Community Action Newsletter
February 2016

Community Action
A Message from the
Executive Director, Renée Bruce
 
Listening is a key piece to achieving our mission at Community Action. Understanding the stories of our clients and the barriers they face on a daily basis helps us understand how we can be more responsive to their needs. We continuously strive to improve our programs through evaluation, and part of that process involves soliciting feedback from our clients. Their input gives us insight into how our programs impact them, and whether we've assisted them in meeting their needs.

Clients are surveyed at many of our sites across Washington County, and for the past 6 months we received over 1,100 surveys. The results of these surveys reinforce how proud I am of our talented staff at Community Action. The compassion and respect they have for our clients clearly comes through in the results. As supporters of Community Action, I wanted to share with you some of the highlights:
 
* 99% of our customers felt "Welcomed" and they also felt that our services were delivered in a timely manner.
 
* 100% of those surveyed indicated that our staff was helpful.  
 
* 31 customers indicated that their needs were not met, but 99% understood what they needed to do next.   Even though we did not meet the needs of these clients, 100% said that their experience with us was a positive one.

Perhaps the most important feedback we get comes from the comments clients share with us.

"Your staff was more than great, she went above and beyond for me, it's nice to have someone care and work with me finally."

"Your staff was very professional, understanding and compassionate. I did not feel like a second class citizen. Thank you so much."

"Thank you so much for being here to help."

We will continue to listen to our clients asking them, and asking ourselves, how we can improve to better meet their needs.
 
 
An Energetic Success
From L to R Saul from Energy Assistance,  Craig
 and Andrew from Energy Conservation
 
For many of our neighbors in Washington County, it can be extremely difficult to make ends meet when living on a fixed income. This was the case for Craig who found himself in a position where he could not afford his energy bills. When meeting with Saul Chavez-Hernandez, of our Energy Assistance Program Craig shared that he had a broken furnace, and was struggling to heat his home. 

Realizing that Craig was experiencing a heating crisis, Saul referred Craig to our Energy Conservation team to see if he would be eligible for a furnace replacement. Our Energy Conservation team quickly scheduled an inspection of Craig's home, and within a week Energy Auditor Andrew Zaleski was at Craig's home. Andrew confirmed that Craig was eligible for a much needed new furnace, and a contractor was installing a safe, new furnace within a couple of weeks

Craig was at a point where he really needed help, and without Community Action he's not sure what he would have done. He is especially appreciative of Saul and Andrew whose thoughtfulness and friendliness made the whole experience "wonderful." Now Craig has a more energy efficient home that will be less expensive to heat and healthier to live in. The collaboration between our staff to better meet the needs of our clients like Craig drives us every day and makes us proud to be Community Action.

Buy your Tickets Today for The Community Spirit Gala
 
Please join us at our cornerstone fundraiser of the year - The Community Spirit Gala. You can support our ongoing commitment to eliminate the conditions of poverty and create opportunities for people and communities to thrive.  At the Community Spirit Gala you will enjoy dinner, a lively auction and most importantly, you will see how our mission is helping families in need across Washington County to find hope, help and change. Mark your calendar or reserve your tickets now.

A Real Page Turner!
 
Five local students from the Conestoga and Highland Park Middle Schools had an idea to help Head Start children and families - with a book drive. The outreach idea was part of their Destination Imagination Project where students learn important life skills and service principles.  The Five students, Mary Weathers, Ben Dirren, Kailey Nelson, Ian Stitt and Austin Ihde learned that early childhood literacy makes a difference for those in poverty - mainly due to a lack of books in the home. 
 
Their solution was to create a book drive benefitting the Conestoga Head Start and to get books in the hands of the all the kids participating. Through posters and donation boxes set up at Conestoga, Highland Park, Scholls Heights and Conestoga Recreation Center the students collected over 2,700 books! On February 17, the five students came to the Conestoga Head Start classroom and delivered each child a bag with 5 books. Additionally, they set up a surplus of books creating a "Book Fair" for the kids to choose additional books for their very own. Now that is service in action - well done!

Financial Education Classes
 
Learn money management skills to achieve short-term household stability and take steps towards creating long-term financial security at the next Financial Education class, Budgeting and Saving:  Thursday, March 24, 6-8 pm. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about personal finances, please give us a call.
   
Remember classes are FREE and child care for children ages 2-6 years old will be provided at no cost. Participants must register one week in advance to guarantee child care and translation services.  You must pre-register by phone or email. Please call in advance if you require a translator. To register contact: (503) 517-3198 or ida@caowash.org. Classes will be held at: Community Action offices located at 1001 SW Baseline Street, Hillsboro, OR.

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