participation in the planning process, policy making process and the establishment of a system that represents the network necessary to incorporate all people in a united effort to alleviate poverty.
It should be noted, however, that the way each Community Action Agency (CAA) responds to the mission statement is dramatically different. One important reason is that each CAA’s board reflects the character and needs of that particular community or county.
To empower communities, families, and individuals toward self-sufficiency by removing the causes and conditions of poverty through services, support, and education
These are the values that set the foundation of our program:
- Quality Services: promoting excellence
- TeamWork: every person counts
- Responsibility: everyone has a duty
- Honesty and Integrity: building a solid foundation
- Professionalism: image and action
- Compassion: respect and understanding
- Lifelong Learning: constantly gathering new knowledge
- Success: recognized achievements