Newsletter                                       Summer 2016
Pictured:  Nancy Sutherland, Executive Director, Southeast Tennessee            Human Resource Agency

Despite the hot summer temperatures outside, Nancy Sutherland, new Executive Director for Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency (SETHRA) keeps it cool as she assumes the top leadership position at the multi-county  multi-programs agency.  

So how is Nancy able to keep it so cool? An engaged board, committed and dedicated staff and volunteers, and community partners who have invested in the people and communities, all play a role.   Also key is Nancy's rich history with SETHRA; be not deceived by her youthful look and energy.

Nancy's history with SETHRA began in 1996 where she served for 10 years as a Program Director.  During that time, she created the Elderly Support Department; supervised personnel; and developed and implemented program policies and procedures, while managing the day-to-day operations between five agency programs.  Nancy was then promoted to the position of Community Outreach Director where she served for four years. This position involved the development of multiple state and federal grant proposals and coordination of various projects including ROMA (Results Oriented Management Accountability). Nancy became a Nationally Certified ROMA Trainer in 2012.

Since 2010 Nancy has served the agency in the capacity of Assistant Executive Director, a dual position role with Nancy serving over SETHRA's Community Services Programs.  She completed her Masters in Nonprofit Management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanoooga in 2009.  Nancy brings to this position proven experience, leadership, education and management skills. 

TACA congratulates Nancy!

MAC Celebrates National Summer Learning Day
Pictured: Nashville Mayor Megan Barry (left) with MAC Technology        Camp students and instructor (far right)

On July 14th area youth of the Metropolitan Action Commission technology camp participated in Nashville's celebration of the National Summer Learning Day with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

The youth demonstrated how they created video games through coding and animation using the Scratch software, which is a program for creating interactive stories, games and animations.  The students also unveiled five logo renderings that reflected what they believed would be important elements for Mayor Barry's 2017 Summer Internship Program.  The students also explained their computer hardware skills by showing her a computer they were rebuilding.

"We believe our technology camp is in line with the vision that Mayor Barry has for Nashville's youth which is to provide meaningful opportunities for them as well as provide opportunities for them to earn income," said Dr. Cynthia Croom, the Metro Action Commission Executive Director.

Metro Action's technology camp provided hands on experience in the field of technology for youth from low-income families in the eight week camp for teens ages 14-17 from Head Start and Early Head Start families.  Through a partnership with the Nashville Technology Council, students received daily instruction on information technology and visited area IT companies such as HCA, BNY Melton and Hewlett Packard to view first-hand innovation.

Partners in Fighting Poverty:
CYFD Announces New Partnership

Pictured:  CYFD Social Services satellite office at
Northside Neighborhood House.

Chattanooga Youth & Family Development is excited to announce a new partnership with Northside Neighborhood House, a local nonprofit serving North Hamilton County.  The partnership between CYFD and NNH will include a satellite office of Chattanooga Youth & Family Development's Social Services Division at the new Soddy-Daisy location of Northside Neighborhood House, where CYFD staff will provide assistance to residents of North Hamilton County one day per week.  Additionally, CYFD customers county-wide who meet program requirements will also be eligible for vouchers for the purchase of clothing from the Northside Neighborhood House thrift stores.

"Many of our customers in North Hamilton live in rural areas, and transportation to our main office in downtown Chattanooga can be an additional burden," said Rachel Howard, Director of Social Services for Chattanooga Youth & Family Development.  "By providing services at a satellite office that is located in their community, we will be able to reach a greater number of residents of North Hamilton who may need our assistance."  Assistance with rent has been identified as a great need by service providers and community leaders in the North Hamilton County community, and by providing access to services in Soddy-Daisy, the impact of Community Action will be strengthened in the rural areas.

Services to be provided by the CYFD at the North Hamilton site include regular and crisis LIHEAP, Employment and Self-Sufficiency programming through CSBG, and emergency rent and utility assistance through CSBG and other programs.

CareerFirst Gives Young People Tools to Transition to Career
Pictured:  Seated are Career First participants, Standing l to r:             Dr. B.J. Lowe, Assistant Director,Career First, Carlos Santos-Martinez and Karen Gaby, Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority

A new program wants to make the transition to work easier for young adults. CareerFirst provides individuals ages 16-24 with the tools needed to start out in the work world.  

The new program, which serves individuals who are not enrolled in school, aims to give young people more than just a minimum wage job.  "We want to help students in choosing a career path that offers a chance for growth and then help them get started on that path," said Dr. B.J. Lowe, Assistant Director, CareerFirst. 

Someone who wants to be a nurse may job shadow a nurse and then qualify for CNA or LPN training.  Someone who wants to own a garage may get work experience with a mechanic and then complete related training.

The program also provides occupational training, assistance in earning a high school equivalency diploma or postsecondary certificate, leadership training, support services, mentoring, comprehensive guidance and counseling and financial literacy training.  Participants will also learn what industries and jobs are in-demand in this area and have the opportunity to learn entrepreneurship basics.  "Every aspect of this program is important, but the work experience may be the most important. This gives young adults confidence and the chance to learn more about what is expected in the world of work," said Lowe.

Many who enroll in CareerFirst will also have the chance to add work experience to their resumes.  The program provides paid and unpaid work experience. 

CareerFirst is funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through Walters State Community College's Center for Workforce Development.  Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority and the Hawkins County Industrial Board will be providing the actual services.  

    Gardeners Show Fruits (and Vegetables)  
of Their Labor
Pictured: Knoxville-Knox County CAC Green Thumb Community Gardeners, CAC Board Members, Barbara Kelly, CAC Executive Director. - pictures taken by Lori Galbraith, CAC Special Projects Director.
Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee's Green Thumb Community Gardeners recently showed off the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor to CAC Board Members who were visiting Love Towers.  CAC encourages public housing residents to garden together and provides garden assistance and nutrition education. Seniors grow fresh vegetables and herbs to supplement their diet with more nutritious foods.  CAC also works with low-income individuals, families and seniors to grow healthy food in 23 community gardens across Knox County with 254 community gardeners.  For more information on CAC Community Gardens contact Adam Caraco at 865.546.3500.


The Office of Community Services released the current draft of ROMA Next Generation (for the first of two public comment periods) on June 16, 2016, through the Federal Register.  This comment period runs for 60 days and provides the Community Action Network and others an opportunity to offer feedback.  Community Action Partnership and National Association of State Community Services webinars, tools and other resources support this review.

TACA Annual Conference Set for May 1 - 3, 2017

at the Chattanoogan Hotel
               in Chattanooga.              
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August 8 - 9, 2016
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