May 20, 2021
Dear Friends,

We once again celebrate May as Community Action Month – a month to recognize the importance of the work Community Action Agencies do to make their communities a better place.

Community Action comes out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and from the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created a network of locally-focused Agencies serving low-income populations. True to our history, Community Action Agencies, such as Community Teamwork, remain committed to working with our community partners to address the root causes and conditions of poverty, demonstrated by the diversity of programs provided, including child care, education, energy assistance, emergency assistance, financial education and services, housing services, mentoring and youth services, among many others.

Numbering more than 1,000 in the United States, including 23 in Massachusetts, Community Action Agencies are diverse in their services and programs and tailor their approaches to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve, while advocating for those who do not have a voice. 

In order to determine the most pressing needs in the communities we serve, Community Teamwork completes a Community Needs Assessment (CNA) every three years as part of our Strategic Planning Process. We invited Congresswoman Lori Trahan this month to join us in presenting our most recent CNA. Our findings show that the creation of affordable housing, access to affordable childcare, and Mental Health/Counseling are needs which appeared most often in survey responses.  

Our Community Needs Assessment (CNA) is available to all and we hope it will provide valuable information which our community partners can utilize to help shape their efforts as well. Please see below for a link to access the CNA. 

As always I remain grateful for your continued support.

We wish you continued health and happiness,
Karen Frederick, CEO
2021 Community Needs Assessment

This month, Community Teamwork was joined by special guest Congresswoman Lori Trahan for a presentation of Community Teamwork's 2021 Greater Lowell Community Needs Assessment. Congresswoman Trahan spoke about the American Rescue Plan and how it will affect the Greater Lowell area and beyond.

Jay Linnehan, CEO of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, emphasized the importance of this data in making decisions as to where to dedicate resources.

Leland Ackerson, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health at UMass Lowell and Ann Sirois, Director of Planning at Community Teamwork presented the data. The key findings for the community needs were: creation of quality, affordable housing, industry and employment, affordable childcare/services for youth, and mental health and counseling. The key findings for individual needs were housing affordability, living wages and employment supports: childcare, mental health/counseling, and transportation.

This 3-year Community Needs Assessment includes detailed data on housing, transportation, childcare, and other needs. Please click here to download the CNA: 2021 COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT FOR GREATER LOWELL

If you would like us to mail a hard copy or conduct a presentation on the data, please contact Ann Sirois, asirois@commteam.org, 978.654.7142. We are also available if you would like us to present this data to your organization and/or stakeholders.

To learn more about the findings of the assessment in your community, visit www.commteam.org/publications
Six Wakefield Providers from Family Child Care Services Receive a Saul Zaentz FCC Innovation Networks Award
Wakefield Family Child Care Providers, Samira Abidi (Small Smiles Childcare of Melrose), Naoual Karama (Sunshine Daycare of Everett), Ghizlane Nejmi (First Steps Childcare of Everett), Kiyana Taylor (Little Tykes Childcare of Everett), Tejinder Kaur Banwait (Star Family Day Care of Everett) and Carolle Severe (Kids Place Child Care of Lynnfield) are recipients of a Saul Zaentz Family Child Care Innovation Networks Award. The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative, through Harvard Graduate School of Education, administers the Saul Zaentz Family Child Care Innovations Award. 

The Family Child Care Innovation Networks Award is new this year in response to the family childcare field being hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The award is designed to spark, accelerate, and sustain community-based peer learning networks across the state. Samira, Naoual, Ghizlane, Kiyana, Tejinder and Carolle applied for the award to work as a peer-learning group on achieving their Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). 

The award money will be used to purchase technology, CDA books and supplies needed to do their course work, develop a CDA portfolio, study for the CDA test and prepare for the verification visit over the next several months. The Child Development Associate Credential is highly regarded in the field of Early Childhood Education and by the Department of Early Education and Care.

Community Teamwork's Head Start, School Age and
Family Child Care Programs
Enrolling Now for Summer and Fall 2021

The Division of Child and Family Services supports family self-sufficiency by providing nurturing, safe and supportive programs for families with children ages birth through middle school. Its programs help low-income families meet their children's educational, social, nutritional, and health needs and encourage parents to participate fully in shaping these programs and services.

Our service area includes Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford. Also: Bedford, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, No. Reading, Pepperell, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Wilmington.

Eligibility varies. Visit www.commteam.org for more information or call 978.551.8786
WIC offers Expanded Fruit and Vegetable Benefits
Welcome back to WIC!

WIC is expanding fruit and vegetable benefits for women and children from $11 to $35 per month starting in June through September.

Not enrolled in WIC? Apply online today at www.mass.gov/wic

For more information about your local WIC, visit www.commteam.org/wic and @CTILowellWIC on Facebook and Instagram.
Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA)
AND Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Application
Community Teamwork is pleased to offer new financial assistance programs for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and state of emergency.

The Emergency Rent and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) Program, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development, provides up to $10,000 of direct funding to eligible households. ERMA can help to fund payments for rent or mortgage arrears accrued no earlier than April 1, 2020 or upcoming rent or mortgage payments.

CAREERS AT COMMUNITY TEAMWORK

Youth Engagement Specialist
 
Youth Services program is EXPANDING!!!

We are seeking a Youth Engagement Specialist who will be responsible for engaging homeless and at risk youth and young adults (YYA) within the North Middlesex and Merrimack Valley regions. The Youth Engagement Specialist will provide direct care services both at the Youth Opportunity Center and within the community, meeting young people where they are at in supporting youth to access basic survival needs, connections with mental health and substance use services and developing positive life skills towards stabilization.  Full Job Description



Thank you to our Premier Partner, Enterprise Bank, who continues to support Community Teamwork's mission each and every day.

We appreciate their continued generosity.

There are ALWAYS Ways to Help
If you find yourself in a position to help, your contribution will aid our efforts on every front as we work together to defeat COVID-19, care for our clients and families in their hour of greatest need, and emerge stronger than ever. 

To make a donation to help Community Teamwork fulfill its mission, please

COMMUNITY TEAMWORK
978.459.0551